(2) To Hegel to middle step is important because it mediates between the state and the individual. For to Hegel the state can only work if made up of ethical people, and these come about by mean of that middle step.
That is to Hegel freedom can only exist in a ethical state. But an ethical state can only exist if it i made of ethical individuals. So the state is important to him but not like it is to Plato, for Hegel requires freedom of the individual. --Unlike what most people think Hegel was about.
The left used Hegel and thus his name got mixed up with them. And individuals like Schopenhauer, Leonard Nelson, and Nietzsche did nothing to improve his reputation. But in my mind Hegel is of as great importance as Kant