Friday, August 28, 2009


Johann Wolfgang von GoetheA baker's dozen score years ago today, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born. A quote of choice:

Ich habe gar nichts gegen die Menge;
Doch kommt sie einmal ins Gedränge,
So ruft sie, um den Teufel zu bannen,
Gewiß die Schelme, die Tyrannen.
which translates roughly into:
I have nothing at all againt the masses;
but if they come in a tight spot,
then they call, to avoid the devil,
those scoundrels, the tyrants.
And another one:
I do not fear that Germany will not be united; our excellent streets and future railroads will do their own. Germany is united in her patriotism and opposition to external enemies. She is united, because the German Taler and Groschen have the same value throughout the entire Empire, and because my suitcase can pass through all thirty-six states without being opened. It is united, because the municipal travel documents of a resident of Weimar are accepted everywhere on a par with the passports of the citizens of her mighty foreign neighbors. With regard to the German states, there is no longer any talk of domestic and foreign lands. Further, Germany is united in the areas of weights and measures, trade and migration, and a hundred similar things which I neither can nor wish to mention.

One is mistaken, however, if one thinks that Germany's unity should be expressed in the form of one large capital city, and that this great city might benefit the masses in the same way that it might benefit the development of a few outstanding individuals.

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