Xi Jinping’s Faustian moment

Geschichte global change Philosophisches


Xi Jinping’s Faustian moment
‚Only he deserves freedom as well as life who must conquer them every day‘ –
Goethe’s Faust
by Spengler (David P. Goldman)
July 1, 2021

A youthful Xi Jinping in a 1989 file photo. Image: Xinhua Press
Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution caught up with the 15-year-old Xi Jinping, as Edward
Luttwak recounted recently in the London Review of Books.
The young Xi, son of a Communist luminary disgraced by the Red Guards, was “sent to work
in Liangjiahe, a miserably poor mountain village of windowless cave houses in a barren
landscape of deforested hills in northern Shaanxi.
It was there that another teenage exile lent him a copy of [Goethe’s] Faust, which Xi read
again and again till he knew it by heart, as he credibly boasted on meeting Angela Merkel.”
That is the single most important data point we have about a man whose public persona
consists of Brobdingnagian billboard images and speeches in turgid officialese. The second
data point, of course, is that he married Peng Liyuan, a popular singer of sentimental
Goethe’s great drama is the definitive work of modern literature. Virtually all of it is in rhymed
verse, in a language at once so colloquial and so sublime that it defies translation. (…)

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