produced by laws and civil institutions, in which the personal liberty of individuals is secured; it is a status in which all rights and duties are in equilibrium.
Objection has been made to the second and third definitions that a man might steal, by way of liberty to pursue the struggle for existence on his own behalf. The objection only illustrates the difficulty of this order of discussion. It is conceivable that laws and institutions might tolerate stealing, for they have done it; but as there can be no robber without a robbed, and as the definition must apply equally to all individuals in the society, the definition absolutely excluded stealing or other invasion of personal rights. The objection is therefore futile, and does not call for any modification of the definition.
As we go on with the discussion, we also see that in one view of the case all human strength seems to lie in liberty, while in another view it all seems to lie in discipline. At this point a pitfall lies on either side. Anarchists and Nihilists, accepting the notion that in liberty is all strength, elevate revolution to the highest function as a redeeming and reforming force; to destroy and tear down becomes a policy of wisdom and growth; everything which is is in the way; everything which has grown as an institution is an obstacle to that ideal of primitive purity and simplicity, combined with liberty, to which we would be eager to return. Hence liberty of the first species is sought, in practise, by universal negation and reckless destruction. But society cannot sustain itself without stringent organization—organization which coerces its members. Liberty, on this view, is therefore social suicide, for it is war of the society against the most essential conditions of its own existence.