Might I give counsel to any man, I would say to him, try to frequent the company of your betters. In books and in life, that is the most wholesome society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that. Note what great men admire.
To do what we will, is natural liberty; to do what we may consistently with the interests of the community to which we belong, is civil liberty, the only liberty to be desired in a state of civil society.
Our statute books gradually became laden with gross, stereotyped distinctions between the sexes and, indeed, throughout much of the 19th century the position of women in our society was, in many respects, comparable to that of blacks under the pre-Civil War slave codes.
Utopias are presented for our inspection as a critique of the human state. If they are to be treated as anything but trivial exercises of the imagination. I suggest there is a simple test we can apply. . . . We must forget the whole paraphernalia of social description, demonstration, expostulation, approbation, condemnation. We have to say to ourselves, "How would I myself live in this proposed society? How long would it be before I went stark staring mad?"
Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if, at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle, he will fall off it. That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things.
I call that mind free which protects itself against the usurpations of society, which does not cower to human opinion, which feels itself accountable to a higher tribunal than man's, which respects itself too much to be the slave of the many or the few.