The Amish are the perfect example of simplicity. They do not drive cars, for our non-American friends, because they want to preserve their families. Cars will take them far away places, and the children will move off. A buggy forces them to buy local and to move at a slower pace.
In this new age where many American women work out of necessity and preference, things are neglected or have to be outsourced (cooked food, maid service, growing/canning vegetables, sewing curtains). We pay a premium for all of the outsourcing. Not just quality-wise do we lose, but money-wise we lose. We have lost the skills. Few my age know how to sew or can food. Without skill, we have self-esteem issues, ethical issues, and subpar products.
In the Amish community, the mother and father work until 40-50, then they take a backseat for their many grandchildren and children to run the farm/business. In our society, we work until 65+. Many cannot stop there. We don’t have the same connection to our kids the way the Amish do. The Amish would never think of putting their parents in a retirement home, for instance. The Amish can see their family every week at least (usually more), even when they do marry.
Perhaps the biggest problem with all of us working so much (men and women), is our footprint. In the ’40s, with just one person making an income, we could only buy so many clothes. We had one car. Now we have two SUVs, a room full of clothes, jewelry, bags, shoes. Fashion is the second biggest polluter of our environment, next to oil. We are accelerating this pollution with our greed and frenetic activity. As women, we work hard, just as we did in the ’40s, but we have more spending money; so we can say, I earned this. I went through these years of college, I wake up early every day, I deserve this $3,000 bag, airplane travel, wall-to-wall wardrobe, a maid, or an SUV. A lot of this is built on the backs of slave labor while ravaging the environment. Our ethics are gone. We don’t question and examine; we don’t know or help our neighbors. We cannot make or grow anything ourselves; and if we can, we do not. We CAN keep our careers while still having ethics, I argue. It just requires us to identify what is essential and what is not. What do we consume out of necessity and what out of pleasure? Then, does this even give pleasure, or more anxiety (technology, big wardrobes, large cars, debt)?
Maybe we could look past all this consumption, if it were making Americans happier, but it’s not. There is an emptiness to all of our luxury, convenience, and excess. We American women focus so much on our appearance and our careers, that we neglect our health, our environment, and our souls.
Here are the reasons why you can admire and love the Amish:
no makeup ($40 billion industry in the U.S.)
no jewelry (no supporting De Beers corruption, jewelry is another $40 billion industry)
no expensive wedding or wedding dress (average wedding in the U.S. is 25K)
focus on what really matters – family, health, community
ability to sew, cook, clean, can foods with ease
ability to woodwork, hunt, and barn raise with ease
no kids needing laptops, Kindles, video games – only simple presents
allowed to go to the library and read any book they want
zero involvement in politics
exempt from paying Social Security tax
no tobacco (tobacco costs U.S. taxpayers $133 billion)
no alcohol abuse (alcohol costs US taxpayers $225 billion)
minimal obesity 3% vs 31% (obesity costs US taxpayers $150+ billion)
25% of American women are using prescription medication, most psychiatric (prescription medication abuse is $72.5 billion to taxpayers – Amish abuse none)
no cars to pollute the earth
no divorce (divorce cost taxpayers $112 billion)
no internet bill, cell phone bill, mall bill
no electronics costs
no college costs (30K per kid for US parents, usually passed to their kids)
optional for women to wear bras and shoes, and shaving is also optional
zero pressure on girls to have sex before marriage
rich and poor live the same, dress the same (no competition)
no designated pastors, no corruption in the church
no retirement dependent on the stock market
Note: I could not find numbers on how much we Americans spend on cars, airplane travel, gasoline, furniture, and clothes, but Amish contribute minimally to these industries as well.
Many do have fridges and washing machines. Also, some use electricity in farming and woodworking. Most just do not use cars and computers/internet.
Mennonite are not Amish, and they do use all electricity. They also allow patterns in their clothes and bright colors. Amish generally only wear blue, black, green. and white.