Richard Epstein's column this week discusses the "classical liberal" — the good kind of liberal — view of bottom-up wealth creation:
The initial assumption is that the state is not regarded as the creator of rights, but as their protector. Individual rights in labor and intelligence belong to an individual as a matter of birth, not via a grant from the state.
Professor Epstein doesn't mention it, but it reminded me of President Kennedy's inaugural address:
The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
The rest of the column is also worth a careful look: "The constant talk of the living wage should not blind us to the importance of life-cycle earnings, which could be undercut by a high minimum wage that keeps people out of the labor market."