What's Waldorf? Some comments on an article on Waldorf education in Salon.com
"On the day when it comes about that the Brahmin not only loves and understands the Brahmin, the Pariah the Pariah, the Jew the Jew, and the Christian the Christian; but when the Jew is able to understand the Christian, the Pariah the Brahmin, the American the Asiatic, as a human being, and put himself in his place, then one will know how deeply it is felt in a Christian way when we say: 'All human beings must feel themselves to be brothers, no matter what their religious creed may be.'

Rudolf Steiner, The Spiritual Foundations of Morality (in GA 155), Hudson 1995, lecture of 30 May 1912.


  • Saul Bellow: "If I had a child of school age, I would send him to one of the Waldorf schools"
  • Mr. Holland on himself as an information source on Waldorf education and anthroposophy
  • Three libelous statements
  • From a culture originating with Noah to the final mixing of people of all races
  • Steiner against racial and religious discrimination
  • Steiner: "Anti-Semitism is not only a danger to Jews, it is also a danger to non-Jews"
  • Steiner for Jewish Enlightenment
  • Steiner: The blond and blue-eyed are a weak and perishing “race”, not “the race of the future”
  • Anti-Waldorf catchword demagoguery


This comment is ascribed to possibly the most successful Jewish American writer of the 20th century, Saul Bellow, Pulitzer Prize winner, three time National Book Award winner, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1976.

When he was awarded his Nobel Prize, he had been studying Rudolf Steiner, founder of among other things Waldorf education, and had commented on him in his novel Humboldt's Gift, published the year before he got his Nobel Prize. Later, he wrote an introduction to the publication in English of the lecture series The Boundaries of Natural Science by Rudolf Steiner.

One who consciously and deliberately did put his child, a daughter, in a Waldorf school, was Heinz Galinski, Auschwitz survivor and for many years Chairman of the Central Jewish Council in Germany. Afterwards, the daughter, Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, commented: "I personally have had only good experiences during my school time; it was liberal, antiracist, tolerant of every faith and not missionary" (1).

Today, there exist some 870 Waldorf schools and some 1,600 Waldorf kindergarten in some 60 different countries around the world, based on an anthroposophical picture and understanding of man as their philosophical basis (2). The parents at these schools have all sorts of spiritual, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

While justified criticism at times is made against individual Waldorf schools or teachers, as is the case with all schools and educational traditions, defamatory criticism at times surfaces against Waldorf schools and education as well. It mostly originates in, or develops as an offshoot of campaigns from one or other small secular humanist missionary group, or an extreme left-wing activist group, against anthroposophy as the philosophical basis of Waldorf education.

One such example is the main part of an article titled "What's Waldorf?", written by a Meagan Francis and published in the internet journal Salon.com on May 26, 2004.

The article contains a number of libelous statements about Waldorf education, anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner, not directly attributed to any specific person. Those responsible for the statements thereby are the author of the article herself, and also the journal that publishes them.

The article however indicates a John Holland, a former Waldorf parent in California, who for about a year had his daughter in a Waldorf school, to be a main source of the views in question.

After having been notified of the libelous nature of the erroneous statements, presented as statements of fact, Salon.com published a clarification comment (06/14/04), referenced from the web article.

According to this note, a number of the statements in the article "do not represent matters of settled fact but rather the perspective of critics of Steiner's philosophy". In spite of this, Salon.com has not corrected them, but continues to publish the statements in question in the article uncorrected, as statements of settled fact.


Since 2003, John Holland has published an internet site which he (at the site itself) describes as "The Waldorf Education Super-Site!" 

In its first published version, the Salon.com article, in addition to the libel, also contained a statement attributed to Mr. Holland, which was later removed from the article (5/26/04). The statement said that Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf schools,

"lived, wrote, spoke and taught in Nazi Germany."
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, died in 1925 (3), eight years before the Nazis rose to power in Germany in 1933, and therefore did not live, write, speak or teach in Nazi Germany, as Mr. Holland evidently told the author of the article.

That Mr. Holland, publisher of the self-described "Waldorf Education Super-Site!", evidently did not know that Rudolf Steiner as the main founder of Waldorf education died in 1925, nor that the Nazis only rose to power in 1933, when he was interviewed for the article, is one indication of Mr. Holland's unreliability as a source of even basic facts related to Waldorf education. The article also reveals that he is not a markedly reliable source on anthroposophy as the philosophical basis of Waldorf education, either.

That neither the author of the article herself nor Salon.com appear to have checked this simple untrue statement by Mr. Holland about when Steiner lived and died, against the numerous, easily accessible basic facts about Steiner from different sources (see 4) before publishing it, gives a further indication of the level of unreliability of the article as a whole, which has made it necessary for Salon.com to correct and clarify it twice after its initial publication.

At his own "super-site" on Waldorf education, Mr. Holland indicates how he himself views his own reliability as an information source on Waldorf education, and to what extent he trusts himself to be a reliable source about what he writes and publishes at the site:

"Don't believe ANYTHING you read on the Internet, INCLUDING what you read here ...!"
After the publication of the article, in a discussion forum that he runs, Mr. Holland stated how he is really "enjoying" a discussion in another internet forum critical of Waldorf education, that in his words rips him to pieces, later accusing him of being an "ignorant poser". On this he comments: "The funny thing is that I've never claimed to be anything else!".


Although Salon was informed early on and noted that a number of the statements in the article on Waldorf education were not statements of settled fact, but rather the views of some critics of Waldorf education, Salon.com still continues to publish two months later (beginning of August 2004) the statements in question, as statements of settled fact, which put Steiner and anthroposophy in a false light.

One of the views in question, stated as a fact, is:

"Steiner's philosophy ... was founded on racist and anti-Semitic beliefs"
Another is found in the uncorrected question by the author of the article:
"If, as Holland says, Anthroposophy is the DNA of Waldorf education, then how do schools contend with the philosophy's basis in racial and religious discrimination?"
The question contains the indirect libelous assertion by the author of the article that
Waldorf schools have a philosophy based "in racial and religious discrimination"
A third libelous statement in the article is:
"Steiner's theory of reincarnation states that souls travel an upward path of consciousness, beginning with the 'sub-races' (Africans) and ending with Aryans -- the most 'enlightened' race."
A closer investigation of the complex field of anthroposophy shows that all three assertions are false.


On the third statement:

a) Steiner's "theory of reincarnation" does not state that "souls travel an upward path of consciousness, beginning with the 'sub-races' (Africans)". It was his much more radical view that we as humans in the early stages of our development started our "upward path of consciousness" long before there was something that could be called human "races" on Earth, and long before the time for which fossil remains can be found.

For more on this, see here and here.

b) Rudolf Steiner did not consider Africans to be, or describe them as a "sub-race" as is erroneously stated in the article. Instead he considered both Caucasians and Africans, as well as the three other of the "five main races of humanity" (a term commonly used at the beginning of the 20th century), to constitute an abnormal differentiation of humanity. In Steiner's view, these "main races" arose before the end of the last glacial age, but started to lose their reality and significance after that, and today constitute only vestiges of the past, which will disappear in the future (5).

Closer reading of Steiner also tells us that he was of the view that intermarriage, the breaking down of the tribal principle, was a natural step in the history of every race and people, and considered the beginning of intermarriage between people of different ethnic backgrounds to have constituted an important step in the development of mankind.

The reason was that, in Steiner's view, intermarriage contributed to the disappearance of an instinctual clairvoyance and wisdom of the past and to the development of the waking consciousness of the present day, bringing humanity to a higher stage of development (6).

He also considered it to be one of the central tasks of anthroposophy to work especially in support of overcoming that which relates to 'racial character' and to support that which is individual in each of us as human beings (7), independent of our "race", gender and other temporal, external characteristics we happen to have.

For more on Steiner's view on the relation between us as individuals, and the "race" or other temporal external qualities we might have, see here.

c) Steiner's "theory of reincarnation" also does not state that our "upward path of consciousness" ends with "Aryans -- the most 'enlightened' race" as the article states.

Instead, Steiner's "theory of reincarnation" states that our reincarnations during the cultural development of humanity, since the last glacial age, will "end" with something quite else. This "end" in his view will be a culture thousands of years in the future, developing as what he called a global "American cultural epoch". The history of this culture so far indicates that one of its main characteristics will be that it will develop out of a mixing of people of all "races". In Steiner's view, the time in question will lead finally to the end of the meaning of the concept "race" as we understand it.

d) The concept "Aryans", controversial today because of the way it was misused by the Nazis, in its original sense does not refer to white Europeans, as is often thought, but to a little known and little understood group of people, whose descendants, according to a commonly held historical theory, invaded the Indian subcontinent some 1500-1800 years B.C. along the river valleys of the Indus and Ganges. Among those who have the most right to call themselves "Aryans" in the West today, would be the "Roma" or gypsies.

In the theosophical tradition, in which Steiner worked for some years at the beginning of the 20th century, the cultural development of humanity from the end of the glacial ages and far into the future, was referred to with the misnomer "the Aryan root race", a concept that Steiner early on criticized as an expression of a childhood illness of the theosophical movement (8). Steiner did not use this concept when developing anthroposophy separate from theosophy.

This misnomer came from the assumption that the main post-glacial cultures originated in the previously mentioned, little understood Asian cultural-linguistic group, which called itself the "Aryans", which was considered by historians to be the origin of the so-called Indo-European cultures and languages.

Later however, this original cultural-linguistic concept was distorted into a racial concept by people of the 19th and early 20th century who were obsessed with the concept of "race". The term "Aryan" was used by the Nazis in a way which today understandably evokes an almost instinctual aversion.

Steiner's view on the issue is quite different from what the theosophical misnomer "Aryan root race" may seem to indicate.

The main post-glacial development of humanity, in Steiner's view, began in this mythical Indian "Aryan" culture. This culture was however -- in the unexpected view of Steiner -- initially led by Noah, in Indian mythology referred to as "Manu". In Steiner's view, the "Aryans" in question in turn had their origin in a group of "original Semites" from the time preceding the end of the glacial ages, a group which Steiner considered to have been the most developed group before the end of the glacial ages.

He also considered the essence of the myth of the Flood, as described by the Torah, to be a reflection of the transition from the time preceding the end of the glacial ages to the following time.

This shows that Steiner's view of the actual meaning of the misleading theosophical concept "Aryan root race" differs radically from the associations generally evoked by the term today.

In Steiner's view, the original postdiluvian "Aryan" (meaning "noble") high culture, under the leadership of Noah, was later followed by a mythical Persian culture, also occurring far in the past. Like the preceding mythical original Indian culture, the original Persian culture developed, in Steiner's view, before the more well-documented cultures of historical time, starting out later as river cultures in China, India and the fertile crescent of the Middle East from around 3,000 B.C.

As to the time up to the future “American cultural epoch”, predicted by Steiner, which in his view will mean the end of the meaning of the concept “race” as we still experience it as a vestige of the past, Steiner described in 1924 (9) what he considered increasingly in the future will characterize people who, in the spirit of our time, make themselves free of their bonds to nationality and "race":

"It will be said: Where does that person come from? He does not belong to one people, he is not from one race. He is as if he had grown out of all races and peoples."
The preceding points show the degree to which the Salon.com article, evidently expressing the views of Mr. Holland, as web master of the self-described "Waldorf Education Super-Site!", distorts and misrepresents the views of Steiner, as the founder of Waldorf education.


The second mentioned libelous statement in the article, seemingly also originating from Mr. Holland, was:
Waldorf schools have a philosophy based "in racial and religious discrimination"
Steiner, during the last 20 years of his life, suffered the fate that not only his approximately 6,000 spoken lectures, but increasingly also everything else he said, in discussions and otherwise, was documented in one form or other.

The documentation tells us that a few times in passing, especially in connection with the First World War, he made some more or less debasing comments about the peoples and nations with which Germany was at war at the time: on the Western front, the French and Africans (the latter mainly brought to Europe from French colonies in Africa to participate on the French side in the war); and on the Eastern front the Slavs, mainly represented by the Russians, and Asians.

At no time during his life, however, did Steiner propose or advocate racial or religious discrimination in any form. In 1912 he argued that, while the cultural development of humanity up to the Middle Ages may have been related to specific "races" (in the context used by Steiner in the sense of "ethnic groups"), that was no longer the case with the cultural development of humanity after the Middle Ages.

Instead, he argued that our development as humanity since then takes place in an ever more global form, not bound to any specific "leading" race or group, but as something that is carried and developed by people of all "races" (10).

In 1915, during the time of the First World War, when people from many different nations were working to build a center for anthroposophy in Switzerland, called the "Goetheanum" after Goethe, he commented:

“The very reason why we are working to reach a world view based on spiritual science is so that humanity may struggle to free itself from feelings of merely national concern as opposed to feelings concerned with humanity as a whole ... so that something may spread to encompass the whole earth, something that goes beyond all possible differentiations ...” (11)
While Woodrow Wilson, in connection with the end of the First World War, proposed the formation or restoration of national states based on ethnicity as a way of granting freedom and self-determination to the ethnic group a person happened to belong to, Steiner saw this as an outdated form of "solution" which would not solve a number of the problems that had led to the war.

In contrast to Wilson, he proposed and worked for the implementation of a differentiation and dissolving of the existing national states, as something ever more belonging to the past.

Instead of the formation/restoration of national states based on ethnicity, he proposed that the existing national states be differentiated into three more or less independent areas: the cultural life, the legal life of the state, and the economic life, each working according to its own principles (12).

Steiner's concept focused on 1) spiritual and cultural freedom and self-determination, and 2) the legal equality of all individuals within the framework of stepwise slowly dissolving national states, independent of one's ethnic or religious group. His concept also focused on the right to self-determination of each cultural group, on an equal footing with the other cultural groups within the existing states. As point 3), his concept focused on the development of a consumer-centered economy, in such a way that it primarily satisfied not one's individual need as a working contributor, but the needs of others, and on a global scale.

In contrast to a capitalist theory, based on the hypothesis that society functions best when it is based on the self-interest of the producers in the economy, Steiner held that the health of society as a whole increases, not the more we try to get from others, but the more we give to others of our work and the result of our work, and the more we live not on something we earn, but on what others give to us as a result of their work.

While his efforts in the end failed, Steiner felt that the failure had one of its roots in a lack of a sufficient number of free and self-determining individuals at the time. This realization was one of the main factors in his fully supporting the founding and development of the first Waldorf school in 1919, starting as a school for the children of both blue and white collar workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart.

Steiner hoped that Waldorf education would contribute to the needed development of such free, independent and self-determining individuals in the future, who, out of themselves, would be able to build a society based on the spiritual freedom of the individual, the equality of all before the law, independent of ethnicity, gender and social position, and a global economy, built on solidarity, not primarily with one's own nation, but with all the people of the world.


To substantiate the view expressed in the Salon.com article that
"Steiner's philosophy ... was founded on racist and anti-Semitic beliefs"
its author, Meagan Francis, quotes two statements from the published works of Steiner.

The quotes in question have for a number of years been published on the web by a small anti-Waldorf group in San Francisco and are repeatedly used in secular humanist demagoguery against Waldorf education, painting a false picture of what anthroposophy is about as the philosophical basis of Waldorf education.

One quote is what appears at first glance as an outrageous statement by the 27-year-old Rudolf Steiner from an 1888 literary review of the drama "Homunculus" by the poet Robert Hamerling. The quote is published out of context at the introductory page of the aforementioned anti-Waldorf group on the internet, to try to imply that Steiner was anti-Semitic:

"Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable" (13)
The other quote is a statement, made in 1922 in one of a series of ad hoc lectures held from 1922 to 1924 for the construction workers of the Goetheanum during their morning coffee break. Steiner would take questions from the workers and answer them. While the first quote is used to try to imply that Steiner was anti-Semitic, the second quote is used to imply that Steiner was an Aryan supremacist. The form it was put in the Salon.com article is:
"If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... Blond hair actually bestows intelligence." (14)
To people somewhat knowledgeable of anthroposophy, the two quotes, at first glance, seem to contradict the very essence of anthroposophy, and Steiner's repeatedly expressed, sensitive views on Judaism throughout his life (15).

(For a description of and comment on two further points in the literary review, from which the first quote is taken, see a separate discussion.)

Except for one instance, related to the first quote, and described by Steiner himself in his autobiography, no other documentation (to our knowledge) from the numerous people of Jewish origin that he met throughout his life, such as the later famous author Stefan Zweig (16), or Hugo Bergmann (later the first Rector of the University of Jerusalem), indicates that they experienced the slightest trace of anti-Semitism in what Steiner said or in his work.

This holds also for the numerous people of Jewish origin with which he cooperated in developing anthroposophy and the daughter movements of anthroposophy. The allegations of anti-Waldorf demagoguery that Steiner was anti-Semitic are also contradicted by the number of notable people of Jewish origin whom he invited to become teachers at the first Waldorf school, and by the prominent place of Judaism in the curriculum of Waldorf schools, at the specific suggestion of Rudolf Steiner.

The important role played by people of Jewish origin at Waldorf schools, in connection with anthroposophy in general, and at the Goetheanum as the center of anthroposophy, was also one of the reasons leading to the prohibition of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany in 1935 by the Nazis. The prohibition also argued that Waldorf education, as an individualistic and human-oriented education, had nothing in common with principles of National Socialist education, and that anthroposophy, as the basis of Waldorf education constituted a threat to the National Socialist State (17).

Against this background, how is it possible that Steiner can have made such an outrageous, seemingly anti-Semitic statement about Jewry in 1888?


The context from which the quotes are taken indicate that the first quote, taken from a review by the 27-year-old Steiner, as a literary critic in 1888 of the drama "Homunculus" by Robert Hamerling, was made -- not as an anti-Semitic statement, which a superficial glance might seem to indicate, but in the historical context and spirit of the Jewish Enlightenment (the Haskalah).

The Haskalah, as a movement of Jewish Enlightenment, developed from the end of the 18th up to the end of the 19th century, as part of the general development of the Enlightenment. It later led to the development of Reform Judaism.

Like Enlightenment in general, the Jewish Enlightenment considered religion -- in the case of the Haskalah, the Mosaic religion -- to be an outdated basis for human culture, thinking and action.

Instead it argued, like Steiner, for the emancipation, integration and assimilation of Jewry into human culture in general. And its representatives at times expressed themselves far more radically than Steiner.

On one of them, the socialist Moses Hess, historian Walter Laqueur in his History of Zionism (1972) (18) writes:

“... like almost all his contemporaries, Hess turned his back on religion; the Mosaic religion (as he wrote in his diary) was dead, its historical role was finished and could no longer be revived. [...]

"In his first book (The Sacred History of Mankind) he said that the people chosen by their God must disappear forever [...]” (19).

No one would accuse Hess of anti-Semitism for the unreserved declaration of his belief at the time (1837) in the assimilation of the Jews, much as Steiner later proposed.

The same applies to the Russian Zionist Leo Pinsker, who in 1882 in his book Autoemancipation wrote, expressing himself in much stronger words than Steiner, that in the Jews, the world could observe a people who resembled a living dead (20).

These examples and Steiner's repeated and vehement argumentation against the anti-Semitism of his time indicate that his comment about Jewry was not, as one at first glance might be led to think in today's context after the Holocaust, part of an argument calling for the annihilation of the Jews, as the placement of the quote on the home page of the anti-Waldorf group tries to imply.

Instead, Steiner argued for the complete opposite of this, namely the complete integration and assimilation of Jewry into society and culture in general. This view was also a common view among Jews in the West at this time, when Theodor Herzl started to argue for the opposite.

What the "consequences" that the second part of the first quote from Steiner refers to:

"... the fact that [Jewry] continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable"
is not fully clear from the context. It could seem to indicate that he, among other things, considered the continued preservation of Jewry as a self-contained cultural group, some 2000 years after it had ceased to exist as a nation, to have been the main reason for the development of anti-Semitism.

But Steiner did not support the development of anti-Semitism in any way. He was a constant opponent of anti-Semitism throughout his life. In 1881, at age 20, Steiner condemned the philosophy of Eugene Dühring, one of the most prominent German anti-Semites of his time, who argued for the physical annihilation of the Jews, as "barbarian nonsense" (21).

Steiner also expressed his vehement opposition in the 1890s to what he described as the “outrageous excesses of the anti-Semites”, and he denounced the “raging anti-Semites” as enemies of human rights (22).

His criticism of anti-Semites as enemies of human rights indicates that he fully supported the complete legal, social and political equality of Jews in the same way as for everyone else, as the only solution to the “Jewish question”, as it was then called (also by Theodor Herzl in 1891, the main initiator of political Zionism). The achievement of equality was something that only in stages was becoming a reality in large parts of Europe during the second part of the 19th century.

As an active participant in and supporter of the "Association against Anti-Semitism" in Berlin at the turn of the 20th century (23), Steiner again criticized the anti-Semitism of the time, writing in 1900:

"I have never been able to see anti-Semitism as anything except a view that indicates in those who hold it an inferiority of spirit, a lack of ability to make ethical judgments and an insipidness […], that is a blow in the face for every person with a normal way of thinking." (24)
A thorough investigation of Steiner shows a completely opposite picture to what the limited quote used in anti-Waldorf demagoguery -- such as the Salon.com article -- would seem to indicate.

Throughout his life, Steiner rejected anti-Semitism, arguing that no one should be judged on the basis of their belonging to any sort of group, that is, as something more important than their qualities as individuals, in 1897 writing:

"Value should be attached solely to the mutual exchange between individuals. It is irrelevant whether someone is a Jew or a German ... This is so obvious that one feels stupid even putting it into words. So how stupid must one be to assert the opposite!" (25).
Such investigation also shows that Steiner's overall view of Judaism and the Jewish people, throughout his life, was very sensitive and understanding.


In a similar way as with the first quote, the actual social and historical context of the second quote shows that it is not -- as on the surface it may seem -- a "pro-Aryan" statement, or made in a context of a propaganda for "Aryan supremacy", as anti-Waldorf demagoguery tries to imply. Instead it is part of a quite different argument, the opposite of what is implied.

The quote:

"If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... Blond hair actually bestows intelligence."
is taken from a talk given off the cuff by Rudolf Steiner to the construction workers at the Goetheanum during a morning coffee break in December 1922 (26).

For a closer look at the central part of Steiner's reasoning in the lecture, see here.

Reading the actual lecture (and not just the quote taken out of context and used for demagogical anti-Waldorf purposes) shows that the presentation by Steiner in the lecture tries to sort out an answer to a question, put just before the lecture by one of the construction workers for whom the lecture was held.

The question, referring to what the worker describes as a personal experience from his home region, was:

Why do blond people become ever more rare?
To this, Steiner -- who was probably quite clear about the developing idealization of the "blond and blue-eyed Nordic hero" of the past as "the race of the future" in parts of European culture at the time -- answers by physiological reasoning, based on what eye and hair color, as understood at that time, indicates about the distribution of blood in the head. The answer, in contrast to what this isolated quote seems to imply, argues against the idealization in question, in sorting out the question through its basic, if simplified, reasoning.

Steiner describes among other things how and why blond hair and the anatomy and physiology of blue-colored eyes indicates that blood not is distributed as fully to the periphery of the head as in more dark-haired and dark-eyed people. Based on this, Steiner argues that the blood to the head is directed more to the center of the head and the brain in blonds than in more dark-haired people.

The argument, in a simplified way, implies that the brain processes in blonds are somewhat more well-nourished than in non-blonds, who distribute more blood to the periphery of the head, developing darker hair and eye color. As this implies that the brains of blonds are at least somewhat more well-nourished than in dark-haired people, and a well-nourished brain functions better than a somewhat less nourished brain, Steiner makes a connection between blond hair color and blue eyes, and a somewhat better functioning brain, as a basis for thinking.

He then, however, develops his reasoning in the opposite way anyone waiting for an idealization of blond and blue-eyed people might expect, and argues against such idealization.

According to Steiner, blond people (implicitly before any artificial measures) tend to be weaker than more dark-haired and dark-eyed people. Considering humanity as a whole to have passed its adult age, and starting to show symptoms of old age, he argues that blonds, as part of this natural aging of humanity tend to die out faster than stronger, more dark-haired people. Thereby, the form of cleverness that is connected with more distribution of blood to the center of the head, which Steiner describes as "instinctual cleverness", also tends to become weaker in humanity as a whole.

In his view, this natural development of humanity needs to be compensated for by developing a form of "cleverness" that is not instinctual and based on bodily brain processes, but rather one that is purely spiritual. He describes the development of such a spiritually based cleverness as something that is done by cultivating spiritual research and anthroposophy as spiritual science.

That blond people for natural reasons die out faster than more dark-haired people, as part of the aging of humanity (something Steiner in the lecture considers to be a fact), in his view is an argument for the necessity for the future of humanity to develop an anthroposophy as spiritual science and research. This is the bottom line of Steiner's reasoned answer to the question by the worker at the beginning of the lecture.

The lecture shows that Steiner did not idealize the "blond and blue-eyed" people in question, but considered them to be "weak" (that is, generally weaker than more dark-haired people) and for natural historical reasons to constitute a perishing "race" of humanity.

While the Nazis -- based on an idealization of the superior "blond and blue-eyed" people -- later worked at breeding as many such people as possible for a future "pure Aryan master race", Steiner, in contrast, argued for the opposite, the development of a purely spiritually based form of "cleverness" for the future, independent of any "racial"-bodily process and qualities, as a necessity for humanity.


A closer look at the full context of the two quotes shows clearly how words can be extracted out of context and twisted in meaning to imply the opposite of the truth.

These quotes are used by a small anti-Waldorf group in San Francisco on the home page at its site, which is the main anti-Waldorf site in English on the internet, to introduce its anti-Waldorf diatribes.

This group's method of continuously publishing the extracted quotes in isolation and out of their original historical context from 80-110 years ago, to imply that Steiner was anti-Semitic and an Aryan supremacist, and then continuing to try to back it up with more, repeatedly untruthful demagoguery from one of its main supporters, constitutes pure, untruthful catchword rhetoric.

As such, these quotes are used to catch the attention of people in general, especially talented people of Jewish origin, and to evoke instinctual, reflexive support from them for the group's anti-Waldorf campaign and diatribes.

Although the two extracted quotes are untruthful catchword demagoguery, they clearly work at times as they are surely intended, as evidenced by the article at Salon.com.

Demagoguery is always successful to some extent if it is based on knowing how to target it, making people fall prey to it and constantly repeating the demagoguery as fact. In the case of Salon.com, it has taken the form of a libelous article by an author, seemingly much based on an interview with a person, who also seems to have fallen for the demagoguery in question, and who, while describing himself as an "ignorant poser", yet claims to have built "The Waldorf Education Super-Site!" on the internet.

The description by Mr. Holland of his own site as a "super-site" may be a dream of his. His comments, views on and understanding of anthroposophy as the philosophical basis of Waldorf education, to the extent that comes to expression in the article in Salon.com, indicate that it is not "The Waldorf Education Super-Site!" he advertises.

Sometimes dreams have a long way to go before they become reality. The article in Salon.com indicates that Mr. Holland still has some way to go to make his dream come true.

1. Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung, 30.3.2000 (General Jewish Weekly, March 3, 2000).
2. European Council of Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE).
3. Rudolf Steiner: The Story of My Life. (Birth, Death) (GA 28).
4. Basic facts about Rudolf Steiner.
5. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture December 4, 1909. In: The Deeper Secrets of Human Evolution in the Light of the Gospels (GA 117).
6. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture October 25, 1906. In: Supersensible Knowledge (in Our Time, and its Significance for Life Today) (GA 55).
7. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture December 4, 1909. In: The Deeper Secrets of Human Evolution in the Light of the Gospels (GA 117).
8. Ibid.
9. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture August 3, 1924. In Karmic relationships (GA 237).
10. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture June 20, 1912. In: Earthly and Cosmic Man (GA 133).
11. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture February 14, 1915. In: The Spiritual Background of the First World War (GA 174b).
12. Rudolf Steiner: Basic Issues of the Social Question. Towards Social Renewal. (German original 1919) (GA 23)
13. Rudolf Steiner: Essay on Robert Hamerling: Homunkulus (Robert Hamerling: Homunculus). In: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Literatur 1884–1902 (Collected Essays on Literature 1884-1902) 2nd ed. pp. 145-55. (GA 32).
14. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture December 13, 1922. In: Health and Illness. The Basis for a Spiritual Scientific Understanding of the Senses. (GA 348).
15. Lorenzo Ravagli: Rudolf Steiner - An active opponent of anti-Semitism.
16. Stefan Zweig on Rudolf Steiner in his autobiography.
17. Uwe Werner: Anthroposophy in the time of Nazi Germany. From: Anthroposophen in der Zeit der Nationalsozialismus 1933-1945, published by Verlag R. Oldenberg, Munich, 1999.
18. Laqueur: History of Zionism, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1972, p. 48.
19. Moses Hess: The Sacred History of Mankind. 1837.
20. Source: Laqueur: History of Zionism, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1972, pp. 71-2.
21. Rudolf Steiner: Briefe I (Letters I), pp. 44-5. (GA 38).
22. Rudolf Steiner: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kultur- und Zeitgeschichte 1897-1901 (Collected Essays on Cultural History and Current Events), pp. 198-9.  (GA 31).
23. Lorenzo Ravagli: Rudolf Steiner - An active opponent of anti-Semitism.
24. Rudolf Steiner: Review of the novel Ahasver by Robert Jaffé. In: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kultur- und Zeitgeschichte 1897-1901 (Collected Essays on Cultural History and Current Events), pp. 378-9. (GA 31).
25. Rudolf Steiner: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kultur- und Zeitgeschichte 1887-1901 (Collected essays) September 1897. (GA 31).
26. Rudolf Steiner: Lecture December 13, 1922. In: Health and Illness. The Basis for a Spiritual Scientific Understanding of the Senses. (GA 348).

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