the pre-theosophical steiner

In my rss-reader today (so I guess it’s a recent online publication), an example of Steiner’s writing from 1898, when he was 37 years of age.

The “individualist anarchist” wants no person to be hindered by anything in being able to bring to unfolding the abilities and forces that lie in him. Individuals should assert themselves in a fully free battle of competition. The present state has no sense for this battle of competition. It hinders the individual at every step in the unfolding of his abilities. It hates the individual. It says: I can only use a person who behaves thus and thus. Whoever is different, I shall force him to become the way I want. Now the state believes people can only get along if one tells them: you must be like this. And if you are not like that, then you’ll just have to — be like that anyway. The individualist anarchist, on the other hand, holds that the best situation would result if one would give people free way. He has the trust that they would find their direction themselves. Naturally he does not believe that the day after tomorrow there would be no more pickpockets if one would abolish the state tomorrow. But he knows that one cannot by authority and force educate people to freeness. He knows this one thing: one clears the way for the most independent people by doing away with all force and authority.

Read more. I suppose some anthroposophists could reinterpret even this in esoteric/anthroposophic terms. I’m thinking of recent discussions on critics, of course. Personally, I’m quite fond of this younger Steiner. I believe he might have kept some of these and other convictions all his life, it’s just that they were reshaped to fit his new theosophical worldview and adapted to an entirely different set of needs. Freedom became dependent on attainment of anthroposophic-spiritual enlightenment, and so forth. Which means, perhaps, only scraps were left — depending on how generously you interpret it.