Monday, March 22, 2010

Are the Amish a dying culture?

Using the methods and standards of anthropology, how would the Amish hold up when compared to societies that are considered to be in decline? Are they preserving their language? I would say they aren't. Are they telling their own story? Again, my judgement says they aren't. Can they as a society respond to the issues and challenges that they face? I would again say they're failing in that regard.

There isn't an Amish entity that is minding the store with regards to language. For example there isn't an Amish word for computer. They just use the English term. No one is keeping an eye on usage and regional differences when compared to the process that occurs with the English language. Precise definitions aren't being honed and preserved. What happens is that the language becomes very passive.

I would venture that 95% of the writing done on the Amish is done by non-Amish authors and that writing ends up being more about the authors own culture rather than about the Amish. This results in the Amish identity being defined by someone else.

Amish faith teaches that they're supposed to see themselves as being like "strangers in a foreign land" with regards to their relationship with their host society. The issue of puppy mills and the way the Amish handle it is such a grotesque violation of what their faith asks of them in this case, that I would conclude that they're unable to govern themselves in such a way as to live up to their own values. The Amish can dictate the most minute detail of their adherents lives and yet in this case they're impotent to effect a solution. Usually the Amish try to fly under the radar of any controversy unless it directly effects their religious convictions. Just what in gods name do puppy mills have to do with their faith?

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