Hegel’s theory of state leads us to another important conclusion. Because only the state knows what is in individual’s interest and because the state is always infallible and because the state is divine, therefore, the individuals have no rights outside the state on against the state because state itself is the fountain of rights. Freedom of the individual lies in the complete obedience of the laws of the state.
It is only as an obedient citizen with the universal. In other words, state is a super-organism in which no one has any individual preferences different from those of the larger unit. Thus, one aspect of Hegel s philosophy which is of greatest significance is the exaltation of the state and complete negation of the individual’s, rights and freedoms. Real freedom of the individual can be realised only in the state. The only way for the individual to be free is to willingly obey the laws of the state.
In a subtle sense, Hegel’s position on the question of relationship between state and individual is very close to Rousseau’s position. We will recall that Rousseau had argued that each individual has two wills actual will which is selfish and the real will which is rational Freedom in Rousseau’s philosophy means subordination of actual wills to the real wills (the General will).
In the same way, in Hegel’s philosophy, the individual is free only if he identifies himself. Consciously with the laws of the state. Because the state for Hegel is infallible and because it can never be wrong therefore, if there is ever a conflict between individual and the state, the individual is always wrong and the state is always right. It is also interesting to compare Hegel’s position with the position of Hobbes on this (relation between the individual and the state).
Hegel maintains that individuals have no right to resist the state or disobey the commands of the state. To take an analogy just as parts of human body cannot revolt against the body in the same way the individuals cannot revolt against the state. Given this position of Hegel we can say that the Hegelian state is like the Hobbesian Leviathan in new garb.
In fact, in Hegel the position of state vis-a-vis the individual is more exalted than in Hobbes at least grants to the individual the right to revolt against the state if the state fails to protect his life.
The individuals in the Hobbesian social contract agreed to submit themselves to the state in the hope that it (state) will ensure safety of their life and property. If the state (or the sovereign) is unable to do so then the individuals have the inherent right to refuse to obey the sovereign.
However, Hegel does not grant any such right to the individual. This is so because the state for Hegel is the embodiment of reason and individual are the product of the state. In same sense the relationship between, while in Hobbes it remains a mechanical relationship based on contract.