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But they are a “competitive dictatorship”; since there are so many different congregations in the same town, an Amish family who doesn’t like their congregation’s leadership or legal system can move to another congregation and agree to be bound by their laws instead.

This makes it a rare remaining example of a polycentric legal system outside anarcho-capitalist fantasies or Too Like The Lightning: Such a system can be viewed as a competitive market for legal rules, constrained, like other competitive markets, to produce about the product that the customers want.

also live under the authority of a foreign culture and have settled on a similar system, with a twist.

The basic unit of Amish society is the church congregation; Amish settlements big enough to support multiple churches will have many congregations mixed together.

Nothing stops some of them from calling themselves a “legislature” or a “court” and claiming to make laws or pass sentences.

Medieval Icelandic crime victims would sell the right to pursue a perpetrator to the highest bidder.

18th century English justice replaced fines with criminals bribing prosecutors to drop cases. Maybe a state-run legal system isn’t a fact of nature, but a historical oddity as contingent as collectivized farming or nationalized railroads.

The Amish have some internal mechanisms to prevent this: congregations are usually on good terms with each other, but if Congregation A accepts a member being shunned by Congregation B, then all of Congregation B’s members will shun all of Congregation A’s members.

In practice, this makes it easy to switch rules as a member in good standing who honestly doesn’t like the laws, but hard to break the laws and get away with it.

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