The following passage on the Fabian Manifesto of 1893 is from English Saga by Arthur Bryant:
“.... By attacking the private ownership of property they [the socialists] struck unconsciously at the foundation on which in the historic policy of England’s individual liberty had always rested. Because the privilege of ownership had ceased to be widespread as in the past and had become restricted to the few, they supposed that its destruction would extend to the freedom of many.
They forgot that, apart from economic liberty, political liberty has little meaning. Only so long as a man knows that he can defy superior power and still support himself and his loved ones is he a free man. Without that knowledge, whatever his standard of living or theoretical status, he is a kind of slave.
And when all power is vested in the state and the state is the owner of both the workers’ homes and the means of production, private liberty becomes a rather nebulous thing. There was little enough liberty for the workers under the rule of the nineteenth-century joint- stock capitalist, except, of course, the liberty to starve. But in the Fabian paradise which was to take its place, though there might be a great deal more comfort, there was to be no liberty at all. The State, or rather the state official, was to rule all things.
Such a paradise, at first sight, seemed to offer so many things of which the English worker stood in need. It offered better wages and conditions of labour, cleaner and more commodious homes, social services and public amenities in place of the drab negation of the utilitarian city, above all the end of the shameless exploitation of poverty by wealth which robbed men and women of their self-respect. Yet when the promised land was examined more closely, it was seen to contain a presence which was not acceptable to an Englishman: For there in the midst of the garden stood Nosey Parker with the sword of the all-seeing state.
.... The Socialists in their passion for statistics forgot that the liberty of the workers in the aggregate may bear little relation to the liberty of the worker as an individual. They did not see how pathetically helpless he might be against the pricks of petty tyranny.”