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[from Peter Staudenmaier]  Dan Dugan
 Mar 08, 2001 05:02 PST 
Hello waldorf critics,

just so no-one suspects me of assuming another identity: we're having
big computer problems at the bookstore, so I've temporarily switched
to this account. I've missed a good bit of the discussion on the list
over the past two weeks. But I did get Sune's post in response to my
last message on "Aryans", and if I can figure out how hotmail works,
my reply will follow below.


Hi Sune, you wrote:

 By 'what is widely thought today' I referred to what I think is the
presently common understanding of it by most people who have not >
studied the subject more in depth: as a term used by Neonazis as a >
synonym for "the white race" (and between the lines implying blond >
and blue-eyed) in arguing for "white power" based on skin colour, >
looking at what Hitler represented as an ideal and longing to > >
realize what he tried to do. <<


Sune, what do you make of the fact that a number of these Neonazis
consider Steiner one of their predecessors, who promoted "ideals"
similar to their own?

 I have never said the theosophical concept of an "aryan root race" >
was common in Steiner's time. What I said was that Steiner's way of
developing his understanding of "Aryan" - distancing himself from >
the way it was used in the theosophical tradition and related to a
 cultural, not biology or on heredity based content, focussing on
the > indoeuropeans as number of _cultures_, not a biological race -
was > > common in his day. <<


But this is precisely what you have failed to show: that Steiner
rejected biological notions of race. I think that the quote I
provided in my previous post disproves your claim.

 According to what you describe below, Rosenberg in his description >
of the Indoeuropean cultures does not include the cultures of the >
fertile crescent, including what acme out of Abraham some 19(?) >
centuries B.C. developing through a classical phase as a totality >
during what Steiner referred to with the term >
"Egyptian-Chaldean-Babylonean cultural epoch"
and covering about the time 3 000 B.C to c. 800 B.C.

 I think including the cultures of the fertile crescent in the
description of the 'Aryan' cultural stream makes Steiner's view of
"Aryan" stand out as markedly different from how Hitler seems to >
have viewed it. <<


Why? Because Steiner supposedly included Jews, via "the cultures of
the fertile crescent," as members of the "Aryan race"? I've never
understood your argument on that point. Where does Steiner say that
Jews are part of the "Egyptian-Chaldean" subcomponent of the "Aryan
race"? And how does that fit in with his teaching that the ur-semites
were part of the superceded fourth root race?

 According to Franz Wegener ('=DCber Genese und Funktion des >
Atlantidischen Weltbildes') Rosenberg's mentor was, not Steiner,
but > a Russian mystic; Dimitri Mereschowskij (1865-1941). It seems
from > your description that Rosenberg not - as Steiner did -
included the > peoples of the fertile crescent in the description of
the 'Aryan' cultures. On this centrally essential point, Steiner
expresses the > > opposite of the Nazi view. <<


I don't see why this is a centrally essential point. To my mind, the
fact that Rosenberg and Steiner explicitly agreed on four of the five
components of the "Aryan race" rather overshadows their disagreement
on the fifth component. Four out of five is considerable overlap,
isn't it? Especially since the two agreed that the Germans were the
foremost contemporary representatives of Aryanhood. I'd say their
divergence on the matter of the Egyptians pales in comparison. As for
your underlying point, Steiner certainly wasn't Rosenberg's mentor,
and I don't know of anyone who has suggested otherwise. What is at
issue here is not some sort of direct ideological inheritance from
Steiner to Rosenberg, but rather a shared intellectual milieu.
Steiner and his folowers on the one hand, and Rosenberg and other
leading Nazis on the other, developed their theories from similar
premises and within a common cultural context. There was some direct
influence between the two groups, but the more significant factor was
shared ideological origins.

 The page at
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/books/annual3/chap09.html of >
the Simon Wiesenthal Center asks 'What was the "basic principle of >
the blood" which inspired Hitler's "new order"? What did he mean
by > the "spiritual energy" of the people and how was it connected
to > their blood?' and describes 'Hitler's racial ideology and its >
parallels to Blavatsky's esoteric thought.' <<


I wasn't able to check out the link, but I think you mean the article
by Redles and Spielvogel. That's a helpful article, and I've used it
in several of my own articles. How do you find this stuff on the
web?? It took me months of poking around libraries to track that one
down...

 The authors are surely aware of Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, >
yet don't mention them with one word as the link between Blavatsky >
and Hitler, but point to 'the Ariosophy of Guido von List and Lanz >
von Liebenfels and the Thule Society' as 'the possible channels by >
which Theosophical thought might have reached Hitler and helped to >
determine his own racial ideology.' <<


I think Redles and Spielvogel were simply unaware of Steiner's racial
doctrines, and that's why their article doesn't discuss them. Once
again, the point here is not to identify some individual "link
between Blavatsky and Hitler," but to understand their shared
intellectual milieu. It is commonly accepted among historians of the
topic that ariosophy was the proximate source of the theosophical
elements in in Hitler's worldview. What you are avoiding here are the
multifarious connections between ariosophy and anthroposophy and the
extent to which the two doctrines shared basic assumptions about
race, etc.

 That is fully understandable as Steiner's view on the essential >
point - the relation between spiritual life and biology, was 100% >
 opposite to Hitler's <<


One hundred percent opposite? How so? It seems to me that their views
on this topic converged quite a bit. Doesn't Redles and Spielvogel's
article suggest that to you? Steiner was, after all, a dedicated
theosophist for over ten years. Do you think that he bears no
responsibility for spreading Blavatsky's ideas in the German speaking
realm? You might want to consult another worthwhile article on this
topic: Jeffery Goldstein, "On Racism and Anti-Semitism in Occultism
and Nazism" in Yad Vashem Studies 13. I think that these and similar
historical analyses reveal substantial commonalities between the
Hitlerian and Steinerian versions of the Aryan myth, as well as of
their respective visions of Germany's future.

 
 Steiner's comment on the ideals of 'race' and 'nation' that
later were ever more clearly expressed by Hitler:

' ... someone who _nowadays_ speaks of the ideal of races and
nations and belonging to a tribe, speaks of decaying impulses of
humanity. And if he believes that these so-called ideals constitute
progressive ideals, when speaking of them, he is saying something
that is untrue. Because through _nothing_ will humanity bring itself
more into decay, than if the ideals of races, nations and blood were
to continue.

_Nothing_ will be a greater hindrance for the further development of
mankind than the conservation of the ideals held by earlier
centuries, preserved by luciferic-ahrimanic forces in declarations
about the ideals based on nations. The true ideals for the future
must be, _not_ was is based on 'blood', but in the purely spiritual
world.'

 Lecture Oct 26th, 1917. In: The spiritual background of the external
world, The fall of the Spirits of Darkness (GA 177) <<


Nice words, but unfortunately unrepresentative of Steiner's
considered views on the topic. I'd be interested to know how you
suggest readers of Steiner should reconcile the above sentiments with
his warning, a few years later, against the dreadful effect of black
people on European "blood and race" etc. etc.

 The work by Goodrick-Clark at times mentioned on this list
mentions > one single person as a link between Steiner and
Rosenberg. That is a
Ukrainian: Schwarz-Bostunitsch. <<


I don't understand why you keep searching for these telltale "links";
did my article, or Dan's article, somehow suggest that Steiner was
personally responsible for Rosenberg's philosophy? More to the point,
Goodrick-Clarke's discussion of Steiner's influence on the far right
goes well beyond the lone figure of Schwartz-Bostunitsch. He notes
that Steiner was involved in the theosophist circles that were the
source of "the particular kind of theosophy which the Ariosophists
adopted to their v=F6lkisch ideas." (Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The
Occult Roots of Nazism, p. 29) He also emphasizes that "the very
structure of theosophical thought lent itself to v=F6lkisch adoption."
(p. 31) He discusses an article by the German theosophist Harald
Gr=E4vell in 1908 -- midway through Steiner's tenure at the forefront
of German theosophy -- which was published in the major Viennese
ariosophist journal. According to Goodrick-Clarke, Gr=E4vell "outlined
a thoroughly theosophical conception of race and a programme for the
restoration of Aryan authority in the world. His quoted occult
sources were texts by Annie Besant, Blavatsky's successor as leader
of the international Theosophical Society at London, and Rudolf
Steiner, the Secretary General of its German branch in Berlin." (p.
101) In particular Gr=E4vell drew on Steiner's text Blut ist ein ganz
besonderer Saft, "which reflected the theosophical interest in racist
ideas." (p. 242) Goodrick-Clarke also discusses the anthroposophist
Karl Heise, who became a close collaborator of Rosenberg's in the
late 1920's. I think it's worth emphasizing that Goodrick-Clarke is
an admirer of Steiner, not a critic (see the thoroughly positive
preface he wrote to the book Rudolf Steiner: Essential Writings); but
he's also a scrupulous scholar, which is why he didn't shy away from
noting Steiner's ambiguous historical role.

 from 1923 until 1925 he [Schwartz-Bostunitsch] appreciated
Rudolf > > Steiner <<


Schwartz-Bostunitsch's involvement with anthroposophy lasted a good
deal longer than that, and was not as casual as you suggest.
Goodrick-Clarke calls him "an enthusiastic Anthroposophist" (p. 170),
and he remained one until 1929. He also actively collaborated with
the Nazis from 1923 onward. There is a very good monograph on
Schwartz-Bostunitsch that discusses his relationship with Steiner and
anthroposophy at length: Michael Hagemeister, "Das Leben des Gregor
Schwartz-Bostunitsch" in Karl Schl=F6gel, Russische Emigration in
Deutschland.

 From 1925 Schwarz-Bostunich worked in Rosenberg's "Weltdienst" news
agency, and later turned to the SS to eventually become
SS-Standartenf=FChrer. Soon after he started working at the news >
agency, he changed his opinion of Steiner <<


Where did you get this "soon after" bit from? Hagemeister's research
makes perfectly clear that Schwartz-Bostunitsch did not turn on
Steiner until 1929. That fact is confirmed by James Webb (see The
Occult Establishment p. 267), and even by the anthroposophist Uwe
Werner, in typically backhanded fashion (see Anthroposophen in der
Zeit des Nationalsozialismus p. 42). I'd be interested to know where
you got your information on Schwartz-Bostunitsch from.

 The short description of Schwarz-Bostunich's interest in Steiner in
1923-5 (whom he then 4 years later smears as a Jew and promoter of >
the 'Jewish-masonic conspiracy") in Goodrick-Clarke's work, is the >
sole source of the by Mr Dugan alleged 'connection' between
Steiner > and Rosenberg and 'support' of his view of a direct 'link'
between > and 'influence' of Steiner on Rosenberg. <<


That's silly, Sune. Aside from the fact that you persist in
misunderstanding my argument, and I think Dan's as well, the notion
that Goodrick-Clarke's book is the "sole source" for our claims is
frivolous. It isn't even a major source, much less the only one. My
article on the PLANS site, for example, doesn't mention
Goodrick-Clarke. How did you get the idea that Dan, I, or anyone else
was claiming a direct influence by Steiner on Rosenberg? And how did
you get the idea that we based this supposed argument on
Goodrick-Clarke's book? It seems to me that we have enough
substantive disagreements to argue about; there's no point in
creating straw positions that no-one holds.

 The 'conclusion' by Mr Dugan <<


That's Swami Dugan to you... (sorry, couldn't resist)

 about the nature of the 'relation' in his article on 'Rudolf
Steiner > and the Jews' in Natural Jewish Parenting two years ago,
now put at > the site of PLANS, is not expressed by the author of
the work > (either, as also not by the authors of the article at the
Wiesentahl Center page) but a conclusion reached by Mr Dugan all
on > his own. <<


I almost get the sense that you think reaching one's own conclusions
is a bad thing. I can't speak to how Dan reached his conclusions, but
he's certainly in good company. The literature on anthroposophy's
far-right entanglements is large and growing, and I think you ought
to grapple with it instead of consistently avoiding the question.

 The central opposition between the views of Hitler and Steiner are
clearly expressed in a number of articles and documents, among them
Hitler's own attack on Steiner in 'Staatsmaenner oder
Nationalverbrecher' ('Men of the State or National Criminals'), in
Voelkischer Beobachter, 35.Jg., 15 March 1921, S.2.
(http://www.spiritworking.org/article.php?sid=3D62)


Have you read Hitler's article, Sune? If you think it expresses a
"central opposition between the views of Hitler and Steiner," then
you either don't know its historical context, or you have vastly
greater hermeneutic powers than I do. Because it involves a
complicated subject, I'll save my analysis of this article for a
subsequent post.

 
 'Prussian Secret Police, Berlin, November 1, 1935. The deputy >
chief (stell. Chef) and Inspector II 1 B 2 69121/766 L/35.':

'... According to its historical development, the Anthroposophical
Society is internationally oriented and even today continues to
maintain close contacts to foreign freemasons, Jews and pacifists.
The method of teaching developed by its founder, Steiner, and
followed in the anthroposophical schools still existing today follow
an individualistic and human-oriented education, which has nothing in
common with the principles of national socialistic education.

As a result of its opposition to the National Socialistic idea of
Volk (Voelkische Gedanke), the continued activity of the
Anthroposophical Society imposes the danger of injuring the National
Socialistic state.

The organization is therefore to be dissolved on account of its
subversive character and the danger it poses to the public.

 sig. in absentia, Heydrich' <<


Heydrich's hostility to anthropsophy is no secret, and every
responsible analysis of the relationship between anthroposophy and
Nazism takes note of it. But it doesn't tell us anything meaningful
about anthroposophy's politics. Heydrich also banned ariosophy and
the Ludendorffers. Surely you don't think that fact turns these
tendencies into anti-racist and anti-nationalist beacons of
tolerance. If you want to understand anthroposophy's longstanding
appeal to fascists, you have to examine its sympathizers, not just
its knee-jerk opponents.

 Alfred Bauemler, Report on Waldorf Schools, 1937, in: Achim >
Leschinsky, "Waldorf Schools in National Socialism", Neue
Sammlung, > May/June 1983, p. 280 (original German text): <<


I'm glad to see you've encountered Leschinsky's article. Did you read
it? What do you make of his admonition against anthroposophist
attempts to "dismiss the Waldorf movement's deliberate proximity to
National Socialism as a problem of personal mistakes and sympathies"
(p. 272)? Or his discussion of the "affinities" between anthroposophy
and Nazism (p. 257)? Or the fact that "the majority of Waldorf
teachers joined the National Socialist Teachers Federation already in
the first years" of the Nazi regime (p. 261)? (It wasn't until 1937
that virtually all teachers in the country joined the Federation.) Or
his evidence that there was no general Nazi campaign against Waldorf
schools; or his evidence that a large measure of the Nazi
authorities' reservations about Waldorf had to do with generalized
skepticism toward private schools inherited from the Weimar era,
rather than ideological or political hostility (p. 263)? Or the fact
that when one Waldorf school made an honorable decision in 1938 to
disband rather than submit to further Nazification, they were heavily
criticized by other Waldorf schools (p. 265)? Or the fact that the
anthroposophist leadership tried to insinuate themselves with the
Nazi hierarchy by emphasizing Steiner's German nationalist
credentials, anthroposophy's time-honored partisanship for the
special mission of the German people, its proven commitment to the
Nazi Volksgemeinschaft or People's Community, and its extensive
ideological overlap with National Socialism, including
anti-Westernism, anti-materialism, anti-liberalism, and
anti-rationalism (pp. 269-70)? And especially in light of that quote
from Baeumler you shared with us, what do you make of Leschinsky's
demonstration that Baeumler was genuinely enthusiastic about Waldorf
education's anti-intellectualism, which, as Leschinsky points out,
coincided nicely with Nazi approaches to mass manipulation via
non-rational means (p. 271)?

 
 Steiner differed on the essential points from the Nazis
in ascertaining that

 - the development of what others termed 'Aryan race', a term
he never used any more when leaving the theosophical context,
was purely _cultural_ and not racial, being based on only
_being present in a the geographical area where cultures
flowered_ <<


Your argument on this has already been refuted by that paragraph from
Steiner I quoted in my last message. It's from a source of your own
choosing. Why don't you respond to it? For weeks you've been
trumpeting Steiner's lectures on national souls as the height of
anti-racist consciousness, and now suddenly you don't want to discuss
the actual content of those lectures.

 - pointing to the cultures flowering during two Millenia in the >
fertile crescent (including what came out of Abraham and Sara) as >
belonging to the Indoeuropean cultural stream, being his take on > >
'Aryan'. Not a very 'Aryan' concept of 'Aryan' ... <<


You mean because it supposedly comprised Jews? I still don't know why
you think that. I think I must have missed this part of our earlier
debate. Can you re-post the relevant passage from Steiner?

 Maybe you haven't read the list closely enough ... <<


Could be; I've definitely missed quite a few messages recently.

 In a posting only one month ago;

 Subject: old discussion I
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 18:08:14 -0800

 I described _also_ this view of Steiner that the group of people who
aclled themselves 'Aryans' that they originated in the group of >
primal Semites, that in Steiners view constituted the basic
fifth >culture during the time of 'Atlantis', that can be found at
http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Books/GA011/CM/GA011_c03.html and that I
described and quoted extensively in the posting.

 _I_ wrote the post, not you. Maybe it was you who didn't read it ... <<


I did read that one, but the point you recapitulate above proves my
argument, not yours. I thought that would be obvious to readers, so I
didn't respond to it last month. Yes, Steiner taught that the "Aryan
race" arose from a small group of "ur-semites" on Atlantis. But that
emphatically does not mean that in his view Jews are members of the
Aryan race; in fact it means exactly the opposite. Steiner's doctrine
of racial advance and decline is structured around the idea of small
groups evolving into a new race while their former kin degenerate and
devolve (this is one of the notions he shared with Hitler, by the
way). In Steiner's system, modern Jews are a leftover remnant of a
superceded racial group. They are the descendents of those hapless
Atlanteans who did *not* evolve into Aryans. I think this is crystal
clear in Steiner's work, but if you have textual evidence that points
toward your interpretation, I'd like to see it.


 Steiner in 1904 (Cosmic Memory) expressed >
(http://www.spiritworking.org/article.php?sid=3D43):

' ... the 'characteristic of race' was retained throughout the
times > of development in Atlantis, in the fourth main epoch, and
onwards > into our own times of the fifth epoch. However, at the end
of this > fifth epoch the word 'race' will once more lose all
meaning.'

 But he ever more pointedly stressed the fading importance of
'race' > and few years later (1909) expressed:

'The concept of race in a proper sense was only useful at the old
Atlantis. Therefore we have, as we count with a real evolution of
humanity, not used the concept of race for the post-Atlantean time.
We don't speak of an Indian race and so on, as it isn't proper any
more. We speak of an Old Indian cultural epoch, of an Old Persian
cultural epoch and so on.

It would have completely no sense if we were to speak of that we in
our time were preparing for a sixth 'race'. If we in our time still
see remains of the old Atlantean differences, remaining old group
soulishness, so that you still can speak of a differentiation into
races - what is preparing itself for the sixth epoch consists
specifically in getting rid of and leaving behind that which is
'racial character'. That is the important thing. ...'

 4 December 1909, in: The deeper secrets of the development of     >
humanity in the light of the gospels (GA 117) <<


Yes, this is the passage where he says we only have to wait another
fifteen hundred years (that's when the "sixth epoch" will begin) for
humanity to overcome racism. He's even clearer about that at the end
of the lecture you quote above, when he says "the sixth cultural
epoch is the first overcoming, the full overcoming of the race
concept" (GA 117, p. 165). Steiner's pronouncement that race will
cease being significant in 1500 years is no consolation to those of
us who consider race to be a social construct and not, as Steiner
did, a biological fact with spiritual ramifications.
     Before we leave the subject of this 1909 lecture, I can't resist
pointing out that Steiner here uses the term "Hauptrassen" ("main
races") to describe the "theosophical" concept, in Steiner's own
words, of seven principal racial groups (GA 117, p. 152).
"Hauptrassen" is the very word that Sune and Detlef insisted could
never, ever be translated as "root races"; now here's Steiner using
that word as a straightforward synonym for the more usual
"Wurzelrassen". So much for blaming it all on the (authorized,
anthroposophist) translator.....

 On Steiner's view of the cultures during the last 9 000 years not
developing out belonging to a 'race', but _living in a certain
geographical area_, I admit it can take some time to discover that
was his view. Not having more fully taken an interest in his >
'Mission of Folk-souls' before participating on this list, I
missed > that specific detail that he mentions in passing in
http://hem.passagen.se/thebee/Steiner/Folkspirits/Folkspirits-4.htm >
and that makes his view that cultural development since the last >
glacial ages _not_ in its basic pattern is 'racial', but _cultural_.
<<


This is getting surreal. I gave you a paragraph worth of this very
same Steiner text, which says in no uncertain terms that racial
characteristics are *hereditary* and are *not* geographically
determined, and you just pretend this paragraph doesn't exist.
Instead you try to dig up anything Steiner might have "mentioned in
passing" that points in the other direction. Lord knows I've never
faulted Steiner for consistency, but the passage I provided is
absolutely unambiguous, and your ignoring it makes it look like you
have something to hide. Please tell us, Sune: what do you think that
paragraph on page 73 of The Mission of the Folks Souls means?

 I have not tried to understand 'Steiner's racial cosmology', <<


Aye, there's the rub. Don't you think you ought to try to understand
it, instead of pretending it isn't there?

 as you call it from your intense concentration on and getting a >
heart attack and 'developing a Mask'-reaction (... ;\) by every >
mentioning of the word 'race' somewhere. <<


If I had such an intense reaction to the mere mention of the word
'race', I'd never be able to continue my research on the racist
right. I think it is not only acceptable to continue using racial
terminology, it is necessary if we want to understand and combat the
racist thinking this terminology sometimes cloaks. As several critics
of anthroposophy have patiently tried to explain, it is not the fact
that Steiner used the word 'race' that bothers us, but the meaning he
gave to his racial terms and the role they played and continue to
play in his teachings. That's a crucial difference, Sune, and I think
you recognize it in other contexts. Why are you so adamantly
resistant to applying this simple insight to Steiner's writings?

 I have tried to understand how anthroposophy, as a challenge, >
describes the origin and development of the universe and man. That
takes some time, not only reading and noting some details, but
also > understanding the picture in some depth and some of its
possible > implications. <<


We disagree, of course, about the whole "picture" contained in
anthroposophy. And I think we also disagree on what counts as a
"detail"; I don't think Steiner's numerous contemptuous references to
non-white people can be dismissed as mere details. Claims like
"concepts hurt the Asian's brain" and "the negro race does not belong
in Europe" are not incidental to Steiner's broader system, they are
direct consequences of it. The logic of anthroposophical cosmology
leads straight to such racist conclusions. I think that simple
intellectual honesty should prompt you, Sune, to examine that
cosmology and see how Steiner reached such conclusions on the basis
of it.
   But what I really don't understand is why you refuse to so much as
consider the prospect that "some of anthroposophy's possible
implications" are dangerous and intolerant. You don't have to agree
that *all* of its implications are strikingly close to far-right
thinking; I don't even believe that. But couldn't you, just once,
bring yourself to apply your investigative zeal to this question?

 But, writing your article, now at PLANS' site and in full
describing > the 'essence' of 'Folk-souls' as if you had actually
understood it, > without even having read it, I can understand that
you think you > > understand everything much better than me about
anthroposophy ...


I don't know why you keep bringing up my article's reference to the
lectures on national souls "without even having read" those lectures;
it makes you look juvenile. I do not think that I understand
everything about anthroposophy better than you do; there are large
areas of anthroposophy that I know next to nothing about. On the
areas I do know something about, our debates have confirmed my
impression that your grasp is often shaky at best, a species of
wishful thinking. You admire Steiner and you've gotten alot out of
anthroposophy, so you just can't entertain the possibility that there
might be anything nasty lurking within it. I'd like to point out that
this sort of attitude is not the one you regularly impute to me, Dan,
and other critics. I do not think your motives are sinister or, for
the most part, deliberately deceptive; I think, rather, that your
approach to anthroposophy is naive.

Peter Staudenmaier

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