After the school shootings in Amish country a few months ago, I became intrigued by their way of life and beliefs. Yet, my personal opinion of the culture is deeply conflicted. On one hand, I respect their virtuous conduct in the name of Christ, their voluntary decision to exclude themselves from the inherent "evils" of mainstream society, and their restraint in forcing religious values on the outside world. But within this reclusive sphere of existence comes a lack of education (most of them stop school after 8th grade in order to help their families earn modest incomes) and a lack of exposure to the benefits that society can offer. I truly believe that education is a national (and should be a universal) right. Without the gift of knowledge we are unable to independently define and rationalize our existence. I've spoken to many of my friends at school about this and to my surprise (since I go to an extremely liberal and at times leftist university), many told me that it's simply another culture and that my Americanized perspective constituted a bias towards their way of life. If anyone is interested in responding to this, it would be greatly appeciated as I'm extraordinarily curious to hear what others have to say.