Solution to Amish Problems
Solutionto Amish Problems
TheAmish community is one of the best-known religious minoritycommunities in the world because of their fascinating people andculture. The word “Amish” came from Jakob Ammann, who was a SwissAnabaptist who supported a literal interpretation of the Bible,causing a schism in the Mennonite church. Those who followed himreceived the name Amish. They still practice traditional and simplelifestyles. Despite some elements of modernity that some sects withinthe Amish have accepted, such as flush toilets and the presence ofone telephone for the whole group, the Amish have done an excellentjob in maintaining their traditional ways of life. The Amish speaktheir dialect of German, popularly termed as Pennsylvanian Dutch.They still practice their horse-and-buggy way of life and live inseparation from modern technology such as electricity. This isolatedlifestyle comes from the desire to avoid outside pollution from thesin in the world (Mast, 2017). This paper discusses genetic disordersin the Amish community and explains how social capital can solve thisproblem.
Thebiggest problem that the isolated lifestyle of the Amish has broughtabout is genetic disorders. The reason for these ailments is theirlimited gene pool as they prohibit intermarriage with outsiders, whothey believe, can influence them to sin. The Amish are a collectionof genetically closed communities, known as demes. Almost all of themhail from approximately 200 founders in the 18thcentury and have been inbreeding since then. These disorders areresults of inbreeding within these demes that has created a FounderEffect. Because of their cultural separation from the rest of theworld and their private nature, the outside world did not recognizethe disorders ravaging the Amish for a long time. The limited genepool makes the community particularly susceptible to disorders suchas dwarfism, Angelman Syndrome, an irregular distribution of bloodtypes, and metabolic disorders (Mitchell,Schäffer, Pollin, Streeten, Horenstein, Steinle, & O’Connell,2015).
TheAmish have refused to use the current interventions that can reducethe likelihood of their children getting these genetic disorders. Thecommunity has declined to use preventive genetic tests beforemarriage and unborn children to diagnose genetic disorders. Many suchparents, if their child has a disorder of any kind, terms it as“Gottes Wille,” which means God’s will. They often blame Godinstead of acknowledging their mistakes in inbreeding. The Amishpeople from the Old Order do not have any form of health insurance.About two-thirds of them in Lancaster County are participants inChurch Aid, which is an informal personal insurance plan that helpsits members who have great medical expenses (Mitchell,Lee, Tolea, Shields, Ashktorab, Magder, & Schäffer, 2012).Many of the Amish do not practice abortion, birth control, andgenetic procedures such as artificial insemination. They find thesepractices to be against their beliefs.
Theidea of social capital is of particular importance in helping acommunity such as the Amish. Social capital is an economic and socialcapital where the central element is the social networks. There isthe idea of trust, reciprocity, and cooperation in transactionsinvolving social capital. In this concept, individuals’ primaryobjective is not necessarily to offer services for their benefit butthe common good. The term social capital, which has been in use forabout four decades, means the resources needed for a particularproject include neither traditional capital such as money nor humancapital such as skills. The resources in social capital refer to theitems people draw on all the time, through connections to a system ofhuman relationships (Carter,2013).Social capital will help the Amish to create new social links withother people, which will lead to a solution of their problems.
Thebest strategy for helping the Amish involves constant exposure topeople from other communities and making use of community members whohave seen life beyond the area where they live. Few Amish have risento stardom, one of them being actor Verne Troyer, who is one of theworld’s shortest men. His height is two feet and eight inches. Suchpeople would be valuable in highlighting the genetic disorders thatare afflicting the Amish community and helping them in finding outthat the outside world is not as evil as they believe it to be. Theyteam involved in helping the Amish should also compliment ongoingefforts that are successful. These efforts include studying theirgenetic diseases because of their willingness to participate in themand their clear family history over several generations. The Clinicfor Special Needs Children, located in Strasburg, Florid, hasreceived a positive response from the people because it has come upwith treatments for several genetic disorders like the Maple SyrupUrine Disease. The project may need to last several months up to oneyear, depending on how long it takes the team to make the entirecommunity understand that their isolation is harming futuregenerations. The first step in this intervention is encouraging themto allow more converts to join them and vary their gene pool. TheAmish community has a well-structured leadership, and the team shouldfocus on reaching the leaders first as it will be easier for the teamto influence the people with the leaders’ backing. The entireproject, including the concept of social capital, can cost about700000 US Dollars, and take up to 11 months to complete.
Therelationship between the solution, people, and community is vital inensuring the success of the project. The Amish would eventually viewthe answer, not as an interruption of their lives and culture, but ameans of helping their future generations avoid genetic disorders.The individual people would receive the needed exposure to how therest of the world is living through guided tours to other parts ofthe country for them to realize that the people in the outside worldare just like them, save for the differences in their culture. TheAmish would eventually learn that allowing marriages with “outsiders”is helpful in reducing the incidence of genetic disorders (Sherman,2014).
Theteam sent out to help the Amish should also consider using the mostappropriate and effective means of communicating to the people. Theyshould make sure that they take into account the fact that a vastmajority of the members of the community have not gone past theeighth grade. The best method of reaching out to the Amish is byusing workshops because talking to them is better than trying to getthem to read. If it is necessary for the team to use writtenmaterials, they need to be appropriate for an eighth grader. Anybooklets and brochures used have to have illustrations and simplelanguage to keep the attention of the readers all the way to the end.The team should focus on workshops and speak to the people, as it isthe best way to get the different demes within the Amish to be morewelcoming of each other, and more willing to explore the outsideworld and allowing people from without to join the community.
Thestrategy, social capital, will succeed if the team will help thecommunity to understand that remaining within closed communities isharmful to their future generations, and the fact that the communityneeds outsiders to vary their gene pool. For people that have beenliving enclosed lives for centuries, the team should not expect theAmish to change their views on strangers overnight. However, byeffective negotiations with the leaders and showing them the benefitsof exogamy, the Amish people would ultimately change their ways forthe sakes of their children.
Blokland,T. (2016). Networkedurbanism: social capital in the city.Routledge.
Carter,I. (2013). Humanbehavior in the social environment.AldineTransaction.
Mast,G. J. (2017). The Amish. Journalof Mennonite Studies, 32,290-292. Retrieved fromhttp://jms.uwinnipeg.ca/index.php/jms/article/view/1568/1553,Accessed on April 14, 2017.
Mitchell,B. D., Lee, W. J., Tolea, M. I., Shields, K., Ashktorab, Z., Magder,L. S., … & Schäffer, A. A. (2012). Living the good life?Mortality and hospital utilization patterns in the Old OrderAmish. PloSone, 7(12),e51560.
Mitchell,B. D., Schäffer, A. A., Pollin, T. I., Streeten, E. A., Horenstein,R. B., Steinle, N. I., … & O’Connell, J. R. (2015). MappingGenes in Isolated Populations: Lessons from the Old Order Amish.In GenomeMapping and Genomics in Human and Non-Human Primates,Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Sherman,C. B. (2014). Respecting Cultural Differences: Alternatives for theAmish Community to Combat Health Care Costs. UndergraduateResearch Journal for the Human Sciences, 13(1).
No related posts.