love, and such things

I sometimes entertain this idea that all we need to do is to compile a list of Diana’s best comments and reuse them whenever needed. She’s said everything better than I will ever be able to do. I was reminded of this comment the other day, and I thought I’d remind you of it as well. And for those who haven’t read it, it’s not too late to enjoy it now. Steve Sagarin had written:

Q. Why do [critics of waldorf education] spend so much time and effort reading Steiner’s works–the only people who read nearly as much are anthroposophists themselves–only to criticize and debunk them?
A. I don’t know. This puzzles me, too. I think maybe, secretly, they love anthroposophy and even Waldorf education.

Steve later deleted this part of his blog post, because it was pointed out to him that this is silly and patronizing. Diana had seen it, and replied:

Ah, a shame to remove that comment. Apologizing is different from erasing the record.

Anyway, speaking as a critic myself, I think it’s a shame you removed it because it’s often true. Critics have heard the “You secretly love anthroposophy” gambit countless times, and while of course we realize we’re being taunted, I enjoy that conversation because it’s interesting to see zealous Waldorf defenders become confused if a critic says, Yeah, sure, you’re at least partly right. It is much easier to dismiss the criticisms of someone who “hates” Waldorf education than the criticisms of someone who “loves” it. Wouldn’t you say? Seems to me Steve, you’d do better to hear us out, if you perceive we actually love Waldorf.

Of course we are people who love anthroposophy or Waldorf, or at least ONCE loved anthroposophy or Waldorf. People rarely feel passionately opposed to something they didn’t, at the very least, once have high hopes for. The people who just don’t care, either never enrolled in the first place, or went away shrugging indifferently if it didn’t work out. The people who turn into critics, almost by definition were at least at one time passionately involved in the movement. Their feelings about it are so strong BECAUSE they once loved it. They have very particular insights into just what went wrong, based on believing in the promise of Waldorf education and then seeing the reality.

How is it you feel that this discredits us, exactly? I think it would be better to discuss the implications of your claim, than to pretend you never made it.

Of course it was patronizing, but we’re really used to that, don’t worry.

I quote it in full, because I think it’s to the point and very often true — and very cleverly turning Steve’s ‘argument’ against himself.

What Diana wrote applies to parents, of course, not to old students like me. We didn’t choose, and some absolutely loathed the choice our parents made. That is not to say there cannot be an element of truth in it for us too. After all, I keep ‘wasting’ my time on this topic. Even when I’m not writing about it, it occupies me.