The division between classical and modern liberals is often represented as paralleling the tension between liberty and equality. Where classical liberalism saw individual liberty as the driving force behind peace and prosperity, the modern variety puts more emphasis on equality. But this is a false dichotomy. The only kind of equality that is possible is also the only kind that matters: political equality.
Political equality refers to equality of rights.
In a land of opportunity, an individual should succeed or fail on the basis of merit, not political privilege. You deserve what you earn — no more, no less. Today, however, some people are being stopped from rising by merit, and others are securing unearned wealth through political privilege. But the real source of this problem is that we have granted the government an incredible amount of arbitrary power: to intervene in our affairs, to pick winners and losers, to put roadblocks in the way of success, to hand out wealth and other special favors to whatever pressure group can present itself as the face of “the public good.” Some of these injustices do increase economic inequality, but it isn’t the inequality that should bother us — it’s the injustices.
Only when the government is limited to the function of protecting our equal rights can people rise through merit rather than through government-granted privilege. The cure for people seeking special favors from the government is to create a government that has no special favors to grant.
.. We need to liberate the individual so that each of us is equally free to pursue success and happiness.