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Peter Staudenmaier has quite interesting views on how to understand Steiner and Anthroposophy. Attempting a proper understanding of Steiner is "indefensible". He has even claimed that it would be an abdication of responsibility (to what or whom, I must wonder) for him to try to form a more perfect understanding of Steiner's world view. Yes, he actually said that. Of course, two days later he will flatly claim the opposite (with no reference to his earlier position). He always agrees with the reasonable position, even when he doesn't. Nor is he clear on what is meant by objectivity. A comprehensive view of a historical figure is not necessary to formulate a truthful opinion of that figures beliefs. And anyway, who expects that much of an article written for a popular audience in the first place? You just define your scope so that it excludes everything that would contradict your hypothesis, and you're fine! And anyway, he is writing polemical history. (I subsequently wrote an entire essay on the differences between ideal history and polemical history).

Peter Staudenmaier's view on the ethics of selective quotation are indeed interesting, especially considering his near-exclusive use of this technique in articles and public email exchanges. Two days later he has come 180 degrees without even realizing it. I clarified my stance on the issue. Likewise his view that accusing someone of having a bias is not a criticism. His defense of these views makes for interesting reading. First he tries to shift the focus by misreading a part in one section, and objecting to that as if there was nothing else to my whole message (a frequent tactic that he uses on e-mail discussion lists). He also offers that to err on the side of caution in quotation is unwarranted. Yet despite arguing that putting word in the mouth of an author IS actually misquotation, that does not stop him in the case of Rudolf Steiner. For example, Peter Staudenmaier even proves by his own admission that he previously know that the only instance of the word "Root Races" that occurs in the book he cited in his article Anthropsophy and Ecofascism does not actually originate with Steiner, that is, he admits to putting words in Steiner's mouth. But he refuses to correct his article.

Peter Staudenmaier claims he is never disrespectful. And of course he agrees that in principle, distortion is not good. Peter Staudenmaier further claims "I don't work by implication." Peter Staudenmaier is amazingly obtuse on the nature of stigmatization. In his version, it is not possible to be unjustly stigmatized, which convieniently absolves him from any responsibility for his actions, for if the term "racist" were to stick to Steiner, it could only be because it is true.

Peter Staudenmaier loves to make off-hand allegations with serious implications and then back-off of them when pressed (like having found serious problems in Rudolf Steiner's epistimology). Here he implies that Anthroposophists are against examining their own past, but there turns out he has little factual basis for this allegation.

Peter Staudenmaier admits he is not actually trying to determine what the majority of Anthroposophists thought about Hitler and Nazism. He will only focus on the parts that help further his polemical cause. Not even a pretext of objectivity. This post shows a number of typical twists by Peter Staudenmaier. Responding to my accusation that he is not trying to build a complete picture of the behavior of Anthroposophists during the Nazi era, he questions why I think the question is not worth persuing. Then he questions why I think that historians ought to be comprehensinve, anyway.

Staudenmaier's communist ideology

On acknowledging the key points of interlocutors.

Peter Staudenmaier often tries to have it both ways in this case arguing whether the label anti-Semetic is ever stigmatizing. Pay careful attention to how he phrases his objections. To my objection that his initial counter-example applies only to the past, he asserts, "It is entirely possible to discuss whether or not a given statement is antisemitic without stigmatizing anybody." I respond to this. Throughout the whole conversation, he snips my statements furiously, so that I have to restate my original argument in just about every response.

Peter Staudenmaier's grasp of philosophy is not very firm, as this thread will show. In the empiricist-idealist debate he consistently tries to have it both ways: the whole issue is a "false dichotomy". His philosophy of history is interesting, too. This brings us to another problem with Peter Staudenmaier: his problem with the meaning of words.

This is a nice example of how Peter Staudenmaier studiously avoids discussing serious objections to his work is shown in this exchange. And this one, how he will frequently counter with a point different from the one being discussed.

While he will accuse others of being unable to separate a person from their argument (and quite snidely to boot) when pressed he doesn't actually believe that this is necessary.

Peter Staudenmaier claims to be looking for an honest exchange of ideas - to learn and to determine the merits of his own argument. But look what he does with a straigthforward attempt to meet him on this. By three back-and-forth exchanges, it boils down to "Steiner means what I want him to, and don't try to show me anything I don't want to know."

Peter Staudenmaier has generally been very careful his discourse with Anthroposophists on the Anthroposophy Tomorrow Yahoo group, but when talking to a more friendly audience at the Waldorf Critics list, his natural tendency to exaggeration comes back. Nor can he own up to not writing clearly what he meant. Instead, the whole world is ignorant for reading what he wrote and not what he claims he intended. And, of course, Peter Staudenmaier continues to stonewall any and all questions about the accuracy of his article "Anthroposophy and Ecofascism".

Diana 1

Peter Staudenmaier's acknowledgement that his own writing is polemical is reason enough to distrust it. The numerous factual errors and inconsistencies in his published work are further grounds for doubting his expertise and/or his integrity, and his studied obtuseness and evasiveness to any and all objections (despite a façade of openness) is final proof of that his writing is primarily polemical, and not historical.

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