Letter Re: The 20% Solution, by Redoubting Thomas

Hi Hugh,

Regarding Redoubting Thomas’ article, in Missouri, we have more Amish than any state west of the Mississippi, not to mention a whole lot of Mennonites. It is true that they are good neighbors, and they do rely on “English” neighbors for a great deal, but I can’t imagine them ever wanting manual labor from an “English”. On the contrary, growing up in large families of 5 to 12 children without modern conveniences means that they can outwork most non-Amish with one hand tied behind their back. They do, however, provide excellent labor for someone establishing a new homestead and for a fair price. Around here, they work all kinds of construction jobs, including concrete, framing, sawmilling (by horsepower), and even putting up windmills to pump water. They have worked on fences and barns for my family and even gave us money back without being asked simply because they finished a job too quickly, and so believed they had overbid.

If you decide to live near the Amish, they highly value “English” that have the ability to bale hay after they cut and rake it. They also rely on outside help for nearly all communications and long-distance or emergency travel. Around here, they hire full-time drivers. Finally, in a SHTF scenario, they would rely on non-Amish for security. Most are extremely non-violent, though lately some will privately express the willingness to defend their families if necessary. While they do own hunting rifles, they would certainly make good partners with non-Amish with security skills and the willingness to use them. – J.M.