Socialism or Stone Age Bushmen? (Editorial)

(Oct. 18, 2016) (Editor’s note: The following is a excerpt from a speech by E. Ralph Hostetter, publisher of American Farm Publications Inc. and The Delmarva Farmer. It was delivered in 1980 at the annual meeting of the Talbot County Farm Bureau at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Md. Mr. Hostetter, 94, now lives quietly at his home in North East, Md., in Cecil County.)

I was reading the other day that America has to be the most fortunate nation in the world. It’s the only country where regularly every four years the politicians all get together to save it.
For the most part the rhetoric is the same — even though it is given as the newest, most modern political solution to our economic and foreign problems. As a matter of fact, political rhetoric throughout the world seems to have a sameness.
I became curious about this sometime ago. I wondered could there be an underlying theme in nearly all political rhetoric?
Recently in studying another society in a faraway part of the world, I discovered something. It’s no secret — I’ve read about it in a number of books since.
In my travels, I discovered a group of people, a tribal entity living on the fringes of the Kalahari Desert in South and Southwest Africa. These people are known to the world as “Bushmen.” They live, today, as they have lived for at least the past 10,000 years, in a Stone Age society. They are food gatherers.
I admire them very much.
In their own way, they may be the most successful persons walking the face of the earth today. We have projected ourselves through the machine age, the air age, the electronic age, the atomic age and the space age — and in spite of this they have successfully resisted.
They remain in the Stone Age.
We have sent missionaries by the shipload, peace corpsmen by the planeload and foreign aid to Africa by the bank load and still they live in the Stone Age.
That takes a helluva lot of determination.
I admire them — and besides, they are happy. We in Western World think we have accomplished a great deal.
Technologically, we have — politically, we have not. The fact that we are still selling today — or we are being sold today — the same basic principles upon which the life of the Bushman is based.
Let me elaborate on that.
The society of the Bushman relies on three basic concepts:
No Bushman is permitted to own or to possess anything over and above what any other member of the clan or tribe possesses. (If he’s found with that sort of excess, there’s a simple solution. It is taken away from him and divided equally among the rest.)
No Bushman is permitted to display any superior ability or initiative above the level of his peers. (For example, three Bushman go hunting. Two of them come back with one rock rabbit each. The third comes back with two rock rabbits. That’s easy enough the first time. The two simply take the second rock rabbit from their more talented companion and divide it. However, if this happens two or three times, it’s evident that he’s over producing, demonstrating a superior ability which is not acceptable.)
Now the third concept comes into play. Superiority, of any kind not being acceptable, it must be punished. So whenever the more talented hunter comes into presence of the rest of the tribe, he is greeted by a communal, hollow, chanting laugh. Continued exposure to this derision has a definite depressing effect on him and in the extreme drives him bonkers. Some walk out into the desert and die.
This is the way the Bushman have been able to perpetuate their Stone Age society against all of the forces of the modern world.
And I wish to point out to you that today there are voices in the modern politics which would inflict upon us nothing more than the Bushman philosophy: That is having of wealth, destruction of initiative and, if you dare to challenge either of those two, ridicule.These are the three basic tenets of socialism.