Diana Winters wrote a post on Waldorf critics in which she compared the beliefs of some American politicians to certain anthroposophical beliefs. Ted submitted a comment here, in which he (somewhat confusedly, in my opinion) objected to what she had written, saying:
I notice Diana agrees with the extremism and has recently said that she believes that anthroposophy is a right-wing ideology that justifies rape on her WC list. It’s worth pointing out that this kind of extreme tone and content is not untypical for her.
To this Diana wrote a reply on critics. I will quote it in full:
Ted Wrinch has replied to this post on Alicia’s blog, but there is no substance to the reply, just a complaint about my “extremism” and my “tone.”
I would be happy to take on any disagreements or rebuttals regarding the content of what I wrote. For instance, is it incorrect to note that Steiner’s karma theory suggests that we bring suffering on ourselves in order to improve spiritually? Would this theory not offer a possible explanation for why a woman was raped? Please explain then.
Regarding how we attack our own internal organs in order to alter or destroy them in order to take on “spiritual tasks,” does this not posit a similar mechanism as is implied in Todd Akins’s notion that a woman could “secrete a substance” if she didn’t want (or deserve, really) to get pregnant? Both imply that humans are capable of directing our destinies by a sort of magical control over physiological and hormonal processes that is quite unknown to science (and which most of us recognize is not possible in reality, or we would all be doing it …) – but which make sense in spiritual worldviews that include notions like karma or “God’s will.” Karma and God’s will, of course, are not the same notions, by far – but the implied mechanism of control or regulation of cellular level processes in our internal organs, by spiritual means, is quite similar, and fascinating.
Finally, did Steiner not teach that we “choose our own parents”? Then, is it far-fetched to posit that a child who is born as the result of a rape chose that situation? Is this ideologically or theologically distant from the notion that a child born as the result of a rape is a gift from God? How does it differ?
If anything, the “choosing your parents” notion is more repugnant. Rather than blaming God for the child born of rape, far worse it blames the CHILD, it becomes the child’s CHOICE. The child is thought not to be the unfortunate victim of this terrible circumstance, but to have sat up in the clouds watching his mother get raped, and decided to hop on board, thinking, “Yes! That’s exactly the family for me.” This is because, of course, this child carries some kind of horrible karma owing to his or her own sins in past lives. He/she will be able to “grow spiritually” if raised by a severely traumatized mother and with a violent criminal for a father.
I saw no answer to any of these points in Ted’s dismissal of my alleged “extremist tone.” Explanations of where I have either gotten Steiner wrong, made faulty comparisons, or reasoned wrongly would be welcome.
It is these theories that are extreme, not my observations of them.
She added in a second post:
I would like to think that my carping on this point on this list, many times over the years, has resulted in at least one or two anthroposophists privately in their minds allowing themselves to question whether they really believe karma explains why a child may be abused or hurt, or why a child is born with disabilities or contracts an illness. Even if they aren’t able to speak up about it, I hope that it causes them to at least hesitate in applying beliefs like this in the real world, for instance if there are children, or other vulnerable people, in their care in day to day life.
I closed the thread which Ted used to object to Diana’s posts, because this topic wasn’t relevant there. I do think it’s interesting though, and I do think we can have a thread about these things. At least I hope so. It’s fine with me that these questions are discussed here, and I think perhaps it’s good with an alternative venue since not everyone who might want to reply is on the critics list. But rather than contentless complaints about Diana’s supposed ‘tone’, I’d like to hear explanations of where she has ‘either gotten Steiner wrong, made faulty comparisons, or reasoned wrongly’, as she put it.