[Homestead] was It's almost over, now wending to Amish response to aggression
indexer at fairpoint.net
Thu Dec 4 14:37:23 EST 2008
> ....Part of what you, SJ, are saying illustrates my point, that those who
> don't fight, die. Like you say, whole cultures, whole groups of people
> are gone............ In the right environment, a peaceful group
> can survive for a time....
Bev, I don't think any of us are trying to say humans don't war more
than is good for them, or that any given population is not capable of
warring. The point I was trying to make is that since there have been,
and are, large groups of people who have existed for hundreds, and in
some cases, thousands of years, without warring, it seems to me that the
urge to war isn't actually inherent in the species, otherwise it
wouldn't be so 'easy' to overide. That's certainly not to say that
some groups don't have such a propensity, but rather that I don't see
how it could be a species-wide trait, since so many have not exhibited it.
To me it's sort like saying "canines are a ratcatching species." Well,
most terriers and a lot of other canines will do themselves in to get a
rat, but I've seen plenty of canines shy away from or even run from
one. So while a terrier likely cannot ignore the rat and would happily
take a half day tearing the drywall off to get to one, a ShihTzh would
be likely to look, yawn and go back to sleep..
> I think the Mennonites/Anabaptists/Amish are an
> example of a peaceful group that is not wiped out because it exists
> within an insulated environment in a country where they have
> constitutional protection. Inside of the USA might be the only place in
> the world where such a group can survive.
This is oft-stated as a "fact". However, they do not see it so. They
have moved away from aggressors so many times that they see themselves
as a people on the move. In this country, beginning in the late
sixties, and accelerating through the seventiess and continuing now is a
large migration of Amish and conservative Mennonites to Central America,
particularly Belize, where they are currently courted by the government
(don't have to have photo ids, their farming methods are advanced, and
attainable, compared to local historical methods, they provide no drain
on the educational system, etc). Here they have been badgered (over
schooling, social security, plenty) in many places until it's actually
embarrassing, at least to me, to think that my country behaves so. They
are, from their point of view, being forced out. There is a bizarre
case in Michigan right now where somebody actually got some kind of
'permission' to bring a suit against somebody/some situation (runs in my
mind it's some GE corn fiasco), not something usually accommodated, in
fact it's normally forbidden, so there's another group that will
probably be on the move soon. There are large migrations into Brazil,
the first of those having gone from Germany/WWII, but many have gone
from here in the past few years; Paraguay also has large new
populations, some from the Ukraine, where pressures are heating up
again, but more from here. Maybe they and George W will end up
neighbors :-D .... The only real change I see this time is that they
seem to be changing from using the word Amish in their official names.
I recently asked a relative headed for Belize about this name business
and his statement was that if they use "Amish" in the name, they are
automatically perceived as rich (monetarily) and therefore felt like
they provided a more visible target for thieves, interestingly he said
"thieves, government or otherwise". I would hazard a guess, albeit
only a guess, that it makes the counting a little more difficult, too,
as they often make themselves difficult to quantify: easier to stay
under the radar to be left alone.
From our (world) point of view, all this moving looks like is that they
are going from the frying pan to the fire, but from their point of view,
it's the frying pan until it tips over, then a new frying pan......all
of this is to them simply the way it has been since the followers of
Zwingli were forced to meet in barns and caves in the 1500s: the norm.
And a large population survived at several places in the the former
USSR, even though it was thought at one time that they had all migrated
to the Canadian provinces.....the rest made it through the next 70 years
by going underground and sticking it out; the Mennonite-at-large group
has been astounded at how many are cropping up there, just now nervy
enough to come out of their remote areas....scary. But survive they
did, even though they 'missed the boat', migration-wise.
> Zapotec and Tahitians non-violent??? Didn't they practice human
> sacrifice? Dance with spears in martial arts like dances? Was that
> just the Maori, or am I confused?
> I don't know who the Ladahki are, and I can't research it now, sorry.
Many groups have violence in their makeup one way or another, but they
have not all been groups given to warring with another population. To
me, violence in the individual or expressed in ritual ways does not
equate a war. A war, to me, indicates an entire group intent on
deliberate, destructive violence. Many of the things I think of as
violent have long history (I think of infanticide first), but not
necessarily as a way to war: much infanticide has been targeted at
survival (too many mouths), or power (producing girls in some societies
was 'bad' and lowered status), or as I mentioned the other day, even a
way to deprive a population of warriors to prevent ongoing or future
wars. So violence per se does not maybe equate to war, albeit they at
times are equals.
>> Many of the old matriarchial societies practiced peaceful existence
>> and searched for peaceful solutions.
> Like I said in my original post, no one wants war or conflict.
To me this doesn't 'gel' with the statement 'we are a warring species'
if we are a warring species, we'd have no choice; it would be innately
> people will always look for peaceful solutions, but in the end, to put
> down the evilbadguy, they will fight or they will die. I don't think
> there is a culture/human group on Earth that would not fight to survive.
> If tomorrow some group or the other started in the East and started the
> equivalent of a Viking raid on Amish farms, killing, raping, burning,
> pillaging, many Amish would die..I don't know how far West the raid
> would go, but I think by the time the vikings raiders reached Ohio that
> the Amish would be fighting back. They would group together and fight
> back. That's what I think.
And of course you are welcome to think that. I will offer what I've
seen in my day, only: people sitting in an unheated prison room with
nothing but a hospital gown, no pants, (no clue what that was about but
I remember that even when a group of us was there, there was much
taunting by guards; I was simply told "It's part of their punishment for
not going to war".) in Terre Haute IN (many, many miles from where they
lived, no one could drive there in a buggy), arrested during WWII for
not going to war (arrested before the IW classification but held for
unknown reasons until 1951), no complaints, only a request for Bibles,
which were withheld for 19 months, and then they were allowed English
bibles only, although none read English at the time and permission to
pray. When we were in our teens, we often encountered neighborhood
miscreants as we went to get corn ground or on other errands. More than
once (many times, actually) I've seen people assaulted and do nothing.
Just about the only thing they do is to gather a crowd of onlookers, on
the theory that beating up a deliberately defenseless person will be
even harder in front of a crowd of viewers (so they obviously have no
problem with attempting to use shame as a controlling mechanism).
Think of the Nickel Mines incident, which, while it still gives them
great grief, they dismissed with public forgiveness, acceptance of the
wife and children of the perpetrator and aid to them ("They had just had
a such a terrible shock, and lost their husband and father.", I was
told), and activity around aiding the assaulted, which of course
continues today. I have to this day not heard that incident mentioned
(by Amish friends/relatives) with anything but sadness and concern. A
friend of mine here in Maine was fascinated by that incident and said to
me "Some day I'm going to go and see that schoolhouse." She thought I
was wacky when I said you'd better go soon, because I'm sure they'll
tear it down pretty quick. Little did I know but it had already been
flattened and the ground plowed when I said that. They take their hits
in the name of God and it's done, no memorials, get on with life. That
pretty much follows along with what has happened to them over time; the
accounts coming now out of Georgia are pretty much echoes of the Nickel
Mines disaster. There people were herded into barns, the barn door
closed, and the building set on fire, so the method varied, but the
response was the same.
The thing of it is with them is that it is part and parcel of them. The
very first thing that got Zwingli stirred up back in Zurich was having
to deal with mercenaries. The idea of nonresistance, not just
non-violence, was the thing that led him to look more closely at the New
Testament and was the first of the tenets for pulling away from the
Catholic Church. It has continued to be a major point down through the
years, and I don't know a sincere Amish person who wouldn't stand in the
face of violence and do anything but call on the Lord for mercy. This
very point is one of the reasons they don't reallymuch encourage the
scads of people who come along and announce they want to be Amish;
there's strong feeling that if you don't grow up with it that it would
be very difficult to acquire. Somewhere I read, probably in the
Martyr's Mirror (giant book full of small-print accounts/letters of the
forced marches, tortures, etc, of the martyrs.), that Zwingli's last
words (he was stabbed with a spear) were "Not to fear is the armor."
It may be foolish (the usual view, in my experience), it may be plain
stupid, it may be inspired....I've not an opinion on that, but whatever,
that's the way it's always been for them and is still today, to my
knowledge. So my guess is, yes, they'd just be home milking cows,
peeling potatoes, and playing Carom, and someone would take them out, if
it came to that. The goal is to get to Heaven and you can't do that by
Avoidance when possible, otherwise nonresistance....The first signs are
there in the high emigration numbers......it may be that all we'll see
for ourselves. God forbid.
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