The modern liberal order is premised on the political primacy of freedom and equality over traditional, natural, or otherwise unchosen constraints. Tradition and nature are allowed to play a political role, but only inasmuch as the roles they play are freely chosen. It is not the job of politics, in the modern liberal order, to carry out directly any natural or traditional imperative; but only those imperatives mediated by the actual choices of a free and equal body of supermen-citizens.
One way to think about equality is that it asserts identity with respect to an attribute. Therefore, there is no such thing as equality-qua-equality when applied to anything actual: equality is always preceded by a modifier which tells us the attribute that is identical from one instance to another. So we can have numeric equality, racial equality, gender equality, etc. "Equality" with no modifier at all would mean literal identity: a thing is always equal in this most general sense only to itself, not to anything else.
Still, though, this remains ambiguous. Racial equality for example raises (without answering) the question of circumstances: specifically, in what circumstances are we to treat the attribute in question - race - as identical. And in a political or moral context, what this seems to be prescribing is that there are certain true facts which must be ignored or made-as-if-not-true in the context of certain decisions. So specifying what equality means involves the creation of a master list of true facts which must be ignored and circumstances in which we are to ignore them.
Liberal polities seem very enamored with list-making, and this business of "equal rights" appears to be the main reason why. In the reality of day-to-day decision-making the "negative rights" requirement for equal treatment is a requirement for us to ignore fact F when making decision D, while the "positive rights" requirement is to alter reality in such a way that all influences fact F filtered through decision D may have are normalized out of the outcome. "Negative rights" are input-based inasmuch as the existence of fact F must be ignored as an explicit matter by the decision-maker. "Positive rights" are output-based inasmuch as the outcome is required to occur as if fact F were not actually the case, and all inputs must be adjusted until that negation-of-fact obtains: that is, the decision outcome must be made to cohere with the true fact in question being untrue even implicitly.
So in an advanced liberal order we end up with these (mostly but not entirely implicit) large tables of facts, circumstances, and decisions which are placed off-limits in the name of increased freedom. And since rights are generally always granted but rarely taken away, this table is "sticky": that is, once a row is added to the table it stays there, and the table of off-limits facts, circumstances, and decisions grows without bounds. Ever more degrees of freedom in the phase space of available choices are placed epistemically (or at least practically, though political correctness seems to imply banishment from thought not merely from act) out of bounds by this always-growing crystallized set of constraints, freezing the modern equally free superman into his ever more confined place in the social hive.
So that is the idea of freedom in the advanced liberal order: by cutting away any direct accountability to nature and tradition, the free and equal new man stands frozen in a crystalline epistemological prison of his own making.