Mittwoch, 1. Februar 2012

The Politics of Johann Wolfgang Goethe

[A version of this was published in The Wall Street Journal Europe, December 30, 1999.]
This year marks the 250th birthday of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Most Europeans know that he was the greatest of all German writers and poets and one of the giants of world literature. Less well known is that he was also a thorough-going classical liberal, arguing that free trade and free cultural exchange are the keys to authentic national welfare and peaceful international integration. He also argued and fought against the expansion, centralization, and unification of government on grounds that these trends can only hinder prosperity and true cultural development. Because of his relevance to the ongoing construction of Europe, I'd like to nominate Goethe as the European of the millennium.


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