The Amish Got It Right

Photo courtesy of www.rlrouse.com

Imagine the opportunity to divorce yourself from what we (non-Amish) consider social norms, vices and hardships. Think about a life in which you work hard daily, eat well, enjoy relatively good health, worship God, create a unique bond with the community, and spend more time with your family.

Is there any more reasons needed as to why the Amish are so appealing?

Aside from their tiny section of America being a large tourist enclave, the Amish enjoy what most of us only dream about. This small and diverse group represents a population of roughly 300,000 in North America; with 63 percent of those living in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Remarkably, the Amish world is growing at a pace not seen in other religious sects; an increase of nearly 10,000 since 2014. While much of this growth appears to be from within, there remains a significant number of non-Amish converts. Given their stance with telephone and technology systems, it has been difficult to track the accurate number of those living among the Amish who previously didn’t belong.

But there is something very intriguing about the number of people who desire to (and successfully) convert.

Having visited Amish country in Ohio, I can tell you first-hand that there is a peace found among the dwellers that simply does not exist in my normal daily routine of life. While I confess it would be hard to give up what we value in our world, I also believe the plain and spiritual-centered life eventually encapsulates the individual with true meaning. As I have examined the Amish community more extensively, the two biggest areas of interest I found myself drawn to is their take on health(care) and government.

In order to put this in it’s proper context, we have to first understand that the “Plain People” have become reliably entrepreneurial. Actually, many have become prolific business owners that have reached well beyond their small community borders. It isn’t hard to find Amish made furniture, hand-made goods and food in just about every corner of America. And even though the Amish do not currently pay into Social Security, they do pay their taxes; sometimes more than the “English” are forced to. The Amish also exempt themselves from forced military participation (non-aggression principle) as well as service in law enforcement and politics. The latter does come with a caveat however; the Amish often participate in voting, especially on the local level as many of those issues are critical to their survival. Politically speaking, the Amish appear (on the surface at least) to be rooted in libertarian philosophy regarding the economy and government. Many would argue the Amish go out of their way to avoid government because they feel (as do most of us in the English world) that when government is involved so comes a lot of rules, regulations and stipulations.

Because the Amish rely so heavily on social contracts during their day-to-day activities and self-governance, the government doesn’t seem to have a place at the table. And it has been this way since their arrival in America.

Keeping with the theme of non-intervention, the Amish have a healthcare system many of our elected aristocrats should pay attention to. They do not rely on health insurance and do not take a focus on preventive measures which has been discovered to be a waste of taxpayer money.

From a faith-based concept, the Amish believe God will heal their ailments which is a large belief among all Christian denominations as well as Catholics. In fact, the Bible speaks specifically about the healing power of prayer.

James 5:14 — “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
Psalm 30:2 — LORD, my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
Psalm 147:3 — He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Jeremiah 17:14 — Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
Matthew 9:35 — Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

These religiously-grounded people are strict in the adherence to their Christian belief; they do not believe in birth control or immunizations, yet remain some of the healthiest groups of people on the planet. They also rely heavily on home-grown remedies, alternative medicine and faith. Think for a minute every time you watch a commercial for a brand new prescription drug medication. Do you notice how many side effects come with taking the drug? Now take a look around at your family members and friends and count how many take multiple drugs a day. It is amazing how many medicine cabinets around this country look like a miniature pharmacy. Also, think about all of the preventive measures we are supposed to take that basically amount to nothing other than costing billions in healthcare bills a year. In fact, many medical professionals have realized the rare benefit of this practice and are now among a large (and growing) community taking a stand against annual checkups.

Now take a guess as to which community has been engaged in the practice of not seeing a doctor for everything? Yep, you got it! Because of Obamacare, many Americans are now using an ER visit as their primary source of medical checkups which is costing billions more. The Amish know better and remain in good health while being exempt from the (not)Affordable Care Act; insuring themselves through discount programs and church funding.

For generations, the Amish have been putting on a display right in front of us on how we do not need government intervention to remain in good health, open a business, practice faith, pay taxes and remain good stewards of our communities. While I understand there are certainly differences in Christian doctrine, I do believe we can all learn from how they successfully manage their community from a religious direction. It has been working for them for well over 230 years.

Those of us who strongly believe in limited government should be taking some lessons from the Amish.

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