Mennonite-Amish Culture in the Pen-Mar Highlands, page 13
tenet. He derives his sustenance wholly from the land, and every kind and form of wealth that exists, or can exist, is producible only by the application of labor and capital to land; God made this arrangement. The more direct this mode of application, the better and simpler becomes the fulfillment of God's Will.
Artemus Ward said the trouble with Napoleon was that he tried to do too much and did it. Something like this may be the trouble with organized Christianity at large. The expectation it puts upon human nature may be a little excessive. The Amish strict avoidance of trying to do too much has a decided advantage in respect to conduct. No professional ministry—each male is expected to lead in simple worship. He is not paid a cent. If one wants to purify church and secular politics —begin by taking the money out of it.
Like Orthodox Jews and Catholics the Old Amish send their children to schools of their own to avoid contaminating contacts. They do not educate beyond the eighth grade in the belief that this compromises all the book learning that a good farmer needs.
They house themselves well and maintain neatness. There is no central heating plant. They use very little electricity—many not at all; no telephone, radio, television, no automobile. Experts with horse and buggy, most of them never get further away from home than the county seat. They wear always the same cut of clothes, fastened with hooks and eyes. They have excellent humor, fond of fun, extremely sociable and jolly.
It was a cheering and hope-inspiring experience to touch the fringes of a well-to-do, prosperous, hard-working society which does not believe in too much money, too much land, too much impedimenta, too much ease, comfort, schooling, mechanization, aimless movement, idle curiosity—which does not believe in too many labor-saving devices, gadgets and gimcracks; and which has the force of character fed and sustained by a type of religion which seems really designed to get results—the force of sterling character, I say, to keep itself well on the safe lee side of such excesses."12
Their culture does not require them to bore into the ground for minerals, or pierce remote space in search of new worlds. Their culture is exclusively that of the land.
In THE SATURDAY EVENING POST for August 11, 1962 there occurred two articles about food. One had to do with its scarcity in China; the other describing its abundance among the Pennsylvania Dutch. China has been known for its agrarian culture for thousands of
Felix G. Robinson
12 Cosmopolitan, November, 1962.
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Western Maryland, 1750-1963