The quotation warns us against the misuse of democratic freedom. Freedom must not be allowed to degenerate into license, for such degeneration ultimately leads to the loss of all freedom and the establishment of Dictatorship. In the pre-emergency days there was a spurt of violent agitations, strikes and look-outs. Late Shri Jai Prakash Narayan even called upon the police and the armed forces to revolt. Liberty completely degenerated into License, with the result that late Mrs. Gandhi was compelled to impose emergency. Democracy was thus derailed and replaced by near dictatorship. Hence the writer warns us not to misuse our freedom in our own interest.
Excessive liberty for one class of society means deprivation of liberty for other classes. This leads to conflict, and dictatorship is often the result. The French Revolution occurred because the aristocracy enjoyed curtailed liberty, which imposed untold hardships on other classes. Besides, liberty is essentially a product of rules; excessive liberty on other hand implies an abandonment of rules. This leads to chaos, and almost inevitably to dictatorship or totalitarian form of government.
Almost all the revolutions the world has been preceded by periods of utter license and abandonment. However, when excessive liberty in one sphere of activity is compensated for the restraint and sobriety in others, it may not lead to dictatorship. During the Italian Renaissance, there was complete liberty in the art and sciences, but not in the economic or religious sphere. Consequently, there was neither hardship for any class, nor dictatorship.
Emergence of dictatorship in a number of countries of the world is the direct result of the misuse of liberty. Till recently. There was dictatorship in Pakistan for this very reason and military coups are the order of the day in most African countries. All this shows that the people must understand the meaning of liberty and the limits within which it can be enjoyed. Under no circumstances should they take the law in their own hands. If they do so, they may be sure that dictatorship is at hand.