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Re: [wc] denunciation & denial (like the RCC)

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  • Tom Mellett
    ... In my view, a perfunctory denunciation of any and all racist statements made by Steiner -- even if we could find such a denunciation from some
    Message 1 of 9 , May 28, 2010
      --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
      >
      In my view, a perfunctory 'denunciation' of 'any and all racist statements made by Steiner' -- even if we could find such a denunciation from some anthroposophist body or other -- would miss the point. If anthroposophists want to face up the racist components in their ideological legacy, they need to analyze and understand what Steiner taught about race, not pre-emptorily denounce it, and they need to figure out how to revise the overall conceptual structure of anthroposophy, which in its current form is built to a significant extent around racial premises. Simply waving away the problem with a vague gesture of disassociation accomplishes nothing toward that end, indeed it actively hinders the steps that could lead toward that end.
      >-------------------------------------

      I am very struck by the close parallels between the public denunciations of Steiner's racism by the Waldorf associations and the public denunciations of priestly sex abuse by local Catholic bishops, archbishops and other ecclesiastical officials all the way up through the Vatican to the Pope himself.

      While in 2002, when the Boston Globe really broke open the sex abuse story to the mainstream public in the USA, the focus was on the acts of abuse committed by the priests. But now, what was thought to be just an "American problem," has not only spread round the world, but, more importantly, the focus now is on the bishops and other higher officials who knew the abuse was going on and worked to cover it up by shuffling the priests around to far flung parishes, etc.

      In the Waldorf world, we can see that the officials of the various associations, such as AWSNA, SWSF and ECSW. Although they themselves are probably not racist, nonetheless, like the bishops, they are clearly rationalizing, if not overtly covering up the racial content of Steiner's anthroposophy (denial), and then even covering up more by the very denunciations themselves!

      It's really an expression of the PR maxim based on Freudian projection: "Sometimes the best defense is a good offense." (Or as Shakespeare put it in Macbeth: "Methinks the lady doth protest too much.")

      As an example, let me quote relevant parts of the SWSF statement denouncing racism and do a word substitution to show the parallel with the Roman Catholic denunciations of child abuse which are still being preached today.

      ---------------------------------------
      The SWSF is opposed to all forms of discrimination against any person or group of people on the grounds of race . . . .We also reject any racism stated or implied in any of Rudolf Steiner's speeches and writings (dating from the mid-1880s to his death in 1925).
      -------------------------------------
      The [Roman Catholic Church] is opposed to all forms of [sexual abuse] against any person or group of people on the grounds of [adult-child sexuality] . . . .We also reject any [sexual abuse] [actually perpetrated] or [suspected] in any of [our priests' actions] (dating from the mid-1950s through the 1980's).
      -----------------------------------------------------

      Note too the parallel with the appeal to history. In the RCC, the vast majority of the actual sexual abuse events took place 25 to 55 years ago, and of course Steiner died in 1925. And so the priests, like Steiner, were simply "products of their time." And I've even read a Catholic apologist who actually rationalized the abuse as "no big deal" because it happened during a time when sexual promiscuity and moral relativity was going mainstream in society and the Second Vatican Council of 1963 had also brought this moral relativism into the Church itself. (Those altar boys were just so cute and seductive and irresistible back then in those pre-AIDS, free-love days, so who could blame the priests?)

      Anyway, I thought I would line up a few parallels here:
      -------------------------------------
      Catholics: Well, we never knew anything like this was going on because the priest was a representative of God and thus sexual abuse was impossible."

      Waldorf: "Steiner did not have a racist bone in his body and therefore never uttered a racist statement because Steiner was an infallible Christian genius and his racism is simply impossible."
      -----------------------------------

      Catholics: "OK we knew something odd was going on but we didn't think it was that serious, since nobody then was really complaining and everybody was doing it anyway."

      Waldorf "OK, Steiner did say, here and there, a few isolated things** that might be construed as racist but everybody was racist then and much worse than Steiner ever might have been."
      (**Actually calculated by Sune Nordwall as 0.2%. Why that's a mere 2,000 ppm. Or better, 2,000 wpm.) [wpm=words per million]
      ---------------------------------------------------

      Most telling of all is the parallel of "killing the messenger."

      Vatican: "The media are on a relentless Catholic-bashing witch hunt seeking to destroy the Catholic Church."

      Waldorf: Dan Dugan's "hate-type group" and Communist-atheist-fraud-historian, Peter Staudenmaier are on a relentless Waldorf- and Steiner-bashing witch hunt, seeking to destroy Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy."
      ----------------------------------------------------

      And let me end with a parallel which is not yet in place on the Waldorf side. Here we can see that the Vatican is actually, finally, by necessity now due to the relentless media, actually "ahead of the curve" compared to Waldorf. Consider this recent statement by Pope Benedict (May 11 on his plane to Portugal) who finally pointed the finger of blame back at himself and the entire Church.

      : "…attacks against the Pope and the Church do not only come from outside; rather, the sufferings of the Church come from inside the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church. This was always common knowledge, but today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church. Thus the Church has a profound need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice".

      Allow me to do my word substitution again to imagine how Waldorf might someday respond to its critics:

      : "…attacks against [Steiner] and [Waldorf] do not only come from outside; rather, the sufferings of [Waldorf] come from inside [Waldorf], from the sin that exists in [Waldorf]. This was always common knowledge, but today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of [Waldorf] does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within [Waldorf]. Thus [Waldorf] has a profound need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice".

      Feel free to find more parallels or else more word-substitution.

      Tom Mellett
      Los Angeles, CA
    • Peter Staudenmaier
      ... That s a very good parallel. I had a similar thought a few weeks ago watching Ratzinger squirm under all the publicity. ... Yes indeed. Coming to terms
      Message 2 of 9 , May 28, 2010
        Tom wrote:


        > I am very struck by the close parallels between the public denunciations of Steiner's racism by the Waldorf associations and the public denunciations of priestly sex abuse by local Catholic bishops, archbishops and other ecclesiastical officials all the way up through the Vatican to the Pope himself.
        >


        That's a very good parallel. I had a similar thought a few weeks ago watching Ratzinger squirm under all the publicity.


        > In the Waldorf world, we can see that the officials of the various associations, such as AWSNA, SWSF and ECSW. Although they themselves are probably not racist, nonetheless, like the bishops, they are clearly rationalizing, if not overtly covering up the racial content of Steiner's anthroposophy (denial), and then even covering up more by the very denunciations themselves!
        >


        Yes indeed. Coming to terms with subjects like this calls for much more than a handy little PR statement.


        > Waldorf: Dan Dugan's "hate-type group" and Communist-atheist-fraud-historian, Peter Staudenmaier are on a relentless Waldorf- and Steiner-bashing witch hunt, seeking to destroy Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy."
        >


        Along with physicists, rock stars, and Sufi masters.


        Peter S.


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