In most of the discussions on social institutions (to be specific on the restrictions on right), I have noticed scope of social intervention gets little mention.
In my view this is a serious error and one which might arise from a misunderstanding of nature of state. To be specific the usual analysis have two variable (or opposing influences), one the individual and the other state. The inherent assumption is that state is a true representative of social ethos in a democratic republic and therefore by considering state, effects of society are taken into account of. However a distinction must be made between state and society.
Since the state has monopoly on use of power by virtue of enacted laws, its extent of power should be limited, so as to minimize the infraction to individual members. Broadly this should mean that laws should be enacted to punish only the most serious offences.This means that at best as a representative of society, scope of state is very limited.
However most of the traits that are essential for growth and peace of society can not be ensured through enforcement, as this will cause a serious infringement of rights of individual, what is more serious concentration of power in hands of few is an invitation to tyranny. For example, while state can punish for destruction of property and breach of contract, it can not (and should not) ensure politeness or day to day honesty. These and other traits may seem trivial at a cursory glance; however a functional society is dependant on these traits.
And it is here that social intervention comes into the picture. Peer pressure ensures that individual has considerable disincentive for breaching accepted social protocols. By exerting its influence society can ensure compliance.
There is a caveat though, the social pressure promotes behavior in accordance with established ethos and discourages acting against it. This doesn’t mean that social ethos is always right (ofcourse the meaning of right is debatable).
To use an analogy from communications engineering, state or society is just filter to separate noise from information, where noise is content free rhetoric and information is insightful commentary. State filters out most of the noise, but in doing so there is a significant loss of information.Society on the other hand doesn’t filter all the noise, but on plus side retains most of the information.