We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Seeing all the Amish in Ohio last week got me to thinking about Rumspringa.
It seems to me that this is nothing unique about the Amish. A fair number of adolescent kids in any culture spend some time taking a vacation from their parents' values and way of life. Fortunately, most return to sanity sooner or later if they don't lose themselves or destroy themselves in the process.
Bird Dog ... Your mention of the Amish as "taking a vacation from their parents' values" like adolescent kids does not, I think, accurately reflect the Amish, the Shakers and other quasi-religious Utopian movements which were rather common in 19th century America. This was a very interesting time in our country, and our Eastern intellectuals, like Bronson Alcott and others of the New England Enlightenment set, founded quite a few of what were called "intentional" or Utopian communities in various parts of New England and the Middle West, in which the faithful withdrew from the hurly-burly of everyday life promised to live pure and dedicated lives based on socialistic principles.
Some of those communities, like Brook Farm founded by Alcott and his buddies, were rather too impractical to survive and thrive for long[he thought that he and the other guys involved could work two hours a day and raise the food on the farm and have the rest of the time to spend discussing abstract subjects. Any farmer can tell you that it takes longer than two hours a day to keep the farm going]. There was Robert Owen, who founded his community in New Harmony, Indiana. Sadly, it was not a lasting success. But probably the most long-lasting community of all was the Oneida Community in New York state. This was a fascinating experiment in living, with the leader and his lieutenants laying down strict laws of behavior, even sexual behavior, and even extending to experiments in eugenics and planned breeding. I read a book about it by one of the children of that particular breeding experiment about sixty years ago for a term paper I was writing.
But even this experiment in Utopian living failed at last, and the community began to let outsiders in and became just another town.
They made great silver-plated tableware though. Still do.
Just had a thought. Since Obama is so anxious to try out his socialistic plans for America, maybe we could talk him into founding another Oneida-type community, where the top guys would have free choice among the choicest women, and all the girls would have to conform to his wishes.
Sorry Bird Dog ... Must have been having a brain seizure. Forgive me. Of course, you as a New Englander, would know about Brook Farm and the other Utopian communities. But I didn't, before I started to research them in college, and they are fascinating. And every one of them failed. And "those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them," Mr. O being the latest bad-memory guy.
You just jolted a memory from somewhere, Marianne. Sir Thomas More joked after he'd written "Utopia" that it would never work. While you're reading it, you get caught up and find yourself transported to this fantasy world thinking great thoughts about man, and then it all comes crashing down. Tragedy of the Commons and all that..... and the nature of humans.