Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Amish Paradise

What happens when religious freedom comes into conflict with child-protection law? Well, that's precisely the situation up in Amish country, where child labor laws are restricting the Amish's ability to teach their children a trade at an early age.

For most of human history, a person was expected to be self-sufficient by age 18 or so. I look at most of my fellow collegians, and I sure don't see people that I think can take care of themselves. Heck, I don't consider myself to be nearly as capable as I believe I should be. I'm 25 and I still haven't had a real job. So I rather admire the Amish philosophy. There's nothing anti-21st century about it. Lots of young people would benefit from such instruction.

I love this quote: "The bill would deny Amish children the very real benefits of government health and safety protection that are afforded Catholic, Baptist, Jewish or any other children of non-Amish faith," said Nicholas Clark, a child labor expert with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Yep, I'm sure the unions are looking out for the best interests of the Amish culture. And framing the issue as denying a "right to protection" is beautiful rhetoric. Who knows what's better for the children: their parents or the feds? I know which side I'm on, but it seems like there are plenty of folks who'd rather have the gov't write the rules on child-rearing.


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