American Culture Vs. Hutterite Culture: Why Are We So Different?

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Hutterites view the world through German language thought patterns and from a perspective common to medieval Europe before the dawn of modern sciences. This should be the key phrase here, as American culture, post Industrial Revolution, relies heavily on

Hutterites view the world through German language thought patterns and from a perspective common to medieval Europe before the dawn of modern sciences. This should be the key phrase here, as American culture, post Industrial Revolution, relies heavily on modern sciences in daily life.

History

Hutterites don’t concern themselves with changing the course of history or nature, which is understandable considering their isolation from changes in intellectual thought and scientific changes. As Americans, our culture is reliant on scientific and technological changes, evident in the overabundance of technology on college campuses and in our homes. We strive for intellectual excellence, competing side by side for professional positions. Is it that we have chosen to change the course of things ourselves? Most Americans believe they can.

Community

Hutterites believe the individual is much less important than the community. Self-assertion by individuals is not permitted. The community controls or governs the activities of the individual. If a father’s son has to be punished, he must do so in public in the presence of the community. The elders correct the younger members, regardless of relationship.

On the other hand, American culture is not governed by the community, but the government itself. As a community we elect the government and they operate as a community of representatives. There’s one enormous difference, however. An “individual” or “sense of self” is always present in American culture. What’s in it for me? How will this benefit me? There are very few individuals in American culture providing charity or committing selfless acts for the better of mankind.

Marriage

Marriage may be a sort of contract in American culture, but it certainly acts more like one on a daily basis in Hutterite society. Marriage acts to instruct men on how to get to God, and if they stray, “it leadeth men away from God and bringeth death.”

 Hutterite  American
A husband is head of only one wife A husband can and willingly is head of more than one wife.
Broken promises or transgressions do not lead to divorce. Cheating or broken promises almost always lead to divorce.
Man and woman do not come together by their own choice, but by God’s will and order. Men and women may choose whom they love and marry.
Physical attraction is secondary. Physical attraction is primary on many occasions.
Woman must be a good housekeeper, is obedient to the community, and likes children. A woman does not have to be a good housekeeper, like children, or even like the husband’s family.

Material Wealth

Hutterites believe carnal men are viewed as living in perpetual covetousness by making property, food, land, or “created things” the object of private gain. Claiming elements of nature or rights to any said property deemed common use ignores God’s order.

Hutterites will rely on honest manual labor to make what is useful to the community. To benefit man is an honorable deed.

Versus the American view….

Americans buy and sell goods for profit. Capital from material goods is for the welfare of us, and maybe our families. We don’t run business’s to assist the community; we do it to make a living for ourselves. On some occasions we give back to the community, but this is not the purpose of our capital earnings.

Americans certainly use manual labor and illegal labor at that. Paying pennies to workers to provide products not for community gain, but for industry, is a common occurrence.

So what can be said for the differences of Hutterite and American culture?

Community is certainly key as well as the wellbeing of man in Hutterite culture, as opposed to the lack of community in American culture and wellbeing of us.

This is not to discredit communities in American society relying heavily on community as I’ve seen the fruits of their labor. However, on more occasions than not, there is an evident individual, distinct, self-service, attitude found in most of American culture.

This certainly explains why Hutterites remain isolated from outsiders who can and willfully will try to poison their community by using what we may consider normal devices.

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3 comments

Michele Cameron Drew
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Posted on Dec 10, 2010
Ron Siojo
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Posted on Dec 4, 2010
Mr Ghaz
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Posted on Dec 3, 2010