(October 22, 2012)
[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
Shoddy-Pretended Scholarship? Michael Barker's Fascism and Anthroposophy
To the Editor:
I have been a friend of Rudolf Steiner for almost 36 years. Also a very successful student, by the way. I don't particularly like the directions taken by the Anthroposophical Society or the Christian Community. I was also present for years on Dan Dugan's Waldorf Critics discussion list where I first encountered the pseudo-scholarship of Peter Staudenmaier, whose thinking is clearly copied in this essentially un-original essay of Barker's.
I do believe that there is a lot of worthwhile criticism to be made about Steiner, anthroposophy, and so forth, but to do that while pretending to be doing "scholarship," with lots of quotes and footnotes, is to fail to really make a coherent or logically justified argument. I am not sure your "commentary" site on the Internet really wants to associate itself with shoddy-pretended scholarship. Then, perhaps you do ... perhaps there need be no editorial standards here.
Most people who know as much as I do about these kinds of "questions" about Steiner and anthroposophy don't have the time to engage in efforts to persuade such as Staudenmaier and now Barker that they are mistaken, and seeming to follow "the wish that is the father of the thought" (Henry IV, part II). I simply write to caution you to be concerned about those who seem to want to act like scholars, but in the end are not even honored in the Academy with advanced degrees -- as far as I know, neither Barker nor Staudenmaier have PhD's, which Steiner had, nor are either of them as widely published or productive.
It is easy to be critical from the sidelines, without having actually stuck one's toe in the waters of critical research and thinking. Barker should write something original, and not be derivative of Staudenmaier's works, or dependent upon being critical of Steiner and his friends as a way to make a name. Barker should be out there, on his own limb for a time, before he tries to cut down the trees of another's works.
Joel A. Wendt
Shapes in the Fire: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit
Paxton, Massachusetts, USA - October 1, 2012
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