That reminded me of an earlier philosophy in which the state was the supreme focus, namely that of the German philosopher Hegel.
According to Stephen Hicks, Hegel believed that God worked through His purposes through the state. Therefore "the State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth." So freedom for man was achieving unity with ultimate reality by furthering the purposes of the state.
Hence the following four quotes from Hegel:
It must further be understood that all the worth which the human being possesses—all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State.
...this final end [of the state] has supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the state.
One must worship the state as a terrestrial divinity.
But though we might tolerate the idea that individuals, their desires and the gratification of them, are thus sacrificed, and their happiness given up to the empire of chance, to which it belongs; and that as a general rule, individuals come under the category of means to an ulterior end.
Hicks also provides some evidence for the influence of this kind of thinking on later generations of Germans:
Otto Braun, age 19, a volunteer who died in WW I, wrote in a letter to his parents: “My inmost yearning, my purest, though most secret flame, my deepest faith and my highest hope—they are still the same as ever, and they all bear one name: the State. One day to build the state like a temple, rising up pure and strong, resting in its own weight, severe and sublime, but also serene like the gods and with bright halls glistening in the dancing brilliance of the sun—this, at bottom, is the end and goal of my aspirations”.
I don't know how fair a summary of Hegel's thought is provided here by Hicks. But it does seem to explain some things.
If Hegel ran this kind of argument in opposition to the Anglo liberalism of his times, then we can see why Anglo liberals stress some of the things they do.
For instance, my own father believes fervently that there is no such thing as duty. It has always struck me as an odd thing to believe, particularly considering that he is a conscientious man. But if the political tradition he identifies with is aimed against German Hegelianism, and this Hegelianism holds that we have a supreme duty to worship and sacrifice for the state, then perhaps this helped to make the concept of duty suspect.
Similarly, Anglo liberals talk all the time about individuals being ends in themselves. Again, in the Christian and traditionalist views they are also ends in themselves, so I've wondered at times why Anglo liberals focus on this. But if a German Hegelianism held that human freedom was served by a subordination of the individual to the state, and that the purposes of the state justified sacrificing individuals, then you can understand perhaps why a marker of belief for Anglo liberals was the idea of individuals being ends in themselves.
In other words, it might be possible that Anglo liberals got stuck in a political identity formed in opposition to German Hegelianism. If true, this is another sad reminder of how marginalised traditionalism has been in Western intellectual debates. Of the two sides to choose from, neither appears to be anywhere near to what a traditionalist would argue.