Amish Culture

Lit up like Christmas trees

Horse-and-buggy Amish now number over 200,000, with communities in 25 states plus Ontario. As the Amish continue their high rate of growth–doubling about once every 20 years–traffic safety will become an even greater issue. The Amish generally try to make themselves visible on the road–by installing orange signs, reflectors, as well as electrically-powered lights and blinker systems on their carriages.  Some of this can get…

Diane Goslin rally

Members of Amish and other Plain groups rallied today to show support for midwife Diane Goslin, reports Lancaster Online (no longer online). The Amish, though generally choosing to avoid public attention, have had to take stances on things important to them in the past–issues such as schooling, military exemption, and Social Security. Since many Amish women have midwife-assisted home births, the issue is seen as…

How to Have a Baby

Another midwife case is in the news. Many Amish women prefer bearing their children at home or in specially-constructed birthing centers.  Reasons include the comfort of being in familiar surroundings as opposed to the foreign environment of the hospital, as well as cost. It’s usually a lot cheaper to have a child at home than in a hospital.  The Amish have 6-8 children on average,…

Explosive Growth, Part 2

“The only treasure we can take with us to heaven is our children.” This came from a mother of five in Holmes county, Ohio, but it could have been just about any Amish parent.  For the Amish, children are a blessing, not a burden.  Large Amish families are common. America has gone from being an agrarian to an industrial and now a post-industrial nation. We…

Getting off the Hedonic Treadmill, Part 1

Richard Easterlin, USC economics professor, writes in his “Building a Better Theory of Well-Being”: (deep breath) ‘…adaptation and social comparison affect utility more in pecuniary than nonpecuniary domains. The failure of individuals to anticipate that these influences disproportionately undermine utility in the pecuniary domain leads to an excessive allocation of time to pecuniary goals at the expense of nonpecuniary goals, such as family life and…

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31 Flavors of Amish

Most Amish look alike to the man on the street. In reality the group is surprisingly diverse. Though tied by a set of core beliefs, the Amish have no national governing body, no pope nor patriarch. The individual congregation, guided by its bishop, decides its own rules and customs. This decentralized approach, along with a widely varying tolerance for progressive ideas, creates many different ‘flavors’…