Using access modifiers

Pretty dumb question but what are the pitfalls of using the wrong access modifiers? For instance, why can't I slap 'public' onto all my methods/classes? I've googled around but I get the definition of the various access modifiers and I know what they mean but no one explains WHY you have to use something like "protected" to ensure that method is only used in the same class and derived classes.

by iclosem via /r/csharp

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