research by BBC Inside Out Southwest
On 19 NOVEMBER 2012, BBC Inside Out Southwest broadcast a defamatory and incompletely researched
program on the Steiner Academy Frome
that opened in September. It was based on interviews with probably three UK Steiner Waldorf critics; Melanie Byng, Andy Lewis, and
John Boxall (see below).
practiced at the school in steps brings children from the magical world of childhood over a cultivation of the arts
and an artistic relation to the world in primary school, not primarily
as tools for self expression, but as tools for understanding the world,
to the clear wake, observing and reflecting scientific attitude of the adult in High School. (For more, se here.)
Its main philosophical basis is something called "anthroposophy". As philosophy,
it supports the different stages
development from childhood to adulthood in Steiner
Waldorf schools and education, from "magic" and "faires" to science, in a structured way.
As philosophy, it also shows how the
modern scientific consciousness developed during the last centuries can
be developed further to investigate
and research also more purely spiritual aspects of reality.
SKEPTICS HAVE PROBLEMS with the "magic" of the world most
experienced in childhood and the program reflected and started with a
stress on that.
for their skepticism, they give a distorted description of Steiner's
view of man and our cultural development as humanity, and a small group of "skeptics" have campaigned intensely against
the Steiner Academy Frome with
Melanie Byng, a with little justification from slightly to somewhat more ... upset former Steiner Waldorf parent in Devon at their head.
Its origin had been brought to her attention by a
who had read about it at Mumsnet in 2007, where it had been
intensely defended and promoted by a deeply ambivalent former Steiner Waldorf pupil in Sweden,
according to herself obsessed with words and numbers, and deeply antipathic to any of the
practical subjects at Steiner Waldorf schools.
The Academy was the first to open
in the U.K. after a new government some years ago decided on a new school policy similar
to school policies in Sweden, the U.S., Finland, Canada and
Australia since a number of years, allowing and supporting free state
distorted, made up "Protocol of Steiner" con story at the core and origin of
the anti Steiner campaign
of the skeptics, depicting anthroposophy as a Nazi philosophy, intensely promoted by Melanie Byng the last
years and used by her to try to recruit others for her anti Steiner
cause, was told
by John Boxall in the program.
was made up a decade ago by an intellectual con
artist at the time, Peter Staudenmaier, who
played historical scholar, based on a B.A.
in German literature, to
incite little founded rage
in the Jewish Community against
anthroposophy and Steiner Waldorf education and he stands out as the
inspirer of Melanie Byng's and Andy Lewis' agitation about Steiner
everything related to them.
His story is contradicted by among other things the way people of Jewish origin have contributed to the founding and development up to this day of both anthroposophy and Steiner Waldorf education, and by the important role played by the history of Jews and Judaism in the Steiner Waldorf curriculum to an extent probably not found in any other not specifically Jewish school, as part of building the understanding of the history of humanity in Steiner Waldorf education.
After he invented
and published the story told by Mr. Boxall, the last years Mr.
continued to actually aquire a Ph.D. in history, and now works as
assistant professor of history at the Jesuit Marquette University in Wisconsin, US, (far
back, left, behind man in tie), led by the Jesuit Bishop David Malloy, but
continues to publish his con
stories, spread on the internet and used in rationalist campaigns
against Steiner Waldorf
education. In this sense he today is a Janus faced
in 2012 someone, probably Melanie Byng, tried to
infuriate and recruit the Holocaust Education Trust (HET) in
anti Steiner crusade
by referring to writings by him but failed. In
contrast to the BBC editor, the HET representative, who turned
to have a child in a Steiner Waldorf school, had looked closer
writings and seems to have come to the well founded conclusion
that they could
completely trusted and that Steiner Waldorf education
neither promotes anti-Semitism nor contributes to it
This is supported by an independent study by a research intitute in Germany some years ago, that investigated how widespread racism was among pupils in Germany and found that
FOR SOME COMMENTS on
Mr. Staudenmaier's original untrue con story from 2000,
broadcast by the BBC
report as a claimed "description" of the basis of Steiner Waldorf education, and his failure to substantiate it when
When asked to correct it in accordance with the
published source he claimed to describe, he said he had tried but
In a talk at the beginning of 2012 (22:44 into the talk) he again has described his method as "historian":
"I’m a person who makes copious use of insinuation and
He and his con stories about Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy continue to
be promoted by Melanie Byng, Andy Lewis, and some other secular humanists and rationalists in
and now also in the BBC story.
In the repeated promotion of Mr. Staudenmaier's con stories by Melanie Byng and continued promotion of them by Andy Lewis, they regrettably nourish otherwise little founded antisemitism.
Steiner's view the cultural
development of humanity after
the Middle Ages reached a certain culmination with Goethe
and the idealistic culture of
Central Europe during the beginning of the 19th
century. It has
parallels also in other parts of the world, in the U.S. represented by
the transcendentalists and it was
later partly developed by Edmund
Husserl as "father" of the phenomenological tradition in
Steiner connected to and continued to develop this idealistic
tradition as spiritual research, that then also led
renewal of among other things education, called "Steiner"
or "Waldorf" education, out of what is purely human
in all of us regardless of our origin and where we happen to live.
Anthroposophy and Steiner Waldorf education worked against this to try to avert the development that followed, but barely survived.
After the second World War, the Steiner Waldorf movement however has expanded again, and today (2013) there are appr, 1,025 independent Waldorf schools, 2,000 kindergartens and more than 629 institutions for special education world wide, based on anthroposophy.
For more on Mr. Boxall's
- Myth: "Anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner are anti-Semitic"
BBC-reporter, Samantha Smith also told another story, rooted
superficial understanding of Steiner, who can be really difficult to
understand at times without some serious investigation and
thinking, more than that permitted for research for a normal BBC
Steiner, as was common during his time, at times used the word
"race" and "races" in a loose sense to refer to any group of people
with some common characteristic, in his view the concept "races" in the
proper sense of the word can only be used in human
the increasingly human forms that is partly mirrored in the development of the hominids during Tertiary
Quaternary time up to the end of the latest glacial period.
is the main background for a comment by Steiner in one of a series of
articles, later published as book, described by Samantha Smith as a
claim that Steiner said that reincarnation is related to race.
also the background for the myth cultivated by
Steiner promoted the idea of a hierarchical evolution through the
races, as he did not at all times specifically make clear and describe
in what sense he used the word at the specific time he used it, and
this has to be inferred from the context in which he used it.
the development in the background of increasingly human forms, partly
mirrored in the development of the hominids during Tertiary and
time, can be described as reflecting a development from lower
higher forms, Steiner never described what later has been
described as "the main races of humanity" as "lower" or
or the relation between them as hierarchical and considered any
"racial" differentiations today to be trifles in relation to what we
are as individuals.
For more on this, see here (coming).
For a description of some more of the myths about Rudolf Steiner, anthroposophy and Steiner Waldorf education, published and propagated in some rationalist and secular humanist anti-Steiner campaigns, seeRECENTLY, ANDY LEWIS WROTE AN ARTICLE at a blog he publishes where he describes Steiner Waldorf education as "Absurd Educational Quackery".
For some reason, what Andy describes as "Absurd Educational Quackery" seems to have been an important part of the background that put Kenneth Chenault, former Steiner waldorf pupil, in his position as CEO of American Express. In December 2012, Chenault was approached by the White House about joining President Barack Obama's second-term administration.
It was the school choice of the parents of John Kerry, U.S. Minister of Foreign Affairs since 1 February 2013, for their daughter Diana, when their father served as diplomat at the American Consulate in Berlin after WWII.
An "Absurd Educational" Steiner Waldorf "Quack" school was the school choice of the parents of Andreas Carlgren, former Swedish Minister for the Environment, of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl for a son, of the parents of Konrad Schily, former member of the German Parliament, and brother of Otto Schily, former German Minister of the Interior and of Heinz Galinski, Auschwitz survivor and Chairman of the Central Jewish Council in Germany from 1988 until his death in 1992 for his daughter Evelyn Galinski.
For some reason, an "Absurd Educational Quack" Steiner Waldorf school (he does have a way with words, Andy ..) was also the school choice of Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Norwegian Minister of Defense and of Foreign Affairs for his son, the now (Sept 2013) latest, former Social Democratic Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, human public representative in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in 2011by a fanatical anti-Muslim Norwegian nationalist, that claimed 77 lives, and of the latest (2013) former Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services Jonas Gahr Störe (formerly Minister of Foreign Affairs) for his children.
And of the parents of Karl Otto Pöhl, President of the Bundesbank and Chairman of its Central Bank Council from 1980 to 1991, and of Michael Rogowski, former President of the Federal Association of the German Industry (2001-2004). And some others, like Tankred Stöbe, President of the Board of Directors of the German branch of Doctors without Boarders. And some others, like Thomas Südhof, Nobel Laureate in Medicine 2013.
The mentioned pupils, their parents, American Express and the White House must have misunderstood something.
For some other comments on Steiner Waldorf education, see(C) Sune Nordwall
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