Is the state a force for freedom, or its enemy? Do building liberal and efficacious state institutions constitute a necessary precondition for achieving the state of freedom? Or is state an endemic enemy of liberty, so that its champion, while tolerating state as a necessary evil, has to always fight against it to clear greater space for liberty? This is a central problem—perhaps the central problem—for classical liberal theory and its crucial distinction between the state of nature and the civil state. Which is better for liberty: nature or the state?