The Amish feel the pressures of the modern world. Child labor laws, for example, are seriously threatening their long-established ways of life. Amish children are taught at an early age to work hard. Parents will supervise the children in new tasks, to ensure that they learn to do them effectively and safely. Amish parents have always made the decision as to when their children are competent to perform hazardous tasks, although some instances may now be in conflict with newer child labor laws.
Contrary to popular belief, some of the Amish vote, and they have been courted by national parties as potential swing voters: their pacifism and social conscience cause some of them to be drawn to left-of-center politics, while their generally conservative outlook causes others to favor the right wing.
They are nonresistant, and rarely defend themselves physically or even in court; in wartime, they take conscientious objector status. Their own folk-history contains tales of heroic nonresistance, such as the insistence of Jacob Hochstetler (1704-1775) that his sons stop shooting at hostile Indians, who proceeded to kill some of the family and take others captive. During World War I two young men held at Fort Leavenworth, known for its brutality against conscientious objectors, refused to wear prison uniforms because of the buttons. They were tortured by the guards held under cold showers until completely chilled, knocked down to the concrete floor and dragged by their hair and ears until they relented and put on the uniforms. During World War II the Amish entered Civilian Public Service.
Amish rely on their church and community for support, and thus reject the concept of insurance. An example of such support is barn raising, in which the entire community gathers together to build a barn in a single day. It means coming together to celebrate with family and friends.
There are only two kinds of people in northwestern...