Principles have their own implications, and liberal principle takes us places the average liberal doesn't intend. Freedom and equality are good up to a point, but they're content-free abstractions, and their demands expand without limit when we make them the highest standard in place of the good life. And reconstructing the human world--"fundamental social reform," as it is called--demands the open-ended use of force that ignores complaints from the people getting reconstructed.Liberals sincerely believe in freedom and equal rights. Freedom properly understood looks a lot like the Catholic social principle of subsidiarity: higher authorities should not need to solve problems that can be solved by local authorities. Equal rights is a substantively meaningless concept as a "right" simply is an authoritative discrimination in favor of one thing at the expense of another. Property rights imply the owner's authority to discriminate against unwanted advances. Homeowners exclude uninvited strangers from their homes. Equal rights means discriminating without discriminating, and as such is meaningless.
The result is that liberalism, like the leftism of which it is part, ends in tyranny as it builds up an infinitely detailed network of supervision and compulsion to make sure we don't oppress each other. Ms. Powers has no idea how moderate today's liberals really are, all things considered. They may seem a bit odd, and not at all liberal in the way she would like, but they're not nearly so violent as other progressives have been.
As Kalb says, it's not an accident that the more we fixate on freedom and equality, the State grows ever larger and more intrusive to ensure that we don't oppress each other.