The Amish

With the Amish in the news, I was thinking how odd it is that they have such a generally positive image. These people are religious extremists who define themselves by ignorance and dogma, who oppose art and science, who treat women as second-class citizens, and won’t even talk to their own family members if they have lost their faith.

They’re a non-violent version of the Taleban; and while I appreciate that the ‘non-violent’ part of that phrase is very important, I’m not sure it makes up for everything else. And yet somehow they are widely admired. Because they’re quaint? Because people are vaguely glad that someone else is living according to an obsessively strict and arbitrary moral code, even though they wouldn’t want to live to it themselves?