There are three currents which through their inward relationship had the greatest power of destruction in human evolution, […]
First among them is what I call Americanism, which tends to produce greater and greater fear of the spirit, making the world a mere opportunity for living in the physical. [earlier on Steiner refers to “Americanism” as being a collective concept, not applying to individual Americans.] It is quite different when Britain wants to make the world into a kind of commercial mart. Americanism would make it a physical dwelling equipped with all possible comfort, in which man can lead an agreeable and wealthy life. That is the political creed of Americanism, and whoever does not detect it is blind to the facts and merely shuts his eyes and ears. Man’s connection with the Spiritual is bound to die out under such an influence. In these forces of Americanism lies what must actually bring the earth to an end destruction dooming it at last to death, because the Spirit will be shut out from it.
The second destructive element is not only that of Catholicism, but all Jesuitism, which in essence is virtually allied to Americanism. If the latter is the cultivation of the impulse to build up fear of the spirit, so the former seeks to awaken the belief that one should not seek contact with the spirit, which it deems impossible; it wishes Spiritual blessings to be dispensed by those who are called into the teaching office of the Catholic Church. This influence seeks to atrophy forces in human nature which incline to the super-sensible.
The particular indications of the third stream can be seen arising in a terrible form in the East: a social state based on a purely animal, physical socialism. Without plastering it with dogmas, we call it “Bolshevism”, and it will not easily be overcome by mankind.
These are the three distinctive elements in the modern development of humanity. To bring knowledge to bear upon them, so that the events of the present day may be met in the right way, it is possible only through Spiritual Science.
Source: Rudolf Steiner -GA 181 – A Sound Outlook for To-day and a Genuine Hope for the Future – Lecture 6: Problems of the Time (I) – Berlin, July 30, 1918