The Anthropop Strikes Back
Dan Dugan has a website for an organization called PLANS, which is dedicated to concern about Waldorf schools. The most damaging charges against Rudolf Steiner are those of racism and anti-semitism. I have expressed my personal reactions to these charges in a few posts to the Steiner98 list. Here are three such posts:
Uncle Sam, humanists and fundies
The American constitution has a mandated separation of church and state. Good. It prevents the Religious Right from imposing the death penalty on witches, warlocks, theosophists, anthroposophists, marijuana smokers and godless evil humanists after putting a Jerry Falwell or a Jimmy Swaggart in the White House. So far so good.
The problem arises when the politics interfere with education, and in the American public school system they have a free hand. So there is all this fuzz about school prayers and what have you, and in public schools, teachers get fired if they answer taboo questions from students. What is taboo? Sex and religion of course. A female teacher got the sack after a student asked her how semen tasted, and she answered, "Salty." By the same token, what would happen to a biology teacher if he or she answered a question from a student about the truth of the Christian Gospel? Pack your bags, professor.
From across the Atlantic we tend to shake our heads and say, "That's America." True, we also have problems with public schools built and funded by the state. Norway has its Lutheran state church, whose theology is mandatory religious education in public schools. The alternative is private schools, and the best choice is, of course, Waldorf. It was established in 1919 as a PRIVATE alternative, funded STRICTLY by private funds, and the basic idea was to keep it free from Big Brother - from his bankroll and his inspectors alike!
But Big Brother - whose name in America is Uncle Sam - is slick like the Devil. He is the Devil; have no illusions about it. He takes with his one hand and gives with the other. And before you know it, the tax payers are funding the Waldorf schools through the politicians and state administrators with a little help from the extortionist mafia Americans know as the IRS. These very tax payers create committees to find out what Sammy is forcing them to pay for (or maybe you have another nickname for the local racketeering). The state and church thing blows up like a firecracker. Hey, how the hell did a strictly private school system become a state issue in the Land of the Free? Be ashamed of yourselves!
This is how creepy, grumpy, misanthropic tea parties like PLANS pop up like weed. The default philosophical orientation of PLANS appears to be secular humanism. Their brothers and sisters here in Norway have a popular organization called The Human-Ethical Foundation, which embraces atheism, endorses agnosticism, and declares a holy war on all supernatural philosophies and beliefs ranging from Christianity and Islam to astrology and New Age. It's insanity all of it, and they should be locked away so that humanist children would not be exposed to such mentally unhealthy nonsense.
But politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, so who do these secular humanists go to bed with in their battle to stop the Waldorf schools? Yes my friend, you guessed correctly: In their fervor to destroy cults, the humanists join forces with the most influential and sinister cult in the West: The Far Right Wing of the Protestant Vatican - the fundies who say that Charles Darwin is Satan and that the world is flat, and who also say that the secular humanists will burn in Hell for all eternity. Nevertheless, the PLANS-humanists have linked themselves to Watchman Fellowship, an odd bunch of fundy extremists with a list of evil and destructive cults a hundred miles long. This alliance is so bizarre that they'll hopefully tear each other apart before they succeed in causing any damage to the Waldorf Movement with their smear campaigns.
All I can say is that Americans may think they run politics all over the world, but they better stay oceans and continents away from the Waldorf school that my 9-year old son is attending in Stavanger, Norway. I'm not only a Waldorf parent, but I've been a fanatical anthropop Steiner-cultist with horns sticking out of my skull for thirty years and inclined to remain so. Try me.
Racism and Tabloid Gossip
Can we not say that the problems with the Society today are also the problems of Rudolf Steiner's personality as well? In fact, could we not work on the problems of the Society by scrutinizing the problems of Rudolf Steiner himself?
I am not a member of the Anthroposophical Society, though I was for a short time a decade ago. I regard the Goethanum as an important meeting place for anthroposophists in various professions thoughout the world, but I have never been there myself. I am part of the Anthroposophical Movement and a friend of the Society, so I am sort of an outsider, which I demonstrate by calling myself an anarchosophist. In my moments of peace, Anthroposophia visits her radical sister Anarchosophia in my female etheric body, and they get along very well.
I agree that the Anthroposophical Society ought to get its act together in view of Rudolf Steiner's karma being united with it, and that there is a big problem with bourgeois anthroposophists having an uncritical, unthinking, sleepily dogmatic attitude to der Doktor as an oracle of unchanging truth.
And is not Dan Dugan, for example, doing exactly that in his work on the Waldorf Critics List, specifically taking Waldorf schools to task?
I don't know what Dan Dugan is doing on the Waldorf Critics List, because I have never been a subscriber to that list, and I only recently heard of it. All I know about Dan Dugan's Waldorf criticism is what I see on the PLANS website. This site is not simply suggesting to Waldorf parents that Rudolf Steiner was "a human being just like the rest of us." It is an alarm, a warning, against the harm and danger lurking behind the philosophy that prompted the Waldorf method of education. It is suggesting that the Nazi-reminiscent ritual known as the Allegiance to the Flag, the ban against religion, and the default atheist secular humanist philosophy inundated with dog-eat-dog capitalist social darwinism is not only preferable for *everybody's* children because it is superior by all standards. I'll skip going into detail on this here, because it will get us sidetracked.
Dan is always pointing to Waldorfian dependence on the personality of Rudolf Steiner, no matter what the content of his writings and lectures. Are not the charges of racism and anti-Semitism against Rudolf Steiner something to be looked at squarely because they are connected with aspects of his own personality--- regardless of the fact that he died in 1925 and was "a product of his times?"
Absolutely true, and I have in fact been pondering the charges of racism for some time. Let's begin with the suggestion of anti-semitism in the quotes that Dan Dugan has compiled at http://www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/NJP_RudolfSteinerAndJews.html
I fail to discover a single trace of anti-semitism or of anything insulting to Jews. Quite the contrary. Steiner said that Abraham had the first modern brain, and that Moses was the first meteorologist. He also explained that the greatest spiritual leaders from all peoples and cultures incarnated as patriarchs and prophets among the Hebrews. The purpose of the Hebrew race was to produce the most perfect physical lineage bringing about the most advanced body on earth, through selective breeding (to use a crude expression), for the incarnation of the Christ. No wonder then, that the Jews are still an exceptionally gifted and talented race! Is such a view of the Jewish race suggestive of anti-semitism? This charge against Rudolf Steiner is totally off the wall, probably based upon the charge of anti-semitism levied against the entire Christian culture which stresses that the ethos of the New Testament must take precedence over the Old Testament. And by Old Testament culture is meant not only Judaism and Islam, but false Christianity that is ossified in Old Testament principles. The Religious Right in America, for example, with militarism, death penalty, merciless vengeance and what have you - where everything related to New Testament ethics is spit upon as "bleeding heart liberalism." Am I being anti-semitic when I criticize the practice of Old Testament ethics in the twenty-first century?
It appears to me that the charge of anti-semitism against Rudolf Steiner was an "extra" that PLANS just had to pile on top of all the rest they came up with, to make the overall picture as juicy and scandalous as possible.
Steiner's remarks about blacks are a different matter, and it is important that bourgoeois anthroposophists face up to them and don't just shrug their shoulders. Rudolf Steiner's view of history was euro-centric, and as a European I'm euro-centric too, so I guess I share his prejudice. He never met a black man in his life; black Europeans were virtually non-existent back then. He spoke about the evolution of nations and races in broad outlines, and regardless of the derogatory remarks about blacks that were uttered by him, the statements going against the very grain of racism are overwhelming. Let's start with the following quote from "The Ahrimanic Deception:"
"And so, in order to create dissensions, Ahriman also makes use of what develops from the old conditions of heredity which man has really outgrown in the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch. The Ahrimanic powers use all that is derived from old circumstances of heredity in order to set men against each other in conflicting groups. All that comes from old differences of family, race, tribe, peoples, is used by Ahriman to create confusion."
Steiner also spoke about the necessity of becoming e "homeless soul," i.e. someone who has outgrown his ties to family, tribe, nationality and race. He said we might live one life in India, another in Africa, one in Europe etc. And that the type of human being that Rousseau called "the noble savage" would disappear. He also mentioned that the wedding where Christ made his first sign by causing water to taste like wine, was a place where the races mixed through intermarriage, and that it was this mixing of blood that provided the proper place for the New Wine of the New Testament. Does this sound like racism?
Racial differences are slowly in the process of disappearing through gradual integration. Still, race and racial development is a very complex topic, and at the present time it is almost impossible to discuss with objectivity and detachment. The social and psychological harm of racial prejudice, the emergence of racist extremist groups, the pressure of mandatory politically correct attitudes that makes differences of racial heritage almost anathema as a topic of conversation - all this contributes to a necessary postponement for centuries of an investigation and discussion of race. Ahriman has created racial tensions all over the world and in all countries, which makes the subject extremely difficult to approach in our generation.
It strikes me as extremely odd though, that Rudolf Steiner's euro-centric remarks are supposed to make his pedagogic method harmful or neglectful to children. That's really stretching it.
Another example comes from Catherine MacCoun, who has written a long article called "Work on what had been Spoiled," found at this URL: http://members.aol.com/kitmac/workon.htm in which she perceives Rudolf Steiner, during the so-called "Dornach Scandal of 1915" as a psychic-spiritual sadist who dominated the lives not only of Alice Sprengel and his own wife Marie Steiner, but also of the entire Society membership, who are then thrust down into the submissive, masochistic position of abasement below the high spiritual elevation of Rudolf Steiner?
I just read it. She raises some very nice points, like:
"How is it that a movement dedicated to strengthened thinking produces so many goofy and morally useless ideas? How did the author of The Philosophy of Freedom become this ghost to whom his readers so idolatrously surrender their independence of judgement?"
I hear strange things from anthroposophists, like we shouldn't eat oranges because they don't grow in Norway. I ask them to explain, and they try. It doesn't make sense to me, so I ignore it. Why don't other anthroposophists ignore things they've heard or read that don't make sense to them?
Then she starts her "scandalous" little gossip column about Rudolf Steiner. It was the kind of small-talk that caused him to announce the termination of personal interviews. MacCoun might as well have mentioned that Rudolf Steiner was also supposed to have murdered his first wife by means of some remote astral strangulation. It's all quite appropriate for the National Enquirer.
Steiner married Marie to make her a Swiss citizen when the war broke out. He married his first wife due to 19th century social convention because he was living with her. He was a bohemian anarchist with a pragmatic approach to things like that. All the bullshit about his personal life belongs in the same trash bag as the smear campaigns. It's very entertaining reading for tabloid junkies.
When I first read Catherine's article last year, I was angry about her assessment of Rudolf Steiner as a man. I had a similar defensive reaction when I first read the work of Dan Dugan and the Waldorf Critics List. But now, I believe that the issue of Rudolf Steiner's personality and its effects on the Anthroposophical Society and Waldorf Movement is just as important to scrutinize as any factual content of anthroposophy.
In essence, I see your point. But I don't fathom how trashy gossip and twisted misreadings can possibly help shed light on how Steiner's personality has effected the AS.
And I also feel that people like Dan Dugan and Catherine MacCoun should be congratulated for their "work on what has been spoiled" and not condemned for their decision to see Rudolf Steiner as a human being just like the rest of us.
Like the rest of us? Are we all going to get weird dirty scandals thread over our heads from these people?
The Anti-Semitic, Fascist-Communist Zionist
In a leading article, 14 September, 1922, "The Patriot" warns its readers against "The Subterranean War" and writes:
"For those who desire to learn we publish to-day the first of a series of articles by 'G.G.' (or 'Dargon'), a writer who has made a study of secret societies. The purpose of 'The Anatomy of Revolution' is not to take the reader deeply into any part of the subject, but to give a general and historical view of that complex of subversive organization which is working for the destruction of Christianity, of Civilization, and of the British Empire. The writer, who is a true Briton and a good patriot, has one purpose only - to warn the British public of the unsuspected danger which, as he believes and we believe also, imminently threatens it."
To quote G.G.:
"Here we must note that there has always been among the Arcane societies a dual movement - on the one hand mystical, on the other hand political. Such esoteric bodies as the Fraternity of the Rosy-Cross, the Martinists, the Swedenborgians, and Theosophists have consisted no doubt largely of harmless enthusiasts to whom mysticism and magic appealed. But they have also been used, as the cover for political intrigue, and as a net wherein to catch, test, and select persons who could be used for subversive ends. For it is one of the methods of the revolutionary directorate to use, wherever possible, harmless bodies as their cloak, and innocent people as their unconscious agents....
"I may refer briefly to the existence of an offshoot of the Theosophical Society, known as the Anthroposophical Society. This was formed as the result of a chism in the ranks of the Theosophists, by a man of Jewish birth who was connected with one of the modern branches of the Carbonari. Not only so, but in association with another Theosophist he is engaged in organising certain commercial undertakings not unconnected with Communist propaganda; almost precisely in the manner in which 'Count St. Germain' organised his dyeworks and other commercial ventures with a like purpose. And this queer business group has its connections with the Irish Republican movement... and also with another mysterious group which was founded by Jewish 'intellectuals' in France about four years ago (about 1918), and which includes in its membership many well-known politicians, scientists, university professors, and literary men in France, Germany, and England, It is a secret society... although nominally a 'Right Wing' society, it is in direct touch with members of the Soviet Government Russia..."
The above text was not only published in "The Patriot," but it was printed on flyers and distributed all over Europe. Rudolf Steiner was a Jew born in Spain, and as a greedy megalomaniac he was an important agent for the bolshevik-zionist conspiracy. He was also affiliated with all kinds of sinister occult closed societies that were aspiring to dominate the world.
I will repeat a quote from the RS lecture "The Ahrimanic Deception:"
"Ahriman makes use of this confusion in order to prepare the triumph of his incarnation and to drive men with increasing force into what they find so difficult to realize - namely, that by intellectual or modern scientific reasoning today, one can prove anything and equally well prove its opposite. The point is for us to recognize that everything can be proved and for that reason to examine the proofs put forward in science today. It is only in natural science that reality is shown by the facts; in no other field can one consider intellectual proofs valid. The only way to escape the danger that threatens if one accepts the lures of Ahriman and his desire to drive men deeper and deeper into these things, is to realize through anthroposophical spiritual science that human knowledge must be sought for in a stratum deeper than that in which the validity of our proofs arises. And so, in order to create dissensions, Ahriman also makes use of what develops from the old conditions of heredity which man has really outgrown in the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch. The Ahrimanic powers use all that is derived from old circumstances of heredity in order to set men against each other in conflicting groups."
This lecture, and the above excerpt in particular, is so significant and appropriate that it cannot be repeated too often. Slander against Rudolf Steiner was rampant thoughout his public mission, and especially after the war. But it has survived, and during the last few years new rumors have been spread. Steiner is not only a racist and an anti-semite but also a fascist who inspired Nazi ideology. This is "proven" in the book "Ecofascism - Lessons from the German Experience". (See Tom's mention of this book at http://www.antronet.se/mellett/double1.htm and http://gridlock.gn.apc.org/ecofasc.htm.)
Steiner's historical background in the 19th century and his relationship to the Theosophical Society is extremely sloppy and inaccurate in this book, but who cares when we compare this to what the fascists used to say about him being a Spanish-born Jew? These things are not important, because the public at large don't check for accuracy of such statements.
We may wonder how it is possible to transform Rudolf Steiner from a communist-connected zionist Jew to an anti-semitic fascist, but with Ahriman all such things are a piece of cake. (Read the above excerpt again.) Dan Dugan has obviously not grasped this, and that is why he misunderstands what Steiner says about intellectual proof in relation to science. Here is his response to my question on the a-s list about Isaac Asimov's relationship to Ahriman's intentions:
"Not being an Anthroposophist, I can't answer your question, but I can direct attention to one of Asimov's essays which IMHO is very helpful to anyone interested in the history and philosophy of science. It is "The Relativity of Wrong", the title essay in the collection of the same name. In it Asimov defends the concept of progress in science against those, including Steiner and the post-modernists, who say that science can prove anything and its exact opposite."
Does Steiner say that science can prove anything and its exact opposite? (Re-read the above excerpt.) On the contrary, he says that "It is only in natural science that reality is shown by the facts; in no other field can one consider intellectual proofs valid." In other words, when intellectual proof is applied in non-scientific fields, anything goes. Steiner is a zionist communist Jew as well as a Jew-hater.
Either way, the object is achieved: Dissensions and chaos related to heredity, race, and pinned to Rudolf Steiner.
Shortly after the above was written and posted to the Stenier98 list, I joined Dan Dugan's Waldorf Critics List twice (in 1999 and in 2001) and engaged in discussions for approximately ten months altogether. Here are some of the threads.
Click to join anthroposophy_tomorrow
Report on Rudolf Steiner's Racism
Anthroposophy, Critics, and Controversy
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