Letters to the Editor
While you do mention that the poor continue to be the poor, you fail to mention that the reforms in Chile that stem mainly from the years of the Pinochet government, have failed in a good many years to redistribute the profit among the wider population. I seem to have read that the rich (as most everywhere) have become indecently rich, and the poor continue to be poor. The success of Chile, while an improvement over the Allende incompetent years, could hardly be called a success in social terms.
But this is only an impression from bits of remembered and scattered readings. Obviously the determination of what is poverty varies, and the "poor” in the U.S. are certainly rich when compared to the poor in Africa, but U.S. "poor" in their second-hand trailers and hamburger and beer diet, obesity and drugs (poverty lines vary, but some in Europe consider as poor a third or more of the U.S. population) have become a possibly more dangerous class of citizenry.
The poor South American Indian farmer is peaceful until roused out of torpor by a Che, and today perhaps a Morales...The U.S. poor watching the trappings of
wealth and "heroic" violence on their television screens seem to breed crime entrepreneurs and troopers.
But I think what you say is broadly speaking true even if lacking some necessary aspects. I doubt that indigenous movements will ever get anywhere, I think they are just as likely to become corrupt if and when they get into power, and I doubt that they represent any serious danger to the USA. They are more likely to be a problem, and sometimes a serious one, for US corporations who want to operate in this part of the world.
Nor should you have left out the fact that (probably)the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of illicit drugs and has consistently failed to do much about it at home. And that perhaps this ineffectiveness is not the result of inability, but of doubtful commitment to the eradication of the drug business. The accumulation of money in the hands of few is just as corrupting in the Northern Hemisphere, as it is in the Southern one.
And so I could not help wondering as I showered this morning, whether your thief in the night is not already "at home", i.e. in the US. Interesting question. The brunt of U.S. foreign policy today seems to be directed at oil and gas
countries and Islam, but little appears to be done about North Korea, Myanmar and the likes, not to mention the eternally rotting Africa. So from the national interest point of view and if national interest is equated, as to some extent it must be, to national business interests, what the U.S. are doing is right. After all this time, a poll reported by the Economist mentions that in spite of all that happened, has been shown, revealed, and is happening, 45% of the U.S. population still favors U.S. policy in Iraq.
Just early morning musings.
Dear Frank Smith,
I have been pointed in the direction of the article Southern Cross Review has published on the Web by Stanley Messenger (which he calls 'Lucifer and Ahriman Under the Bed') and which your staff have described as "we think it will be compelling to all who are in any way interested in anthroposophy or spiritual movements in general."
I should like to say that I disagree profoundly with this assessment.
Firstly this is an old essay and not contemporary at all. This is given away by comments such as "...as we approach the millennial threshold" [ie as we approach 2000] and the disparaging reference to Paul MacKay's editorial in the first edition of 'Anthroposophy Worldwide' published in the late 90s. So I just wonder how you received this article. He clearly wrote this essay in the last decade when he was in his 80s - so either he is in his very late 80s or early 90s or is in fact dead. He is mostly known for his interest in 'crop circles', UFO's and such like, and lives in Glastonbury where such matters are the tourist industry's bread and butter.
Messenger disparages the Anthroposophical Society throughout his very long essay. He writes disparagingly and dismissively of the 'tragedy' of the Anthroposophical Society. (There is no 'Tragedy' - we [I am a member] are going ahead full steam, thank you very much!) He accuses Steiner of being authoritarian and not allowing a person's freedom while at the same time proclaiming that a person should be a free individual. Messenger also says that Steiner's book 'The Philosophy of Freedom' is not up-to-date and needs to be re-written! In fact he suggests that all Steiner's translations into English need re-translating. (Much of this has since been undertaken as you probably know by SteinerBooks in the USA. They aim at all Steiner works being translated. Already, Steiner is one of the most translated authors from a non-English language.)
In fact Messenger, by his own admission, says he is not a member of either the Society or of the 1st Class. Yet he freely and vigorously criticises these activities in a sort of pseudo-erudite manner, giving the impression, I might add, of being a member. In his last page he gives his game away by more-or-less saying we should follow him (not Steiner) and rather believe what Messenger says! So much for freedom. Apparently one is only free as long as one does some sort of obeisance to Messenger.
For those who are interested in Steiner's thoughts, ideas and revelations, the truth is that, almost more than anything else, Steiner wanted to encourage freedom and individualism. Often mischaracterised as a sect, a religion and a cult, the anthroposophical society which Steiner envisaged was quite the opposite of all these things. He wanted a non-sect, a non-religion, a non-cult. He wanted totally free members, seriously engaged in striving after spiritual truth. Don't believe me. Just read Steiner - particularly in lectures of the 1920s - he says just that - most emphatically.
So I must admit to being unhappy at the publication of this rather old essay by a disgruntled old non-member. 'Compelling' though it is described, I do not see that it actually helps anyone thoughtfully wanting to explore spirituality in freedom. Rather it would put such potential readers off by writing off Anthroposophy (which is after all a movement which works entirely through and for freedom) as a 'tragic' has-been. The Society that exists today simply does not fit such a characterisation by any stretch of the imagination - and Messenger requires a big stretch! But it does have plenty of enemies. And they are those who support forces which do not want enquiring minds seeking after spiritual truth.
This is a wonderful issue. Thanks so much for its publication.