Sunday, September 30, 2007


This Zook is a bit of a wanker, eh? found here

Whatever their faults and vices, the Amish communities have a
couple of enormous strengths it more worthy of study than

My contempt over forgiveness isn't about the Amish. It's appropriate that forgiveness was a part of the narrative for the Amish in response to the Nickel Mines tragedy. But their use of the word forgiveness was a poor choice to honor what their faith asks of them, not that it mattered for them. They knew what actions their faith expected of them, and they executed.
The issue is, why did the non-Amish community latch onto the word forgiveness, and attribute meaning to it without a rational examination of context, history, and whether it did justice to the intent of the user? What would have happened if the Grandfather who was asked if he had forgiven, would have first of all, chided the reporter for asking such a dramatic meaningless question? And then said; I hope, with Gods help to be able to honor what my faith asks of me, namely, to not engage in retribution or vengeance, but to act with kindness and grace towards others. I do not believe it is possible for me as a human being to fully implement this love, that was exemplified by my Lord, but none the less, I accept and embrace that I am called upon to try. As for forgiveness, If someday, my community and I can truely move beyond the hurt and loss which has been inflicted upon us, truely embrace each new day without our memories invoking pain, but only acceptance and grace, then we will be blessed beyond what I can even attempt to imagine right now. How can you taunt me of such an elusive and distant prospect in my moment of overwhelming pain and loss? (to borrow someone elses words) Have you no sense of shame? Have you no sense of decency?

Saturday, September 29, 2007


"The Happening, Nickel Mines School Tragedy" by Harvey Yoder

How did I know he was going to shoot? I just
felt it. That and because of all the racket outside,

We heard a pounding on the double doors in the back.
Something strong was being used! Would they rescue us?

Then the shooting started.

If a disturbed man with a gun has taken your child hostage, is this how you would want the police to respond? It's time for an independent review of this incident.


"The Happening" by Harvey Yoder is the most unadulterated writing on the Amish I have ever read. The beginning and the end have some mediocre to seriously problematic elements and the cover is kitsch. But, Wow! at some point the authenticity just screams off of the page and envelopes you. As you are pulled along, there is no point in which the writing becomes so obviously fake and contrived that your connection with the narrative is broken. I've never experienced that with writing about my people. I should be ambivalent about my joy in being an intimate confidant of Yoder's Huck Finn-esque portrayal of unspeakable horror, but I can't help myself. I've never felt so honored. Thank you.

More on the book and where to buy it

Friday, September 28, 2007


ER doctor reaches out to first responders
New Era Staff Writer

"There are still a lot of people hurting."


Troopers talk about horror of Amish school tragedy
By JANET KELLEY, Staff Lancaster New Era

"I can say 100 percent, absolutely, that I stand by the way we
handled the incident," Hegarty said, his jaws clenched. "I just wish we could
have saved all 10."

If the Troopers that were at the scene are the only ones evaluating this, we've already gone over the edge.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


You heard it here first, will Mr. Preemption chill with the "love your enemy" peeps, next week when he he comes to town?


Anniversary a painful reminder for Nickel Mines
By JACK BRUBAKER, Staff Lancaster

After instantly forgiving Roberts — and stunning a world more accustomed to
a vengeful response — the Amish attended Roberts' funeral

Repeat something often enough and eventually it becomes reality... Right?

The Amish immediately forgave a man who shot 10 of their children in the
head, killing five, before he killed himself nearly a year ago.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Some thoughts on the use of the word forgive by the Amish in response to the Nickel Mines school shooting.

What if the Amish just screwed up in their choice and use of words? It's not unfathomable, after all this was an extremely unusual event, and they don't cultivate a definitive use of language in the way western culture does, especially in defining their faith. Their authoritarian nature doesn't lend itself to debate or precise examinations of language for rhetorical purposes.

So lets examine each reported incidence of the use of the word forgiveness.

1. The State Police Chaplain has said that, upon meeting an Amish elder in the school yard, presumably within several hours of the shooting, possibly within minutes, the first words out of the elders mouth were, "we forgive him". Is it possible to respect where he was coming from without attributing to much meaning or weight to the statement? First of all he was reacting to an unimaginable situation. His words were potentially more about connecting with another human being (the chaplain) than they were truly definitive of what he and his congregants had done or were going to do. While I trust that, his intent to convey what his faith demands of him was sincere, his choice of words lacked the sophistication needed to do his intent justice. Using the word we in this instance to inform what had already been achieved is irreconcilable.

2. The media reported members of the Amish community expressing forgiveness to the Roberts family within hours of the shooting. What were they forgiving? My authentic Amish instinct immediately flagged this one. I could easily envision someone from the community reaching out to the Roberts family, but the language was suspect. I even got into a hissy fit with WGAL over whether that word had actually been used, they claimed their reporters cross reference their stories, bla bla bla, I still don't believe them. Especially not after they told me their reporter had interviewed a Grandfather of one of the victims and he used the word forgive, when in fact, it was the reporter that interjected it into the interview.

3. So there you have it, a couple bumbling references to forgiveness and the God damned fucking press has a story. There are no words in the English language to discribe how inhumane it was for that reporter to ask that Grandfather what she did in the way she did, and the whole fucking world was so impressed. Well if that's your idea of inspiration, you can all go fuck yourselves. How dare you? How fucking dare you, take someone in his situation and ask if he has forgiven? Do you believe, in that sick deranged mind of yours, that what he is going to say, means anything at all?

Sunday, September 23, 2007


from the Sunday news

Amish grace
A book takes a behind-the-scenes look at Nickel Mines tragedy a
year later and the soul-searching it took for a people to forgive what seems

By JON RUTTER, Staff writer Sunday News

Published this month by Jossey-Bass, "Amish Grace: How Forgiveness
Transcended Tragedy" is both lyrical and empirical in its

Empirical my rear end! None of the statements of forgiveness made by the Amish has been given the barest minimum of rational review. Ie; when was it said, what was the context in which it was said, who said it, and what is the historical context that influenced the speakers use of the word. It's not surprising that the Amish used the word, but the association and meaning the non-Amish community attributes to that use, is demeaning, abusive, and farcical.

Their gentle response to unprecedented carnage was thus sincere and
instinctive, said Kraybill, an Elizabethtown College sociology professor and
nationally known expert on the Amish.

Why doesn't Kraybill talk about how the Amish response is inherently and inextricably intertwined with their co-dependent relationship with the protective authority of the U.S. Government. How would we view their passivity in the absence of that protection, Ie; If Roberts were to come back the next day and the next day, and the next day, and repeat what he did on the first day, and they would still just forgive him, would we still be impressed?

Amish people believe in justice and punishment but reserve the
authority to discipline their own wayward church members, the authors write:

This is incoherent gibberish, something one might expect from myself. What the hell are they saying?

What would have happened if George Bush had been Amish?" The
question is simplistic, Nolt asserted. "If George Bush had been Amish, he
wouldn't have been president."

The relevant question is; How can supporters of our President's policy of preemption look upon Amish forgiveness with anything other than disgust and disdain?

But it does provide a vantage point from which to view modern culture
and to ponder changing it for the better

As I've posted before; modern culture is worth trying to improve, the Amish? "fa get a bout it" they're on their own.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


From the AP

Amish School Boys Struggle With Memories

The story of forgiveness inspired people around the world, but the
book describes a process that was not as simple as it may have

Who in their bleeping right minds would have made this seem simple in the first place? I don't think it was the Amish.


The lack of public dialogue over the police response to the Nickel Mines school shooting, suggests we are willing to allow the police to determine the narrative that evolves from this incident. It is possible to honor their heroic efforts, and at the same time question the policy and protocol which they were enacting. In fact it is our duty as citizens to do so. If we don't question the narrative fed to us by our civic authorities, we run the risk of being manipulated for their gain, instead of being served by them. If they (the police) don't have to explain, defend, and justify, the effect of their actions, on one group of people (the Amish), does anyone think for a minute that they won't try to act with imperialistic impunity towards another group?
Who is next? There is a famous quote that goes like this, "once there is no one else left, they will come for you".

Friday, September 21, 2007


From the Intell

Troopers credited with heroism
BY MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press

The narrative here is the heroism of the Troopers, and rightfully so. But my question is, what would have happened if the police would have stayed back further on their initial approach? I asked this of a Trooper at a forum on the Nickel Mines shooting at Etown college. His response was that, "they didn't go in soon enough". This avoids the question. What if the police presence was the catalyst Roberts needed to be able to kill an innocent child? After all, if he was a deranged killer, why didn't he just open fire upon entering the school? If his goal was to molest little Amish girls, he picked a dumb way to do it. He was familiar with the Amish peoples' routines and habits through his work. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that molestation wasn't his main priority. So what was? I would say, a confrontation with the police is a reasonable assumption of what his objective was.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

WHAT? WHO? **%$##*????


Sheriff Defends Armed Escort At Amish Community

The Jefferson County sheriff said he and his deputies received several
death threats from an Amish bishop with regard to a child custody dispute,
prompting him to have the regional SWAT team on standby Tuesday.


If someone wrote a play about a current issue affecting Amish life, what would it be about? What if it were a comedy? It could be about a pacifist group that voted for a war monger. (if you don't laugh you're going to have to cry). Or how about this group that loved their kids so much they lobbied their government for an exemption from child labor laws, so their kids could participate in a dangerous work environment. Nah, that's not funny. What about this group that sizzled with entrepreneurial vitality, they bred and raised sickly house pets, causing an entire movement to organize just to rescue the feeble animals. (cymbal crash) Sh*t, you couldn't make this stuff up if you tried!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


If the Amish are such astute business people as Kraybill says they are, why don't they employ "the customer is always right philosophy" in regards to their puppy mill problem? It's true that they are farmers and dogs are animals but there is no way they're going to win this one. Their only recourse on this is to comply with a standard of care and conditions that are beyond reproach.
The only question is, why haven't they done it yet? My answer is, because they aren't the close knit community they used to be. Individualism and greed is what's stopping them from solving this. If they approached it the way they approach a barn raising they could kick this thing in no time.

uh this isn't going to make it any easier
from a forum in topix

An Amish man was beating the horse’s hindquarters forcefully with a
large object like a pipe or something like it

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


There are three informative articles on Amish farmers and the economic pressures they face in the New Era. here, here, and here.

The collective revelation from these articles is the focus and the intensity the Amish are willing to bring to bear on being successful as farmers. I would compare it to an Olympic athlete, or a Rhodes Scholar, only it's executed by families that include young children. The most significant issue here, other than the way the children are involved, is that the effect of this will be to introduce classism among the Amish. Just like an Olympic athlete, only a few will be able to perform at the level required, and since farming is a revered endeavor, those few will garner a status untouchable by non-farming folk.

As for the involvement of young children, everything will be fine for the strong and well adjusted. But what happens when a half a million dollar investment is on the line? Is there room for anything other than flawless execution?

Monday, September 17, 2007



Amish civic involvement grows with urban sprawl
Associated Press - September 17, 2007

Separate and apart just ain't what it used to be

Sunday, September 16, 2007


From the Sunday News

Nickel Mines legacy, a year later
Future historians are going to have a field day over our fascination of Amish forgiveness, juxtaposed with our foreign policy that touts preemption.

Making a big deal out of the Amish response to the Nickel Mines tragedy is demeaning of Amish faith. It is the antithesis of the very core of their faith to spotlight whether they have forgiven Roberts. The practice of their faith didn't begin with Roberts and it doesn't end with Roberts. It's about salvation for them and from their perspective, betraying what their faith calls them to, is every bit as possible over some petty incident as it may be in a horrific one like the school shooting. While the shooting was a monstrous and cataclysmic event, forgiving a killer isn't the quintessential definition of Amish faith,in spite of how much we may want it to be so.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


via Religion News Service

Growth of Evangelicals Has Some Amish Leaders


About 35 to 60 families, the equivalent of two church districts,
have left or are considering leaving the Old Order, according to a number of
estimates. And because bishops traditionally "clean house" of strident members
ahead of twice-yearly communion services, as many as 12 more excommunications
could be coming, said one Amish man familiar with the situation.

Here's another news org giving these guys coverage and legitimacy

from an earlier post

The local paper has repeatedly reported on three young Amish families who recently left the Amish church. The coverage referred to their efforts to evangelize the Old Order community they had just been expelled from. Contention over religious purity from people leaving the Amish church is common. What is unusual is the grandiose intent of this groups effort. They are holding an event called, "The Glory Barn", basically a revival meeting that is running non-stop 24\7, for fifty days from Easter to Pentecost. A mission statement on their web site envisions bringing a purer form of Christianity to all the Amish in the U.S. and the accompanying request for funds to enable them to personally fulfill that mission.Also promoted on the web site is their intent to promote emotional and spiritual healing. What bothers me is, being ex-amish myself, I am aware of allegations that this group mistreated an Amish relative of mine whom they were trying to minister to. I contacted one of her siblings to ask if he would confirm the allegations. He strictly adhered to Amish custom of refusing to speak ill of others. I tried to explain the legitimacy of public interest in knowing the track record of a group who was garnering news coverage and publicly asking for support for a mission in which more innocent people would be entrusted to their care and influence. He proved himself a loyal Amish man but not a good defense attorney, by informing me that the family had an agreement with the health care provider, that assessed his sister after her stay with the "Glory Barn" folks, to not report her condition to authorities.So I called the editor of the paper that ran the Glory Barn story, he informed me they were aware of the allegations. I wonder if he would take the same approach if his paper were covering a group of Pagans under similar circumstances. Given the popularity of fundamentalist Christianity in conservative circles in Lancaster, ( which is the purer version the Glory Barn participants want to convert all the Amish to.) this situation doesn't pass the smell test.


Stevick writes of her Christian faith in "Beyond the Plain and Simple". (P. 120) I wonder how she reconciles her cozy fraternization with Amish leadership in her writings, versus her Lord's relationship with the religious elite of his time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


All societies have an Achilles' heel. Only the societies who face theirs can avoid being crippled by it. If Kraybill and Stevick cared about the Amish in the way they care about their own culture, then they would be willing to help the Amish see their Achille's heel. If they're not willing to do that, their work just exploits the Amish.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


On one year anniversary of Nickel Mine shooting, Amish girls'
parents talk of loss, faith, survival

By CINDY STAUFFER and AD CRABLE, Staff Lancaster New

There can be a temptation to wonder, "Why our child, why us?" a
father says.But he adds, "We're not better than anybody else. Why couldn't it
happen to us?"The families readily say they are still learning about
forgiveness. The families' grace towards Roberts and his family in the
weeks after the murders stunned the world.In fact, some people told the families
they could never forgive Roberts if they were in the families' shoes.That was
hard to understand, one mother says, adding the Amish don't fully grasp the
grudges that some folks hold toward others. The families say they didn't make a
sudden decision to forgive Roberts. The notion already was in their hearts,
nurtured by their belief that as Jesus forgives them, so must they forgive
others.It has not always been easy. There have been times they even struggled
with their faith."You have to have a will to forgive," one mother says. "You
have to want to forgive and that's the first step."A father says that as they
"released" Roberts, they released themselves from anger and from
bitterness. But not from pain.His wife says quietly, "Just because you've
forgiven doesn't mean you've forgotten, and that it doesn't

This is a humane portrayal of Amish forgiveness. Thank You.

Once more

Nickel Mines Accountability Committee releases report Committee
says 1/3 of $4.3M spent on victims By STAFF REPORT Lancaster New

The forgiveness extended by the Amish community to the Roberts
family was noted around the world. The Amish did not wish such publicity for
doing what Jesus taught and want to make sure that glory is given to God for
that witness. Many from Nickel Mines have pointed out that forgiveness is a
journey, that you need help from your community of faith and from God, and
sometimes even from counselors, to make and hold on to a decision to not become
a hostage to hostility. It is understood that hostility destroys

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Here's Pauline Stevick in the introduction of "Beyond the Plain and Simple".

Finally, through some unusual circumstances, he was
introduced to a prominent member of the local Amish community, who then
introduced him to some of his friends. When his association with these Amish
people became more widely known, other Amish persons assumed that he was
trustworthy, and one friendship led to another. This is typical. If an English
person gains the confidence of leaders in the community, doors will
open-literally- in other settlements as well.

Do I need to say anything more about whether Stevick is also, just a mouth-piece for the Amish leaders?

She ends the introduction with humble-pie gibberish about "seeing through a glass darkly", but that doesn't stop her from writing page after page after page of intimate articulate details that show the Amish in a positive light. Then she feigns objectivity with a one sentence mention of somthing that might not be all peaches and cream, but dosen't elaborate at all.

Monday, September 10, 2007


From this mornings's Intell

Prohibition does not work; To the Editor by Robert E Field

Bob Herbert's
column, "Vegas and the exploitation of women" (Intell, Sept. 6), correctly
describes the atrocities resulting from illegal prostitution but fails to
identify the core cause:

Open debate, freedom of speech, the average person voicing their opinion. Try living without it, or at least have the decency to not glorify a people who do.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


From Nickel Mines to Va. Tech

These were strange people. We had never met them before. Still, we
had the same experiences. We could feel for each other," recalls a father who
lost two children in the Nickel Mines shootings

In her book "Kitchen Table Wisdom" Rachel Naomi Remen writes (p. 156) of a man she calls Yitzak who struggled to accept comfort and support from strangers. Upon hearing that things were improving for Yitzak because of a conversation he had with God, Naomi asked Yitzak what God had to say. Yitzak reported, "I say to Him (God, is it okay to luff strangers?) And God says, (Yitzak, vat is dis strangers? You make strangers. I don't make strangers.)"

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Check out Bob Herbert from the New York Times in this morning's Intelligencer Journal.

Vegas and the exploitation of women

Then imagine a world bereft of such a sober unflinching assessment of its' problems. That's the world I lived in for most of my life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


There's a blood, sweat, and tears need to put the Amish, non-Amish relationship into context. High-light the problem areas. Someone who knows what they're talking about. A really good work on this could be a Nobel Prize nominee, Maybe even a winner. Anybody?........ Nobody? Nothing........


Questions raised about Amish couple
Thursday, July 26, 2007 - Bangor Daily

CORINNA, Maine - A story featured on the front page of
Wednesday’s Bangor Daily News about an Amish couple’s cross-country trip to
Maine has raised some questions and concerns among readers.
Since the article
appeared, the BDN received calls not only from people wanting to help the
middle-aged couple, but also from some who claimed to have been taken advantage
of. And a Tennessee sheriff reported that Danl and Ruanna Yoder had used several
aliases along their journey.
"They aren’t any more Amish than I am," Ginger
Heath of Sherman said Wednesday. "They’re more like gypsies."

A couple rotten apples will ruin the whole barrel.


From a forum in Topix
I saw an Amish elder, fat from eating and nearly popping out
of his suspenders in the store. He stops in every sunday, and parks on the side
where his wife and children cannot see into the store. He stands over the trash
can, drinking coffee and stuffing the tastycakes in his mouth, poking them in
with his finger while it rains wrappers into the can. He then cleans his hands
and rounds the corner empty handed , where his wife and children are

Im sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner while choking on
the deisel fumes which the Amish guy next door has been pumping into our windows
for 2 years now. I hear a phone ringing with a triple ring, that would be the
identa-ring number to his fax machine, tied to an obnoxious outdoor ringer.

Today is a national holiday, yet I have a headache from the Amish
deisel generators which woke me up when they started this morning. I hear
tractor trailers blowing thier horns at 6:00 am trying to get the fat bastard to
come out of his shop. They burn plastic in piles, releasing large clouds of
toxic fumes. I guess this is thier idea of respecting the neighbors and living
by the set of rules wich they set forth for themselves.

This may not be representative of non-Amish people's sentiment towards their Amish neighbors, but if this discription is accurate and true, "uh, Houston we've got a problem"

Monday, September 3, 2007


From the Grand Rapids Press

'Mark of the Beast' drives away Amish
Sunday, August 19, 2007
By Pat Shellenbarger

All over Michigan, Amish farmers are resisting the state program
requiring that all cattle be tagged with the electronic chips before they can be
sold. Some say they will quit farming if it comes to it. Some say they will
leave the state.

A Supreme Court decision here, an exemption there. la-de-da


From the Altoona Mirror

Residents complain of Amish noise
By Phil Ray
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Several Tyrone Township residents
want a Blair County judge to order their Amish neighbors to stop making so much

Uh, just one of those things, that uh, you know, we'll have to figure out, one way or another.


I believe the decision in Wisconsin Vs. Yoder that relieved the Amish of compulsory education requirements, will come to be seen as harmful rather than helpful for the Amish. It has exponentially enabled their isolationist leanings. So now, when our differences need a solution, the chasm is much bigger. A Supreme Court decision also lends itself to be seen as Holy writ, thus lulling us into believing, a just decision equals a positive effect. Our differences can be a positive thing, but I guarantee they won't be easy.

What's galling, is all the current gushing about the Amish on one subject or another, when I know damn well that when push comes to shove over our differences, the Amish are going to get thrown under the wagon, faster than you can say "snitz pie".

Sunday, September 2, 2007



Community Problems

Reported by: Dan Wells
Aug 28, 2007 @05:46pm EST
Residents in Rockdale Township say escalating
trouble in the Amish community maybe pushing many to leave the area. In recent
weeks...there's been a lot of talk about convicted killer, Ed Gingerich playing
pranks on fellow members of the Amish aimed to divide the community."Gingerich
went to a new religion of Amish and they're old style and he trying to convert
them. " - Dan Anthony, Lives on Dean Road - Rockdale Twp.
We're told the pranks include scarring small Amish children, releasing livestock
and more...

In 1994, Gingerich was
convicted of murdering his wife in front of their children he was found
guilty of involuntary manslaughter but mentally ill and served

probably 25 percent of the
established Amish who have been here for 15 to 20 years have now moved to
Shenango, New York and bought new farms. " - Bob Marzka, Rockdale Township
Supervisor"this whole community is moving to New York by next year they will be
gone...Because of concerns of Ed...yep." - Dan Anthony, Lives on Dean Road -
Rockdale Twp.

Moving to another community is a coping mechanism, for unresolvable problems for the Amish. This is an example that shows how the Amish have removed themselves from the larger culture in a way that is detrimental. There has to be a better way to respond to this situation, other than up- rooting the entire settlement.


From the Meadville Tribune

Trial of three Gingerich brothers moved to November term09/01/07 —

The trial of three Amish brothers, charged with conspiring to conceal the
whereabouts of a child, and other related charges, has been continued from the
September term of criminal court to the November term.

Atlee D. Gingerich, Edward Gingerich and Joseph Gingerich were
charged by Pennsylvania State Police following an incident in April when
Edward’s 17-year-old daughter was allegedly coerced into going with her father
against her will.

Pennsylvania State Police filed charges after Edward Gingerich
allegedly coerced Mary Gingerich to leave her grandparents’ home with him. Her
grandparents reported the teen missing; state police found the girl with her
father at a camp in the Allegheny Mountains near Kane on April 22 and returned
Mary to her grandparents.
Mary Gingerich has lived with her grandparents
since her father killed his wife, Katie, in 1993 at their Rockdale Township
home. Gingerich was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but mentally ill, in
1994 and served five years and one day for that charge. He had been living out
of state until his return to the Amish community in Rockdale

Five years and one day! What the hell happened there?
Does anyone know whether this sentence was in line with say, a non-Amish defendant under similar circumstances?


I watched the "Nanny Diaries" this afternoon and realized that the movie illustrates what pisses me off about Kraybills' detached observer role. Throughout the movie Scarlett Johansson's character Annie (yea, so I drooled a bit.) makes anthropological comments in reference to other characters in the movie. But in the end, she steps out of her observer role and speaks directly to the other characters about what she has observed, thus creating change that couldn't have happened had she remained aloof and detached.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Anonymous said...
In this segment of writing, I have to
disagree. I don't see Dr. Kraybill as making a statement about whether this is a
good thing or a bad thing - he seems to be pointing to the reason, he believes,
the Amish successfully reap "compliant (read submissive) adults".

Here's Kraybill in the preface of "The Riddle of Amish Culture"

the following pages are both a venture in cultural analysis, that is ,
an attempt to understand the dynamics of Amish society, and an exercise in
social criticism- a reflective critique of contemporary culture

Note, that he only seeks to understand Amish society, but he is willing to critique contemporary culture. He not only, does the Amish a tragic disservice by only trying to understand them. But in his failure to extend to them, what all societies need, (namely honest and fair critique) he implies that they are unworthy, or not equal, (like laboratory mice) important only in relation to their usefulness in improving us.