Fortunately we are not free to do whatever pops in our minds. Otherwise society woud be a filthy chaos where violent minorities rule over peaceful majorities. Little by little standards would slip, limits would move, thresholds would slope and the majority would end up considering that it is quite normal to molest one another, with or without any reason.
For instance yersterday a 20 year old man, stepped into a church in Texas. He shot the gathering people. Why ? Because he was in conflict with his step mother, who used to go to that place of worship. The woman wasn't attenting the service that day so he killed anyone at random.
It's a shame to involve justice in such a situation because it's too late. No judge can ever succeed in resurrecting the innocent murdered people. It is better to intervene upstream to prevent such tragedy. Fortunately there are limits to frame our behavior in society. Fortunately there are limits for each and everyone to know what is forbidden, tolerated or authorized. As for me, I see 3 categories of limits.
The first limit is what I call tradition in the broad sense. These are things that we should do or should not do. Why ? Because that's the way it is. Because it's a an ephemeral trend that is becoming viral. Because our ancestors have been doing so for centuries. Because if we don't respect the tradition we can face exclusion from the community. Even if no one knows the origin nor the usefulness of the rules, we must obey. Sometimes the rules are stupid, ridiculous, illogical or harmful yet we must comply to avoid the punishment of rejection.
The second limit is morality. These are things that we must do because it's good. There are other things that we cannot do because it's bad. Religion usually defines these kind of rules. God knows what is good and what is bad. He has written sacred books through his favorite men. It seems like desobedience is usually sanctioned by divine devastating collective punishment that no one can escape from, neither the grieving widow, nor the inconsolable orphan.
The third limit is legality. These are things to do or to not do under threat of being punished by the political leaders. Laws are troublesome for it's hard to set rules that fit millions of people with opposing interests. It is difficult to watch over millions of citizens to spot the offenders. In case of trouble it is difficult to find out for sure who is responsible who is not, "legal injustice" often occurs. Laws are often irrelevant because the problem that they are supposed to solve have been poorly understood. Sometimes they can even worsen the problem. Let's not forget all these laws, voted only for the leaders to settle their own business and foster their powerful friends. Toxic legislation increases the burden or the people on a daily basis.
The various communities establish rules. The godmen establish rules. The political leaders establish rules. Given all this caring safety the earth should be a genuine paradise, shouldn't it ?
We can notice that each type of rules has it's own limits. But the worst thing is that they can bring about violence although they are supposed to ensure peace, harmony and fluidity in the functioning of society.
Tradition can impede the evolution of society by enforcing the perpetuation of useless, obsolete or unfair behaviors. Its worst enemy is time.
Enduring through the centuries requires to cast away the novelty brought by foreign influences. Stagnation takes place. A community can choose to turn in on itself by fear of change and to fight other groups to destroy the customs that threaten its durability.
Violence allows traditions to survive at the cost of human beings, who are turned into mere devices, nothing more than the carriers of an anachronistic virus meant to infect their offspring.
Morality can generate unecessary stress by stigmatizing some behaviors which are not actually harmful. Its worst enemy is judgment. The one carried out by integrist devotees, by too skeptical non-believers or even worse by god who unleashes his wrath through nature.
Devotees are indeed afraid of his justice that strikes blindly. When god is angry the culprit is extermined as well as the innocent by means of huge natural disasters. The scared believer watches feverishly. He censors himself and monitors the others. The proven or supposed guilty is judged without mercy and cruelly punished by humans, to spare god the effort of doing it himself.
Violence allows to put the rebels who is against nature back on the right path of natural morality, hoping to ease the deadly vagaries of nature.
The sentence "It's legal" is a magic formula that cuts off any further questioning, any debate, any objection. The worst enemy of legality is the mass. A dissatisfied individual mingles with the mass. But massive dissatisfaction can challenge the legitimacy of the governance system.
The one who breaks the laws is a criminal, even if the law is stupid and that person acts in good faith. The one who respects the law is right, even if he uses it to funnel money away, to cling to power, to exploit populations, to loot the neighbors or to trigger awful wars.
Laws give rise to much dissatisfation so the leaders use violence to force the population to obey. It's so amazing to think that supermodern, supercivilized, superdevelopped, superdemocratic societies inflict physical pain to populations to maintain their legitimacy, just like any bloody dictatorship does. Indeed when the scarecrow of legality is not enough anymore, then comes the riot police to smash up. The mass of naysayers turns into aching disgruntled individuals. The bitter silence that pervades the smoking ruins enables the leaders to prove that the people are satisfied.
We should note that sometimes the custodians of social rules also resort to lie, either because they don't have any argument to justify the relevance of their rules, or because they are the first ones to break them with total hypocrisy. They can also try to promote obedience by distributing promises and rewards. Buying someone's consent looks like corruption to me.
I say to myself that it could be so simple. Human beings are not meant to ever be slave to any system. On the contrary rules should be at our service. Instead of being prisons they should be tools. Instead of being hindering handcuffs they should be protecting gloves. When they are not harmful, tradition, morality and legality are useful for a moment then they turn into ball and chain that we drag miserably through centuries. Personally I only acknowledge one basic rule, a single fundamental limit to regulate life in society.
These are just words. What do they mean ? Common sense makes me choose what is good for me. What is good ? Everything that makes me feel good is good. Whatever troubles my mhysical, emotional or mental wellness is bad. Therefore society must produce rules that stem from that one. It must adopt rules that foster my physical, emotional and mental well-being. If it is done to the detriment of others then the prejudiced ones will look forward to quickly guillotine me in order to get a chance to blossom as well. My wellness will be fucked up, that's not common sense. What is briefly good today, leaving me in grievance the day after is not common sense. If I need to sacrifice a whole part of my life to be good with another part then it is not commen sense.
Common sense is made of an infinite number of fluctuating rules that participate in the well-being of all individuals, in every way, in the long term. Contrary to tradition, morality and legality which only come in action locally for a moment, common sense need to be implemented constantly to sail towards the right individual direction, mapping out a harmonious direction for the longlasting development of the whole community.
Nevermind the naivety of this definition. I am naive and I'm not willing to give up on that. What I say sounds obvious ? Maybe because it is true. What I say sounds simplistic ? Yet no human society has ever succeded on setting that rule, we would know it. It is obvious and simplistic but it is impossible to implement nowadays.