What is Marianne Williamson Really Saying?

Although we may not think Marianne Williamson is in the running for the nomination, she has been zeroing in on Bernie’s base.  This means that she could have a larger effect on his campaign than we realize.  It would probably be a good idea to take a closer look at her talking points before the debates begin.  The problem with her candidacy, in my opinion, is that her agenda is tied to esoteric ideology.

Esotericism is better described as an ideology than a religion in this sense, because it offers a comprehensive explanation of ‘being’ to parts of the poplation and it explains [to] them conclusively how to proceed in the world and what is their role in it.  It mirrors social being as a theory and philosophy which is, as part of the cultural Uberbau, determined by an economic, social and material background.  It serves the oppression as an ideology, because it distorts reality to fulfill a specific social function.  It tries to define a particular interest as an interest of the greater public.

I want to talk about two esoteric elements in Williamson’s speeches: organicism and elitism. She has been relatively open about these things but you have to read between the lines to get her meaning.

The problem with Williamson’s organicism is that describing society as a corporeal organism legitimates hierarchies.  This seems to be consistent with Anthroposophy.  As for her elitism, she stated in her interview with Kim Iverson that she doesn’t believe the common people can solve problems.  She thinks change can only be accomplished by those at the top.  (However this seems to have been edited out of the video.)

There is a third issue–her effort to convince voters that they must first correct their moral failings before they can hope to improve their political prospects because those failings have led them to this place.   She equates the individual with the nation and concludes that the entire country has to take stock of its defects.

It is not necessary to spend a lot of time discussing the third issue, except to say that even if it could be shown that there is a direct link between these ‘failings’ and the current political predicament,  imperfection is part of the human condition.  Said another way, moral perfection is the work of a lifetime, but a national election is never more than two years away.  We mere humans have to do the best we can with the understanding and the candidates we are given in a particular election.  Furthermore, Williamson’s approach ignores the structures and systems that perpetuate injustice and those who benefit from those structures and systems.  Williamson’s third issue seems to be a natural outcome of the first two.

In addition to her organicism and elitism she is associated with a Course on Miracles and the Waldorf School. Again, Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy seems to be the closest match.

It is not clear that she supports Medicare for All.  She says she wants to keep private insurance but that she would support an option of Medicare for All.   And she has no experience in governing.  She says she’s depending on ‘crude wisdom’ to see her through. Yet she’s competing with the only candidate who does know how to get things done–Bernie Sanders–and aside from the esoteric foundations discussed above, her ideas add nothing new to the progressive conversation.