These two humans look amish, but I’m guessing they’re part of a traveling cast on account of their highly well-formed faces and the garishly painted bus behind them.
Amish people do all sorts of things well: breed, grow vegetables, raise barns, apply well-built roofs to secular homes for a fraction of the cost, etc etc.
But I have been experiencing some anxiety over them of late.
We go to this farmer’s market on Saturday Mornings where there are a number of Amish vendors. They have produce and baked goods and cheese and raw milk and really everything. We often buy tomatoes, peppers, squash/zucchini, onions, garlic, and all sorts of other stuff.
Recently, I’ve felt a strong impulse to boycott the Amish stands (which is insane, I know), and the answer about why came to me this past Saturday when we were at the market, and there were almost exclusively deformed Amish with evident issues of delayed development. The young girl, probably between 13 and 15, who sold me the $6.00 pound of homemade butter (that is neon yellow, by the way) could barely count, make a fist, or focus her eyes. She was all but drooling.
Clearly there’s inbreeding.
Amish people deny the importance of education, their children being lucky to get to the equivalent of an 8th grade education. There’s an extent (I think depending on the sect of Amish?) to which modern medical intervention is eschewed, which doesn’t offend me terribly, I myself believe that the minimum of medical intervention is probably always for the best, but the thing that bugs me is that the Amish are essentially imprisoning their own.
They have that thing where the youth can choose to leave, but unless the youth is exceptional—but the odds are stacked against him since his cousin is probably his mother, and he barely has an education at all, and any medical intervention for any genetic abnormality he possesses has been denied, so he may also have an abnormally large left side of his mouth, or be blind in one eye or something—he is probably going to prefer to return to the tender womb of his Amish brothers and sisters, and their increasingly genetically inferior kin.
The thing that makes me really embarrassed to be so bothered by this is that I think that people should be allowed to do whatever they want. I am highly permissive toward others’ beliefs and desires and intentions. I want people to do what makes them happy, so long as they’re not hurting anybody else.
But there’s the thing: when I buy their produce, I’m enabling them to continue in their mistreatment of young people, in their haughty, traditionalist points of view and beliefs and faiths that–since their education is so minimal–they can probably barely articulate.
And the Amish are not required to follow the same rules that I am required to follow under the rationale of public safety (i.e., I MUST vaccinate my child if I want her to go to public school), so if, by some miracle of little-g-god, one of these young Amish do join the secular world, and they get Polio or Mumps or Measles or something, well, I mean, as much as I would prefer those rules not be in place for anybody, how is it reasonable for the Amish to take these risks that I’m not legally permitted to take? Secular people are discouraged from engaging in sexual congress with family members, and the offspring of such unholy unions are generally removed from the offending parent’s custody.
I mean, normally when I see a disabled kid, I feel love for the parent (for being a parent of a disabled kid), and pity, and pride. When I see the deformed Amish, I am angry at the parents.
So somebody set me straight. Somebody who knows more of the Amish than I. I’m being ridiculous, right? The Amish are financially successful, and their people are hale and hearty and contributing to the economy, right?