The liberal view of the state is that law is a necessary evil. There are several assumptions built into this belief.
a. Freedom is wholly subjective
b. Our happiness is to be individual and self-determined
c. the state itself is perhaps a necessary evil
Hegel rejects each of these assumptions. Freedom is the outworking of the the Spirit in history. The Spirit not something man determines and therefore not a subjective reality in itself. Rather it is the Historical outworking of the spirit which demands subjectivity, but not in such a manner that each man has his own brand of freedom or Spirit.
Our happiness and our freedom is not to remain in isolation but to enter into community, into the lives and histories of others. The state makes community possible. It is the state that proposes and makes possible the social conditions necessary for the outworking of consciousness and self-determination as a people under a particular constitution.
Finally, the state is not there simply to provide a rule of law , the boundaries of acceptable behavior or negative freedom, rather Hegel sees the state in the classical sense as concerned with the telos of man as a member of the polis.
It is Locke in his 2nd Treatise on Government who codifies a sense of state which exists for the sake of life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. This liberal construction considers each individual as out seeking his own best interest.
Yet, Hegel does not reject private motives which form a material aspect of Philosophic History, but ultimately, such motives are not the fully conscious freedom which he sees as the end or manifestation of Spirit. “Reason is Thought conditioning itself with
perfect freedom.1 But “what is the material in which the Ideal of Reason is wrought out? The primary answer would be — Personality itself— human desires — Subjectivity generally.”2
The outworking of Spirit happens when people willingly submit themselves to purposes, ends, goals, and laws which are not wholly their own. If everything was simply determined by the individual, they remain in infantile isolation and the dualism between self and other, individual and community, inner and outer remains. “When the State or our country constitutes a community of existence; when the subjective will of man submits to laws — the contradiction between Liberty and Necessity vanishes.”3
Development depends “on the condition of his recognizing, believing in, and willing that which is common to the Whole… And this must not be understood as if the subjective will of the social unit attained its gratification and enjoyment through that common Will; as if this were a means provided for its benefit; as if the individual, in his relations to other individuals, thus limited his freedom, in order that this universal limitation — the mutual constraint of all — might secure a small space of liberty for each. Rather, we affirm, are Law, Morality, Government, and they alone, the positive reality and completion of Freedom.”4
Hegel views law and otherness as necessary to allow individuals to overcome alienation and duality both in mind (Spirit/reason) and action (soul). Without submission of some kind reason remains alien to the outer or material world and their would be no development of the individual or the constitution of the state. “Universal History — belongs to the realm of Spirit. The term ‘World,’ includes both physical and psychical Nature.”5
1 G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 27
2 G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 53
3 G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 54
4 G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 53
5 G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 30