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#1 2021-01-19 20:18:12

Перевод с английского

America’s Amish: the model society?

America’s Amish community lives a lifestyle that has changed little since the 18th century, but in other respect, they are showing other Americans the way forward in the twenty-first.

The roadsign is, to say the least, unexpected. Driving through a prosperous rural part of North America, the last thing you expect to see beside the highway is a yellow diamond roadsign with a horse and buggy in the middle! Watch out for horses and buggies on the road? Do they exercise racehorses here, or what?

You keep an eye open for horses, for two miles you see nothing, then all of a sudden, look! Coming towards you on the other side of the road, two black horse-drawn buggies! Are they making a movie about eighteenth century America? The men and the women in the buggy look like they jumped out of a novel by Fennimore Cooper. Then, another mile and things get even stranger. Beside a neat-looking farm-house, there is a whole line of buggies. In the door of the house half a dozen men in black coats are talking while some women dressed in a curiously ancient fashion are sitting on a bench. Is this 2020 or 1720?

You drive on, wondering what has happened to this part of the United States of America? Have you driven into a time-warp, and without realizing it, gone back 300 years, or is it the people you've just seen who're stuck in a time-warp?

A quick inquiry at the nearest gas station gives you the answer. You are in Amish country, and the men and women you have just seen are the Amish, part of a strange religious group that settled in America in the 18th century, and much of whose lifestyle has changed little since then.
If you had seen the movie "Witness", you would have already known something about the Amish, how their community is strictly religious and self-contained, how Amish people do without the essentials of modern-day life such as electricity and cars, and how they do not mix with people outside of their own community. It is virtually unheard of for anyone to become an Amish, who was not born an Amish. This is about all that most Americans know about Amish people, unless, that is, they actually live near them and come across them in daily life. So who are they?
In brief, the Amish are members of an ultra-protestant religious movement that first came to America from the upper Rhine valley over three hundred years ago, and have kept their traditions and lifestyles. They are very law-abiding citizens, and their community is one in which there is little crime, or at least little reported crime. Amish families are patriarchal and live strict lives, following the same code of morals as their ancestors. In a sense, they are indeed stuck in a time-warp.
Yet the most remarkable things to note about the Amish are not their quaint lifestyles and their home-made clothes,  but the expansion of their community,  its efficiency, its social cohesion, and their recent adoption of "green" technology, including wind-power and solar energy. Although they work the land using traditional horse-drawn machines, and use no chemical fertilizers, their agriculture is - interestingly - among the most productive in North America!
Contrary to popular belief, the Amish are not cut off from the rest of America; like any farmers, they need markets for their products and suppliers for their goods; some work for non-Amish employers. Many have non-Amish neighbors. They know what is going on in the rest of the United States, and like many other Americans, they are alarmed by many modern developments.



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