agreement and disagreement 1

To Peter from Christine 02.24.04

From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:25 pm
Subject: To Peter from Christine 02.24.04

Dear Peter,

I feel like I am outside a carnival merry go round, trying to make out who's who and what they said as they went by. I would have to really study everyone's input of the past weekend to make any kind of reasonable contribution to the discussion. I would like to "get back" to our discussion of a few days ago when I was asking you to explain the meaning of the concept of "assimilation" and your understanding of Rudolf Steiner's point of view in relation to this particular concept.

I am going to try to use a variety of font styles, etc. to get emphasis. I did the work below in Word with yellow highlighting and text color, but I can't make it come out here. Please give me leeway to Bold some of your words - with the preface that it is my own emphasis for clarity. Thank you in advance for your patience with all of this!

Out of an enormous body of written and spoken and practical work, you extract the two following statements of Rudolf Steiner:

Date: 2/23/2004 1:26:18 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Peter Staudenmaier

Here is what Steiner said in his 1924 lecture on "The Essence of Jewry":

"the best thing that the Jews could do would be to disappear into the rest of humankind, to blend in with the rest of humankind, so that Jewry as a people would simply cease to exist."

"the only proper thing would be for the Jews to blend in with the other peoples and disappear into the other peoples."

What you said to me when I asked you if assimilation was anti-semitic:

Subj: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] assimilation
Date: 2/22/2004 4:13:26 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Peter Staudenmaier

Sorry to have caused confusion. I will try to restate what I think is relevant about the concept of assimilation and its role in Rudolf Steiner's views on Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness.

Assimilation is most certainly not antisemitic in and of itself. In the Germany of Steiner's day, most Jews were firmly in favor of assimilation, and they definitely weren't antisemites; in fact the most prominent organization of pro-assimilationist Jews, the Centralverein, was also a major opponent of antisemitic agitation. There were other tendencies within German Jewry that were much more ambivalent toward assimilation, including many Orthodox Jews and many Zionists, but these were minority viewpoints at the time.

Within the non-Jewish population (which is to say, the vast majority of Germans), there were many supporters and defenders of Jewish rights; these people are sometimes called philosemites (though that term, particularly in Germany, carries a quite a few complicated connotations). In my view, Steiner belonged to this stream around the turn of the century, when he published a series of articles denouncing organized antisemitism. Along with these philosemites, there were of course also many antisemites, who appeared in a great variety of ideological types, from religious antisemites to cultural antisemites to political antisemites to economic antisemites to racial antisemites and more. To complicate matters further, the range of general attitudes toward assimilation among non-Jewish Germans was spread more or less evenly across this ideological spectrum: some antisemites were in favor of assimilation, as they understood it, and others were opposed. Moreover, many philosemites also shared an emphatically pro-assimilationist perspective.

The trouble is that for the most part, Jews and non-Jews meant very different things by the term 'assimilation'. For Jews, especially assimilationist Jews, it generally meant fuller integration into mainstream German society while retaining their Jewish identity. For many non-Jews, in contrast, assimilation meant the abandonment of Jewish identity as such. This is how Steiner understood the concept, for example. This fundamental difference greatly exacerbated the existing social conflicts surrounding the so-called "Jewish question" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I hope this won't muddle things even further, but it's important to keep in mind that racism and antisemitism are two different things. Although they do often coincide, there are certainly racists who are not antisemites and antisemites who are not racists. This is relevant to the contested notion of assimilation because most racial antisemites -- those who viewed Jews as racially distinct from 'German' or 'Aryans' -- opposed assimilation. However, there are instances of antisemites who favored assimilation and who also held a more or less racial conception of Jewishness; in my view, some of Steiner's mature views on Jews (after his turn to Theosophy) fall into this category.

(Christine's note - the word used by you is "racial conception of Jewishness" NOT - "racist conception" - just wanted to bring this out for clarity)

The quotes above establish that Steiner was for "assimilation" but according to the above definitions and explanations by yourself, this does not establish "antisemitism". In fact, you stress that RS is a "pro-semitic assimilationist".

If this is the case, then I wish to ask what quotes from RS establish antisemitism? What quotes establish racism? What will we use as the definition of racism?

In the sequence below, I have outlined my own thought construct to simplify my understanding regarding the concept of "racism" and what would need to be contained in a personal or group philosophy in order to be able to justify the label "racist."

1. That human races do exist - Biologically, Culturally, Nationally (any one or combination of theories may apply).
2. That any one race is the "antecedent" to another or to all others - OR that races have evolved "upward" from previous racial groups as defined above.
3. That any one race is "better" than another by virtue of being antecedent and all others have "devolved" from the original - OR by virtue of having "evolved" to a greater superiority of characteristics such as intelligence, skill, theological belief or other value concept.
4. That if (and this is speculative) there were one race "proven" by some branch of science to have been the antecedent to or evolved from another race or
all races, this should then be taken as "proof" of "racial superiority". And if not proven scientifically, this can and should be accepted philosophically or theologically.
5. That if any race is by virtue of the above suppositions alone, "superior" to any or all others, then it has a "natural" or "biological" or "divine" right to impose it's own desires, demands, belief systems or abusive impulses on
any or all other races.

Are there any quotes of Rudolf Steiner (directly, not interpretations by any one else) that the above sequence of thought was held by him?

The two quotes you used above do not fit into this construct according to the following:

(Peter Staudemeier - same e-mail as above)

In summary: assimilation itself is neither necessarily antisemitic nor necessarily racist; it is, instead, a significant distinguishing issue in the complex debates over the status of Jews within German culture and society in Steiner's day. The difference between Jewish and gentile understandings of 'assimilation' is a mainstay of the abundant historical research on German-Jewish history; when I get back to the computer later today I will try to post a selection of quotes from various works that will hopefully give a fuller picture of this multifaceted question.

Peter Staudenmaier

OK - so according to the "thought construct" above, to my understanding, this would be a sequence of thought, whether based on the "science of eugenics" (or the seeds of what would later become a full blown "eugenics" philosophy at the hands of the Nazis and which has not disappeared today within the American and European governments, only gone underground) or on philosophical or theological arguments, that would lay the basis for accepting and by extension, acting on a "racist" world view or agenda.

Is this correct? Am I missing some critical elements in this construct? Please don't bring in what 20 historians reference. I would like to keep it in the realm of "common perception" of the meaning of the word "racism" in contemporary usage.

If this construct is correct (or close to with any additions or deletions you would feel necessary to be accurate, would you please:

1. present quotes by Rudolf Steiner which directly align with this construct and follow it to it's conclusion. Bearing in mind that you have offered the two above as proof of Rudolf Steiner's adherence to and stated belief in the efficacy of "assimilation"; that you consider him to have been a "pro-semitic assimilationist"; and that you have stated above,

…assimilation itself is neither necessarily antisemitic nor necessarily racist; it is, instead, a significant distinguishing issue in the complex debates over the status of Jews within German culture and society in Steiner's day.

2. Also, in light of the following discourse:

Date: 2/23/2004 1:26:18 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: pstaudenPeter Staudenmaier

Hi Dottie, you wrote:

When you say Green Wing are you speaking of a Green Wing within the Anthroposophical group?

No. I am speaking of the so-called 'green wing' of the Nazi party.

Or are you speaking of the Green Party of the Germans?

No. I am speaking of the so-called 'green wing' of the Nazi party.

I know that I have missed something here, either from the "mountain" of e-mails in the past couple of days, or in your original article, which I have not yet read. I am inferring from the quotes directly above that you directly link something in Rudolf Steiner's body of work with the "green wing" of the Nazi party. I do not know what that is, actually and I do not know what passages you quote that establish this link.

Please be so kind as to repeat them for me here and to show

1. why what you quote from Steiner is to be linked to the "green wing" of the Nazi party and

2. Why everything else that Steiner ever said or did or worked for is to be tainted with association with the Nazi party as a result of this link in light of the following:

(from the same e-mail dialogue as directly above)

(excerpt - Dottie)

And once again any group can take whatever appeals to them from a speaker and it does not make the speaker culpable for their actions.

(Peter's answer)

That's true.

I really need this spelled out because I have no access to all of the reference materials that you have discussed with others here and probably not the time or intelligence to make a reasonable study of it all. After all, you have been working with this material for quite a few years, as I understand.

If you can present direct quotes from Rudolf Steiner that directly establish his world view and (by inference and association) everything contained in the vast body of work known as "Anthroposophy" to be RACIST by definition I will accept it. According to your own statements above, we must put aside the above two quotes by Rudolf Steiner and start afresh with something else.

We must also, by your own statements above, discount as "proof" of racist attitude, philosophy or belief any actions of other people living concurrently or after Rudolf Steiner who may have admired his work and sought to promote it and yet held their own distinctly defined racist beliefs and commitments.

With respect,
Christine Natale 02.24.04

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:22 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] To Peter from Christine 02.24.04

Hi Christine, thanks for your post. You wrote:

I feel like I am outside a carnival merry go round, trying to make out who's who and what they said as they went by."

I know the feeling.

(Christine's note - the word used by you is "racial conception of Jewishness" NOT - "racist conception" - just wanted to bring this out for clarity)

Yes, that distinction is sometimes important. A racial conception of Jewishness is one that hold Jews to be a race, racially distinct from other peoples. Some antisemites held such a view, some philosemites did, and some Jews did.

The quotes above establish that Steiner was for "assimilation" but according to the above definitions and explanations by yourself, this does not establish "antisemitism".

Yes, quite so.

In fact, you stress that RS is a "pro-semitic assimilationist".

That's not the term I use, but yes, I think that Steiner also had a philosemitic phase, and this phase was also strongly pro-assimilationist.

If this is the case, then I wish to ask what quotes from RS establish antisemitism?

I think that the quotes from 1888 and 1924 are antisemitic. I think that the quotes from 1900 and 1901 are not. In the 1888 and 1924 quotes, Steiner invokes a number of classic antisemitic tropes (Jews are a closed totality, dominated by racial qualities, as well as a historical anachronism whose "mission" was fulfilled long ago), and combines these with a straightforward call for the Jewish people to disappear.

What quotes establish racism?

I haven't said much about what I see as Steiner's racism here, and haven't offered many quotes along those lines, though I do think that the passage about Chinese and Jews that I showed you is plainly racist.

What will we use as the definition of racism?

That depends. The one I use is the one I outlined a couple days ago. We don't have to use that one, or use only that one. Thanks for offering your own typpology of racist belief:

1. That human races do exist - Biologically, Culturally, Nationally (any one or combination of theories may apply)."

I agree that this is a necessary component of racism.

2. That any one race is the "antecedent" to another or to all others - OR that races have evolved "upward" from previous racial groups as defined above.

I'm not sure about that one.Some racists held that different races had evolved independently of one another.

3. That any one race is "better" than another by virtue of being antecedent and all others have "devolved" from the original - OR by virtue of having "evolved" to a greater superiority of characteristics such as intelligence, skill, theological belief or other value concept.

I think that a mere ordering of races in any hierarchical fashion is sufficient to establish this point, regardless of the reasons invoked (i.e. no matter what the "by virtue of" part might be).

4. That if (and this is speculative) there were one race "proven" by some branch of science to have been the antecedent to or evolved from another race or all races, this should then be taken as "proof" of "racial superiority". And if not proven scientifically, this can and should be accepted philosophically or theologically."

I suppose so, though this sounds a little too vague to be helpful. Lots of racists don't really bother with "proof".

5. That if any race is by virtue of the above suppositions alone, "superior" to any or all others, then it has a "natural" or "biological" or "divine" right to impose it's own desires, demands, belief systems or abusive impulses on any or all other races.

That is too restrictive a criterion, in my view. This sounds more like a rationale for imperialism and colonization to me, not a necessary component of racist thinking.

Are there any quotes of Rudolf Steiner (directly, not interpretations by any one else) that the above sequence of thought was held by him?

Do you mean quotes that fulfill all five of your criteria? Probably not, in light of the fifth criterion, but there are quotes that fulfill several of the others. The category of "higher" and "lower" racial forms, for example, which I think is central to Steiner's racial theory, fulfills # 1 and # 2, as well as what I take to be the core of # 3.

The two quotes you used above do not fit into this construct according to the following:

No, of course they don't. I presented them as instances of antisemitism, not as instances of racism.

OK - so according to the "thought construct" above, to my understanding, this would be a sequence of thought, whether based on the "science of eugenics" (or the seeds of what would later become a full blown "eugenics" philosophy at the hands of the Nazis and which has not disappeared today within the American and European governments, only gone underground) or on philosophical or theological arguments, that would lay the basis for accepting and by extension, acting on a "racist" world view or agenda.

I still think that is too narrow to capture the variety of racist thought, but I agree that you have hit on several of its more common elements.

Is this correct? Am I missing some critical elements in this construct? Please don't bring in what 20 historians reference. I would like to keep it in the realm of "common perception" of the meaning of the word "racism" in contemporary usage.

As you can see from the recent thread on atheism, I am hardly an expert on common usage. I think, however, that many people easily recognize that the idea of higher and lower races, for example, is racist. I do not think this is an inflationary misuse of the term.

If this construct is correct (or close to with any additions or deletions you would feel necessary to be accurate, would you please:

1. present quotes by Rudolf Steiner which directly align with this construct and follow it to it's conclusion. Bearing in mind that you have offered the two above as proof of Rudolf Steiner's adherence to and stated belief in the efficacy of "assimilation""

But that mixes up antisemitism and racism. The quotes I gave aren't racist. I think they are antisemitic. The distinction is very important.

I am inferring from the quotes directly above that you directly link something in Rudolf Steiner's body of work with the "green wing" of the Nazi party.

Yes, that is the heart of my first article on anthroposophy. Several of the leading figures in the so-called "green wing" were significantly influenced by Steiner's work.

I do not know what that is, actually and I do not know what passages you quote that establish this link.

Do you mean passages from Steiner? That is not how I establish this link. The figures in question (Hess, Darre, Seifert, and others) established the link to Steiner themselves, and Darre in particular (the minister of agriculture) played an important role in introducing biodynamic practices as part of state policy. The top leadership of the biodynamic movement in Germany enthusiastically joined in this effort.

Please be so kind as to repeat them for me here and to show

1. why what you quote from Steiner is to be linked to the "green wing" of the Nazi party

But that isn't what I do. What I do is try to explain how this link came about, by exploring some of the ideological common ground between Steiner's doctrines and the complex of ideas that the "green wing" was drawn to.

2. Why everything else that Steiner ever said or did or worked for is to be tainted with association with the Nazi party as a result of this link

It isn't. How did I manage to give you the impression that I think it is?

If you can present direct quotes from Rudolf Steiner that directly establish his world view and (by inference and association) everything contained in the vast body of work known as "Anthroposophy" to be RACIST by definition I will accept it.

The "everything" part misses the point, in my view. I do not believe that everything contained in the vast body of work known as anthroposophy is racist by definition. I do believe that Steiner's racial doctrines are racist, and I further believe that these doctrines played a central role in anthroposophy as he taught it.

According to your own statements above, we must put aside the above two quotes by Rudolf Steiner and start afresh with something else.

Yes, absolutely. Racism and antisemitism are distinct phenomena.

We must also, by your own statements above, discount as "proof" of racist attitude, philosophy or belief any actions of other people living concurrently or after Rudolf Steiner who may have admired his work and sought to promote it and yet held their own distinctly defined racist beliefs and commitments.

No, that would be a mistake. The expressed views of contemporaries are an important source of evidence, one we shouldn't ignore. But these play a minor role in my argument about Steiner's racial theories. I believe that his theories were racist because of their content, not because of their reception. His racial doctrines are at least as complicated as his views on Jews, and by no means all of his racial doctrines are racist, in my view (indeed some of them are at least partially anti-racist). But some of them definitely qualify as racist, according to my standards. Steiner taught, to choose several examples, that skin color is directly tied to spiritual disposition, that history and social existence can only be understood through racial characteristics, that intelligence is correlated to blonde hair and blue eyes, and that the white race is the spiritually creative race and the race of the future. I consider those views racist.

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: dottie zold
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:26 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] To Peter from Christine 02.24.04

Peter:

Do you mean passages from Steiner? That is not how I establish this link. The figures in question (Hess, Darre, Seifert, and others) established the link to Steiner themselves, and Darre in particular (the minister of agriculture) played an important role in introducing biodynamic practices as part of state policy. The top leadership of the biodynamic movement in Germany enthusiastically joined in this effort.

Peter,

You stated that you did not think a speaker could be held accountable for the attendess of a specific forum. So here you can not link or rather you do not link Steiner to them rather them to Steiner. And you seem to hold Steiner accountable for the fact that they took any of his learnings and used them or perverted them or whatever it is you claim they did with them.

I leave you with a link to a comment on Roots of Occultism by Goodrich-Clark. But before I go what are the other names that you connect from the above mentioned group to Anthroposophy? I am trying to refind the page a found a few years back when originally speaking to you about Ariosophy. I believe Hess was one if I am not mistaken and I am thinking there were a few other names other than the ones you mention above. What are the names of the ones you say intermixed in Anthroposophy and Ariosophy?

http://library.catholic.org/newage31.txt

Dottie

...................................................................................................................................

From: dottie zold
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:32 am
Subject: Re: To Peter from Christine 02.24.04

http://library.catholic.org/newage31.txt

Actually when you get to this link you must put Goodrich Clarke in the search box and then choose Magic Realism. It seems the Church wants you to hit their homepage first:) Oh those Catholics what are we going to do with them:))))

d

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