The Amish are better than you and me.
Because you and me—we need to have building and sanitary permits before doing major home construction or renovation work. The Amish in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin, argued in court last month that they don’t. In part, they object because they don’t like smoke detectors, which the county normally requires. Smoke detectors protect not only the occupants of their houses, but neighboring buildings and first responders as well. Apparently the Amish aren’t worried about fire.
Nor do the Amish want to have the sewer hookups the county requires for other, lesser houses. Connecting to the same sewer system that serves non-Amish residents is beneath them. Seems the Amish God insists instead on outhouses, without regard to their effect on non-Amish neighbors, on whose property the Amish feel free to dump their outhouse waste.
You and I have to pay a big chunk of the wages we earn into the Social Security trust fund to provide for America’s elderly and disabled. But the Amish are better than you and me, so they do not.
That same exemption was carried over to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. You and I are required to pay very large health insurance premiums, to avoid becoming emergency room charity cases. But the Amish are better than us, so they are exempt from Obamacare.
In both cases the Amish say they think insurance is a kind of gambling, of which they disapprove. Besides, they say, they take care of their own elderly and sick. In other words, their money is too precious to be squandered on the elderly and sick who happen to be non-Amish.
By the way, what happens to the Amish elderly and sick when their God experts decide that they aren’t Amish enough, perhaps because they don’t show enough deference to their unelected leaders? What happens is that they get “shunned” from the community, which among many other things means they don’t get taken care of anymore. They become, in other words, non-Amish untermenschen. Since these outcasts have never paid into Social Security and don’t have health insurance, they don’t have that to fall back on, either—which may help to explain why there are so few ex-Amish.
Amish buggies must be surrounded by some sort of holy magnetic shield that prevents cars from striking them. At least in Kentucky, where they need not have the reflective orange triangular-shaped safety symbol that other non-Amish slow-moving vehicles are required by law to display. That’s a great relief to the Amish, who insist that the triangular symbol somehow represents the Trinity, in which they do not believe.
Amish children, unlike yours and mine, are born with all the education they need. Therefore, they are exempt from state compulsory education laws that apply to us lesser beings. This exemption, approved by our Supreme Court, is critically important to the Amish. If their children were given the empowerment to choose freely what kind of life they wanted to live, it’s entirely possible that Amish backwardness wouldn’t have persisted for this many generations.
You and I belong to racial, ethnic, religious, or occupational groups that occasionally get portrayed in a negative light on television. We don’t have politicians standing up for us, demanding that any such portrayals be censored. That’s because we’re not as good as the Amish, who have nearly every major politician in eastern Pennsylvania up in arms over a Discovery Channel series called The Amish Mafia. I have never watched the show, so I have no idea how fair or unfair that portrayal is. I do know that the recent case about Amish beard-cutting thugs suggests that the Amish, though legally better than the rest of us, have not achieved angelic status yet. I also know that at every moment of every day some Christian broadcaster somewhere is saying the most frightful things about nonbelievers, and I have never heard any politician demanding to censor that kind of portrayal. Nor would I want them to. But then, I’m not Amish.