A comment on “Why”

It is always interesting (and revealing) to hear from Steiner defenders, and I hope Jo Whittaker won’t mind me reproducing her comment on “Why” here, as I need to answer the points raised.

She accuses me of anger, fear and untruths.; there are no untruths here, and my only anger is against the dishonesty of the Steiner movement in its dealings with the public, not with any particular offenders. Fear? No. I am not afraid.

 

it sounds like you are very unhappy or have had a bad experience with someone to do with anthroposophy? My only worry is that your anger,fear and untruths will cause a huge divide in our wonderful community. As if we don’t have enough going on in our world with racism, anti semitism, homophoebia and now this. Too many generalisations are being made. Very few people whose children attend Steiner school know anything about anthroposohy. They go to receive an alternative education that steers clear of exams in ks3. My worry is for all of those children who are thriving and happy in their schools. Extremism breeds hate and all you are doing is encouraging people to hate something they know very little about. I am not an anthroposophist but as an observer, and as someone who has close connections with one of the businesses on your list, your untruths could effect their livelihood. One of these businesses on you list simply employ people who have been to a Steiner school in the past. Well if that’s the case then there are many more who should be on your oust such as moonflower, sunshine bakery, made in stroud , milks kitchen, wood ruffs. I could list more. So do you see, this oust us dangerous. Ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hatred. If anthroposhy is a kind of religion then you are attacking people for Their beliefs. It’s wrong of you to lump everyone and anyone together who have had any experience or connection to Steiner in this argument you have. So many will be upset and hurt by it. While I understand your objections to a free school ( I wasn’t in favour either for different reasons) I feel that the word witch hunt could be used here. While any religion or indeed anthroposophy should never be a dogma, there are many good people out there who have Steiner connections. I fear everyone may look at them differently now. Also, why have you not given your second name. I get the feeling you would like all Steiner people, adults and children alike to leave or vanish. Well, that thought makes me uncomfortable. Our community is made up of all sorts. What with extremist views on Muslims, the threat of Isis, racism , BNP etc, what you are doing is no different you are generalising about a group of people in the community. Please let’s be peaceful. This is a democracy so your view needs to be heard but a blog that incites more ” agreement” could be a breeding ground for hate against anyone with any connection, however small to Steiner .
Regards Jo Whittaker

 

Firstly Jo, you seem to be suggesting it is wrong to criticise Steiner schools because parents are uninformed about anthroposophy; your remark “very few people whose children attend Steiner school know anything about anthroposophy” is true, a proportion, anyway, but that does not mean the two organisations are unrelated! And I do not hold the uninformed parents responsible – although they often blame themselves for not doing more research. Some parents of course are informed, and they are not telling – so much for equality.

Parents are told “We do not teach anthroposophy”; schools make out anthroposophy is somehow irrelevant, when in fact it is their raison d’etre. The teachers are trained in it (and in very little else). And yet parents remain uninformed. Do you consider that is an acceptable way to treat people? I do not.

If this new school was to be a Mormon school, I would not be happy, but I would not campaign against it because anyone signing up would know what they will get (and there wouldn’t be many takers). If Steiner schools called themselves anthroposophy schools there would be no need to blog about them, there would be nothing hidden.

What I have done on the “Why” page you commented on is to gather a list of the organisations in the Stroud area that are linked by anthroposophy. It is quite a list, isn’t it? And as you point out, it is not comprehensive if you include all the businesses run by people with Steiner connections, which I deliberately have not done – this was already pointed out in the comments.

The anthroposophical connection between all these (40) businesses is not at all obvious but is eye-opening and illustrates the covert way the creed operates.

Why don’t Stroud people know about anthroposophy and the extent of its influence? They should do, given its presence here. I think it is useful to raise awareness of anthroposophy in the area, and from the start I have asked people to do their own research. If people start to find out more about it and don’t like what they find, so be it.

I  certainly do not want all the Steiner people to leave or vanish, but it is necessary to point out that there is already a considerable Steiner influence in the town, and that a new school teaching the Steiner “ethos, curriculum, and mission” as the free school team describe their intentions, will skew the balance even more, and limit choice for those who do not subscribe to the highly questionable tenets of anthroposophy or think it is an acceptable way to educate children.

“Encouraging people to hate something they know very little about” – a curious statement. I have had a lot of comments from Steiner defenders here recently who use the word “hate” to disparage this critical blog. There are aspects of anthroposophy I don’t like (probably you don’t like the Steiner idea of spiritual development through the races either?) but I do not “hate” people” for their beliefs.

Are you suggesting you know more about anthroposophy than critics here do? And that this means we should keep quiet?

What I have found out about anthroposophy over the past few years is very concerning, and it is clear that it should not be used in schools, especially not state-funded schools. I think anyone who understands anthroposophy (ie the spiritual hierarchy) and still promotes it, deserves to be questioned about it, especially if they advocate opening a new school where anthroposophy will be used.

You have also commented on a post I wrote about Bernard Jarman. He and Richard House have been writing to the local paper in support of the Steiner free school without admitting they are anthroposophists. That is not honest, and is very typical of the desire by Steiner followers to hide their association with this belief system.

You said in that comment “replace the word Steiner in your blog with ‘Africans’ ,or ‘homosexual’ and your preachings would be deemed racist and homophoebic. [sic]”. Oddly enough these are two groups Steiner followers have been accused of discriminating against themselves.

I hope you will begin reading a bit more criticism and realise that Steiner criticism is long established. there are critical websites all around the world, and discussions on forums like Mumsnet confirm the distressing experiences of parents lured to Steiner schools.

Criticism has only recently reached Stroud, and appears to be unsettling a lot of people.

“Let’s be peaceful” you say. Leave Steiner unchallenged, you mean. No that won’t happen.

BTW my full name has been on this blog since almost the beginning, for those who have been interested enough to read comments.

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6 comments

  1. Steve

    Did somebody say “witch hunt”? Ironic, because in our experience and the ones of so many others, this is exactly how the Steiner community has treated families the world over. We wrote an article about it a few months ago and explains why we created The Steinermentary Project in the first place: http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/Luciferocity-Lies.html

    Any system which claims to offer a kinder gentler alternative education should explain why they appear to be so adept at vilifying families.

  2. Steve

    Regarding not knowing enough about anthroposophy, I would refer to a former French anthroposophist who has written many illuminating articles on the subject and which Helen quotes from often. This one, which we translated, is highly revealing and is well worth a read: “Masks, Misrepresentations and Manipulations Within Steiner-Waldorf Schools and Anthroposophy”

    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/France-Masks.html

  3. Jim

    Jo, I really don’t think it is fair to characterise this site as a witch hunt or to accuse it of fostering hate. As with any site an occasional comment may appear, from either side of the argument, which maybe goes a little farther than is justified. Indeed I have on several occasions responded critically to anti Steiner comments which seek without evidence to associate the cult with every conspiracy theory ever dreamt up. And having moderated comments on Helen’s behalf several times I can assure you that those comments which are pure abuse ( whether pro or anti ) do not see the light of day.

    I think the view most commonly held of those involved with Steiner is that they are a bit drippy but basically harmless – and that is probably true of most. It’s probably also true of most followers of new age beliefs outside the Steiner movement. But I also detect a feeling akin to that held in respect of the Freemasons – that it’s all very silly but also a bit sinister and maybe something you should not speak out about. You may say that feeling is due to ignorance about what they ( masons or anthros ) actually believe and practice – well that is precisely what this site is trying to address by informing those who might be tempted by a Steiner school just what underlies the seeming warm environment. And that is what Steiner supporters find threatening.

    You should also bear in mind that this site does publish comments from those in favour of Steiner education and attempts to engage them in debate. And to be fair to them some supporters do respond and engage constructively. But for the most part all we get is denial or obfuscation.

      • Steve

        Thanks Helen

        It was exciting to see them go up in Auckland (crickey, is it nearly 4 years ago already?) and then later nationwide. Never expected the reaction we got. The company who put them up told us they’d never seen such reaction in all their years in the business.

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