I’ve been on hiatus from my blog for a while; life has a way of filling up your time. My Defending Steiner is up for all to read, and some of the folks over at the WC (Waldorf Critics) have even been looking at it. It is a bit discouraging that they keep missing the point, but then, they don’t have a history of critical reading that is critical in anything but attitude. Someone emailed me some of the WC postings, so I thought I’d respond here.
In one post, Walden writes:
Trying to slowly make my way through a web site that Serena pointed out and I have a question regarding something the writer (Daniel Hindes) states:
"Blavatsky did indeed originate the term "Root Race". And she did declare that indigenous peoples are dying out. However, Staudenmaier has misunderstood (or never read) the explanation for how this is to be accomplished. Contrary to what Staudenmaier would have you believe, Blavatsky did not declare that those indigenous people who were alive ought to die for karmic reasons. Rather, Blavatsky, accepting the scientific reports that indigenous peoples were dying out as a unique racial group due to sterility, declared that this sterility was due to the fact that souls no longer wished to be born into these races. The dying-out process she predicted would take another thousand years. The karmic necessity that Blavatsky talked about was that souls wishing to be born were choosing other races for karmic reasons, and not that indigenous peoples currently alive ought to die.26 Staudenmaier has treated Blavatsky with the same lack of scholarly care and accuracy that he brings to this study of Steiner."
Does anyone know of these "scientific reports that indigenous peoples were dying out as a unique racial group due to sterility?"
I myself would be interested in learning the answer. Blavatsky has come under criticism over the years for improperly documented sources. So this claim of hers may stand, or may fall.
I should note that whether or not Blavatsky was correct about the sterility of indigenous peoples, this does not change my point one bit. My observation was firstly, that Blavatsky believed this (and I gave specific page numbers for where it could be found in "The Secret Doctrine") and second that Staudenmaierseriously misrepresented Blavatsky’s beliefs in writing about them, much as he seriously misrepresents Steiner’s beliefs when writing about Steiner. Should Blavatsky turn out to be misinformed about sterilization, my point about Staudenmaier’s accuracy still stands.
Another writer on the WC list has accused me of failing to prove Blavatsky free of racism with an example that is clearly racist. I’m not sure why Barnaby supposes that I ever attempted to defend Blavatsky of charges of racism. I should also note that nowhere do I propose that Blavatsky is free of racism. That some of Blavatsky’s concepts were blatantly racist is obvious and well established, and not a point that I would dispute. I am not a knee-jerk defender of all that is "occult". I try to look carefully at the facts of every case, and draw reasonable conclusions. And as a matter of fact, it was on the issue of the importance of race that Steiner differed most sharply with Blavatsky. And one of my major issues with Peter Staudenmaier is that he flagrantly conflates Anthroposophy with Theosophy where most other scholars see major differences between them. I would urge people over at the Waldorf Critics list to use a little more discernment and care in reading. Since they have an obvious bias they should be especially careful in reading things which they know they will automatically disagree with.