Guest Post: kc r/K selection

I stumbled upon a concept so groundbreaking yesterday that I have spent hours in front of the screen digging deeper and trying to find flaws. It so fundamentally changes the way we should look at politics and the political spectrum, that, once understood, our constructs of left and right will never be the same again. I short, it is not their fault.

A theory developed and accepted in the 1950’s by Ecologists Robert MacArthur and E.O. Wilson in their works on Island Biogeography was titled the r/K Selection Theory. It was and remains uncontroversial in its application to the orgins of the species and fits neatly within the accepted Darwinian views and explains the social habits and basic constructs within the animal kingdoms.

The r/K Selection theory has recently been applied to politics in a book called ‘The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics” and this ground breaking work is buzzing through the internet and causing heads to explode on the left because it is so precise, so absolutely accurate and explains in undeniable terms the chasm between the left and right of politics. If the theory holds true Socialism Vs Conservativism is to a large degree genetic.

I quote in part from the book but in simple terms r being a rabbit and K being a wolf.

r being a socialist and K being a conservative

Why do people adopt different political ideologies? How can seemingly equal intellects, presented with the same facts and circumstances disagree so vehemently over how society should be structured? What psychological undercurrents guide people to adopt Conservative or Liberal political beliefs, and where did they come from?

The answer lies in a well-known concept in biology, termed r/K Selection Theory. r/K Theory examines how all populations tend to adopt one of two psychologies as a means of adapting their behavior to the presence or absence of environmental resources. The two strategies, termed r and K, each correlate perfectly with the psychologies underlying Liberalism and Conservatism.

One strategy, named the r-strategy, imbues those who are programmed with it to be averse to all peer on peer competition, embrace promiscuity, embrace single parenting, and support early onset sexual activity in youth. Obviously, this mirrors the Liberal philosophy’s aversion to individual Darwinian competitions such as capitalism and self-defense with firearms, as well as group competitions such as war. Likewise, Liberalism is tolerant of promiscuity, tolerant of single parenting, and more prone to support early sex education for children and the sexualization of cultural influences. Designed to exploit a plethora of resources, one will often find this r-type strategy embodied within prey species, where predation has lowered the population’s numbers, and thereby increased the resources available to its individuals.

The other strategy, termed the K-strategy, imbues those who pursue it with a fierce competitiveness, as well as tendencies towards abstinence until monogamy, two-parent parenting, and delaying sexual activity until later in life. Obviously, this mirrors Conservatism’s acceptance of all sorts of competitive social schemes, from free market capitalism, to war, to individuals owning and carrying private weapons for self-defense. Conservatives also tend to favor abstinence until monogamy, two parent parenting with an emphasis upon “family values,” and children being shielded from any sexualized stimuli until later in life. This strategy is found most commonly in species which lack predation, and whose populations have grown to the point individuals must compete with each other for the limited environmental resources that they are rapidly running out of.

Meticulously substantiated with the latest research in fields from neurobiology to human behavioral ecology, this work offers an unprecedented view into not just what governs our political battles, but why these battles have arisen within our species in the first place. From showing how these two strategies adapt in other more complex species in nature, to examining what genetic and neurostructural mechanisms may produce these divergences between individuals, to showing what this theory indicates our future may hold, this work is the most thorough analysis to date of just why we have two political ideologies, why they will never agree, and why we will tend to become even more partisan in the future

To make this more simple to understand the first 2 columns of the table below are the recognise r/K Selection theory tables as they apply to the animal world and absolutely consistent with the established and accepted theory.

The third column is my own interpretation of the book and the messages within it.

r K Political application
Non competitive Highly competition As simple as support for open borders. Everyone welcome. R does not care and K will fight to protect its territory.
Highly promiscuous Monogamist, stable family unit Goes without saying but support for the early sexualisation of children is a hallmark of the left. Think multiple partners, sexual liberation and inter sex relationships, no care for the traditional family unit/marriage. Safe Schools, promotion and pursuit of all levels of sexual gratification
Low investment single parenting High investment dual parenting and family unit 5 children to 3 fathers, on welfare and no child support. Father has nothing to do with upbringing of children Vs the stable family unit and high investment by both parents and extended family in the child’s upbringing.
Early sexual maturity and activity Late sexual maturity and activity Safe Schools and the early sexualisation of children
Low loyalty in group High loyalty in group This is a glitch in the theory because by any measure the group think mentality of the left does engender loyalty within the group but will they stick around if the going gets tough? Do they abandon their own under difficult circumstances?  K’s are more “through thick and thin”.
Access to abundant resources Limited resources which must be pursued with vigour R’s typically rely on the provision of resources, in abundant supply, by others. Welfare, taxpayer/state supported work and never need worry about supply. It is endless magic pudding. Just eat and breed and someone will pay the bill. K’s are the lifters r’s are the leaners but to a degree, this is stereotyping.
flight fight Pacifist Vs fight to defend. Peaceniks/negotiate at all costs Vs War if necessary

Open borders Vs Border protection.

Gun control Vs Gun ownership

Smaller more feminine males and larger more dominant and aggressive females Alpha male The hipster/girly man/ metro sexual male. Large. Domineering, aggressive feminist female Vs Alpha Male, man the breadwinner, protector and female the more submissive home keeper and nurturer for the family.
Breed with many partners quantity not quality Selective high quality, not quantity offspring where the female will tend to mate with the alpha male to ensure the highest quality genes carry forward and offspring has best chance of survival Nothing needs be said. The comparisons are stark


The table is my take from my day of reading yesterday. Does not mean it is right but it is my right to interpret what I have read and draw my own conclusions, just as it is someone else’s right to disagree. The parallels between the r/K Selection Theory as it applies to animals and the application of the theory to politics is however compelling, thought provoking and uncannily accurate (stereotyping considered) and while it is not the definitive analysis it goes a long way to explaining why, when faced with the same set of facts and circumstances, 2 nominally intelligent people, can come to 2 totally opposing views.

There also has be a learned response implication because we do often change ourselves, from r’s to K’s as we get older and maybe this is what separates us from the animals. The ability to learn and adapt.

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63 Responses to Guest Post: kc r/K selection

  1. Mundi

    Since technology has brought us abundance, this also explains why in Australia we have two main parties for the R’s.

  2. Cpt Seahawks

    Fascinating reading. My first thought is that this is an environmental issue i.e. A lake dries temporarily in drought and predators invade an island, reducing previously safe r types. The lake refills but food remains scarce for any survivors of the onslaught, so then K behaviour kicks in. Is this correct? If so people will be affected by their personal wealth in an analogy. Eg Hollwood set.

  3. Zyconoclast

    Stefan Molyneux refers a lot to this in some of his podcasts.

  4. Mark

    Interesting perspective, but it does not answer the question:
    Why does the left seem so keen to believe things that are not true (eg global warming, Castro was a great guy, socialism is an effective economic system) and also actually just lie a lot about things (Gore, Hillary, any number of left claims) that are patently false? Why the tendency towards gullibility fed by liars.
    Beliefs include that a useful society can be built on the following foundations:
    that altruism represents the true state of human motivation, while self interest is a corruption;
    denial of differences between sexes (however benign);
    viability of a system of no property;
    value of throwing wealth at social ‘problems’;
    preference for state control vs freedom of action
    (while pretending that state control is only temporary
    if only all the other beliefs would come true);
    desirability of a system of forced economic equality.)
    None of these is true, yet many are absolutely fundamental to left theory.

  5. The joke is that you all think you are the Eloi.

  6. a reader

    I call bs on the theory. There are plenty of people who have had dramatic about faces in their political stance. Think about people like these:

    Or closer to home, Robert Manne as just one example.

    I’m not overly convinced by much of Darwin’s theories anyway. The whole nonsense with the giraffes discredits it for me.

  7. King Koala

    When you begin to admit that some races are more K selected or r selected than others than you will begin to see why immigration is the most important issue.

  8. Mark A

    #2257964, posted on January 11, 2017 at 12:54 am
    The joke is that you all think you are the Eloi.

    That doesn’t make sense, even if allowing you made the comment.
    What do you mean?

  9. A Lurker

    My personal theory is that WW1 and WW2 (and the Civil War in America) are largely to blame for the r/K state of the Western world today.

    Who is it that desires to protect family, home, country, culture from an aggressor?
    The ‘K’s.
    Who is it that will do something about protecting the same?
    The ‘K’s
    Who is it that goes to war?
    The ‘K’s
    Who is it that dies in war?
    The ‘K’s
    Who are we left with at the end?
    The ‘K’s who survived the war, and masses of ‘r’s who did not go to war.

    Thus after two hundred years of intermittent war, the West has many more ‘r’s than ‘K’s. Eventually more ‘K’s will be bred, but until then, the ‘r’s are formulating laws, policies, and are in leadership.

  10. The thing to do with the rabbits is send them off to war on mass, otherwise they over-breed.

  11. Herodotus

    The joke is you, monty.

    Back to the main topic. It’s only years of pc programming which stops the wolves right now from eating the rabbits.

  12. None of these is true, yet many are absolutely fundamental to left theory.

    The left is the home for people that don’t think deeply about anything, if it sounds noble and good they will get behind it. The core socialist use this to great effect by claiming a fake moral high ground. You can see this effect with celebrities that think trump is the next hitler and actually say so publicly.

  13. Crossie

    There also has be a learned response implication because we do often change ourselves, from r’s to K’s as we get older and maybe this is what separates us from the animals. The ability to learn and adapt.

    Another analogy is that r types are childlike, all fun and no responsibility while k types are the grown ups which explains the switch from r to k as people age and learn from life.

  14. In 2014, deaths among non-Hispanic whites exceeded
    births in more states than at any time in U.S. history.

    Seventeen states, home to 121 million residents or
    roughly 38 percent of the U.S. population, had more deaths
    than births among non-Hispanic whites (hereafter referred
    to as whites) in 2014, compared to just four in 2004. When
    births fail to keep pace with deaths, a region is said to have
    a “natural decrease” in population, which can only be offset
    by migration gains. In twelve of the seventeen states with
    white natural decreases, the white population diminished
    overall between 2013 and 2014.

  15. Tintarella di Luna

    is there are explanation about big rs like Kim Beasley and Kim Carr and little rs like the chinless Bowen and the hapless Clare – does rs-size matter?

  16. Motelier


    I see what you did there 😳.

  17. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    There also has be a learned response implication

    In absolutely all of this. From the get go. We are not talking two different species here.
    An analogy extended far too far, imho.

    Socialists are socialists because they have learned to be socialists. They can unlearn this.
    Conservatives are conservatives because they have had the luck of a better environment to think in.
    If yu want to get ethological about it, look to the human tendency to groupthink and to commit to a group in order to gain social approvals. A good example is all those economists, some of whom were not stupid, signing that piece of groupthink about Trump..

  18. Driftforge

    My personal theory is that WW1 and WW2 (and the Civil War in America) are largely to blame for the r/K state of the Western world today.

    Kind of puts the Russian practice of herding all the ‘rabbits’ to the front and putting the (NV)K(D) behind them in a different light.

  19. Mother Lode

    Monty, the Eloi would have been ‘r’ types – bovinely docile, vegetarian, herdish, and the gracility the result of gradual atrophying of the capacity to subjugate the world (physical strength, intellectual drive, courage etc.)

    Did you even read the book, you rakish fellow?

    The only exception is that, once the first blush of youth passes, lefties look like Morlocks.

  20. Rod W

    Yes, I’ve been reading up on this in the last couple of days after seeing it on the XYZ site.
    There are links to interesting videos on the topic by Bill Whittle and Stefan Molyneux (series of 3).

  21. The thing to do with the rabbits is send them off to war on mass, otherwise they over-breed

    You are such a jolly fellow, Ziphead.

  22. Tel

    Predators are not peaceful, all of their resources are taken from their victims. They live at the expense of others. From this perspective, government is the ultimate predator.

    If you want to look at biology, a great many strategies are deployed. Tigers are predators and they are territorial, but they don’t have monogamous relationships, don’t form social groups, and the female is not weak by any means.

    A virus is a predator but has zero investment in offspring, and produces as many children as possible.

    Many bacteria are predators, they produce only one offspring, and they do live in semi-cooperative social groups but have no family structure.

  23. john of sunbury

    The r/K Selection theory has recently been applied to politics in a book called ‘The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics”

    There is a companion website for the book that has a good primer on the theory.

  24. Tel

    Thus after two hundred years of intermittent war, the West has many more ‘r’s than ‘K’s. Eventually more ‘K’s will be bred, but until then, the ‘r’s are formulating laws, policies, and are in leadership.

    Humans have been going to war against each other as far back as recommended history. The only change I can see is that tbe weapons are more effective now (but also, there’s a lot more humans that before).

    If the people who start wars also tended to die in them, I’d be perfectly fine with that. Unfortunately they tend to be smart enough to send others to die.

  25. Tintarella di Luna


    I see what you did there 😳.

    So early in the morning too Motelier

  26. alexnoaholdmate

    I am becoming alarmed that more and more contributors to Catallaxy seem to attribute cultural or behavioural characteristics to genetic or biological (‘evolutionary’) sources…

    I grew up in a Labor voting household. And held those beliefs myself, until I finished university and experienced the real world.

    Were my dear departed dad alive today, he’d be appalled by my political beliefs.

    I am a former Lefty mugged by experience – what is the ‘evolutionary’ explanation for my total change of heart? After all, had I continued my career in a taxpayer-funded academic institution I might perhaps be a raving Lefty today, having not had the opportunity to come into contact with other beliefs and opinions.

    I chose my political beliefs based on facts and the interpretation of empirical evidence. Nothing to do with my genes, my race, or my neurological makeup.

    One other thing I’d add, just for those Cats of a religious persuasion (and irrelevant if you aren’t). Such an idea as that above leaves no room for redemption or for the free choice of God’s grace, if you believe in that sort of thing. It is all entirely predetermined whether you’ll be a Christian or not. Goodness requires a conscious choice in the face of the temptations of evil, as does repentance and redemption.

    There is no room for any of this, if the above is true.

  27. Senile Old Guy

    This is a misguided post, written by someone who has only recently read about r/k selection. The Wikipedia article on this topic is not bad.

    r/k selection has absolutely nothing to do with politics, political behaviour or right/left policies. It is about reproductive strategies in different environments. To get this to say anything about right/left politics requires extraordinary contortions.

  28. iamok

    Interesting and I will digest, but like some others I am not convinced about Darwin. After all he admitted evolution was a theory, it had holes in it and was flawed in his own words.

    Why did that fish jump out of the water when it couldn’t breathe?

  29. Geoff

    Irony that in these times of the dominance of identity politics, r/K Selection and other key elements of human biodiversity are taboo subjects that would otherwise provide valuable information for policy development.

  30. John Comnenus

    The bigger flaw in your theory is as follows and can readily be seen in agent based modelling of the r/K theory where the simulation models grass (resources), sheep (K) and wolves(r).

    In effect there can only be a small number of wolves relative to the sheep. Otherwise the wolves eat all their food resources and die out.

    Equally there must not be too many sheep lest they eat all the grass ensuring that the sheep go extinct due to rapid loss of food and hunting from wolves. Eventually both sheep and wolves go extinct.

    If one wanted to tilt the field against the sheep, it is better to reduce the grass rather than increase the wolves. Too many wolves eat all the sheep and leads to mutual extinction.

    However as an analogy it sort of works this way – sheep love being victims, do nothing to cultivate their own resources, herd together and wait to be eaten by the alpha males.

  31. eb

    alex, and SOG, both +1.

    I am a “believer” in evolutionary psychology, but this stuff is drawing a very long bow in my view.

  32. Cradock's Choice

    I am not buying this. It’s a simple-model explanation applied to a complex system.

    As such is resembles the simple computer models the climate-fiction loons try to use to explain teh complex system of planetary climate.

    I think it partially useful in some purely behavoural terms, but certainly not beyond that.

  33. alexnoaholdmate

    r/K selection is not a “taboo subject”, Geoff.

    Just one that is not applicable to modern human social behaviour – especially when used to divide people into putative “scientific” clades based on nothing more than ephemeral political beliefs.

    The post above is a complete misapplication of a perfectly acceptable theory to a context it was NEVER intended to apply to, and one that the original authors would be shocked to find has co-opted their ideas.

    Just because an idea should be rejected as sheer lunacy doesn’t make it “taboo” and unable to be discussed. He’ll, we ARE discussing it.

  34. Eddystone

    Lizzie has hit the nail on the head.

    Humans are one species, not two.

    There is no more a genetic basis for conservatism than there is for supporting a football team.

  35. alexnoaholdmate

    To apply this theory in this context – to contort it beyond the scientific limits it was always intended to remain within – is akin to a Communist arguing that the theory of gravity is Marxist because it draws objects o the larger “mass”, that is the proletariat.

    Yes, scientists in the Soviet Union actually said things like this, yes they were absurd, and yes, they it was very little different to this particular misuse of science in a political cause.

  36. Senile Old Guy

    Irony that in these times of the dominance of identity politics, r/K Selection and other key elements of human biodiversity are taboo subjects that would otherwise provide valuable information for policy development.

    It’s not ‘taboo’. It’s wrong. Saying something is wrong is not the same as making it taboo.

    r/k selection, as I said, is about reproductive ‘strategies’* in different environmental situations. The Wikipedia article I linked to is not bad (Wikipedia is often reasonable for non-controversial issues; it is on controversial issues where it is likely to be poor). It gives examples of species which ‘should’ follow an r or k strategy but which do not.

    And political views have nothing to do with biodiversity. Biodiversity is to do with genetic variation (albeit, there may be some genetic element in behaviour).

    If you want to discuss policy, discuss policy. Pulling in irrelevant issues from completely unrelated fields is unlikely to help in the development of policy.

    * strategies is the word that is used but not in the sense that the individual chooses.

  37. min

    Some years ago I went to America to study Personality Disorders. The Institute that conducted the training courses had 2000 in counselling a week, all were tested incoming and out going. Since the 60’s there had been an increase of personality disorders presenting . The reasons given were ,there had been no world wars and the buggers breed. Buggers had me somewhat intrigued as it is not an expression used by the Yanks.
    Rather than the r or the K increasing it was the Psychopath/ Sociopath, Narcissist, Histrionic etc according to the results of psychological testing that had increased. So does that fit in with the theory. I can think of some well known lefties that would fit into these categories but also some of he right.
    B T W those wih Personality Disorders do not change , psychologists can only help them to function better in life. That means many psychopaths can be socialised and appear to function well at a certain level but retain all the nasty traits you know like pathological lying, manipulation, lack of true empathy, etc

  38. flyingduk

    yes its a great explanatory theory but there is another layer you didn’t mention yet, and that is the potential for humans to be programmed to be either r or K by their early childhood environments, with absence of the father (as is encouraged by the leftist welfare state) programming children at an early age to adopt promiscuous r lifestyles,

  39. Ellen of Tasmania

    I’m with Lizzie on this, too.

    Imagine if tomorrow, all the MSM, and movies shown were of a conservative, free market bent. Then throw in a change in the educational institutes.

    There are lots of people out there who would shift their political identity in a heartbeat and not even realise they were doing it. Even more so, if the shift was slow but inexorable.

    ‘Cause that’s what I think has happened in the other direction. (Good ol’ Gramsci!) Cool-shame works. Repetition works. And playing into people’s vices works. (eg. greed, envy, lust, sloth etc.) ‘Uphill’ moral shifts are slower.

    I think the Christian explanation works better than this Darwinian effort.

  40. I don’t think this r/K stuff is genetic but cultural. Jonathan Haidt (‘The Righteous Mind) is far closer to the truth which, in a nutshell, is that conservatives think far more deeply and with slightly different emphases on trade-offs. IMHO leftists are leftists because they are either losers or they are lazy and coupled with huge dollops of envy, jealousy and a perversely accrued narcissism they are quite simply parasites, except stupider since parasites don’t tend to kill the host. The only way leftards can get ahead / make as much as possible with as little effort as possible is by using the coercive power of the State to steal from others and the only way they can enact their revenge on society and tear down the successful is by using the coercive power of the State.
    There are elements of truth to r/K theory but to suggest it is genetic is silly, I think it is far more cultural; hence why we are losing – we have zero control and even less concept of the power of culture, language, education and entertainment. It is no accident that the greatest advancements and greatest culture ever produced were during times when the right had control of culture (i.e. had little control, was not State funded and/or left to market forces).

  41. Senile Old Guy

    yes its a great explanatory theory but there is another layer you didn’t mention yet, and that is the potential for humans to be programmed to be either r or K by their early childhood

    It is not a ‘great explanatory theory’ because r/k is irrelevant to human behaviour. It is especially irrelevant because it does not even work properly in ecology, where it was first described. Wikipedia*:

    Although some organisms are identified as primarily r- or K-strategists, the majority of organisms do not follow this pattern. For instance, trees have traits such as longevity and strong competitiveness that characterise them as K-strategists. In reproduction, however, trees typically produce thousands of offspring and disperse them widely, traits characteristic of r-strategists. Similarly, reptiles such as sea turtles display both r- and K-traits: although sea turtles are large organisms with long lifespans (provided they reach adulthood), they produce large numbers of unnurtured offspring.

    If you want to discuss human behaviour, discuss it. Just don’t drag in irrelevant concepts from irrelevant fields.

    * As in my previous post, Wikipedia is often reliable for uncontroversial subjects, such as this.

  42. Mother Lode

    This r/K thing is a metaphor.

    Nothing more.

  43. Piett

    Before the 1960s, socialists were usually sexually puritanical; they frowned upon promiscuity and punished ‘deviance’ (just ask the gays Castro imprisoned). They were certainly willing to fight for their socialist ‘utopia’. Their societies revolved around all-powerful ‘alpha males’.

    So maybe old-school commies are the real ‘Ks’?

    Alternatively, maybe this theory is a crock, at least in its application to humans.

  44. tgs

    What a load of pseudo-scientific bs.

  45. None

    R/K is crock crock crock for political beliefs but don’t think lefties. do loyalty. Herd brain is not loyalty. Consider how fast Wong and Plibersek dropped Gillard. Stabby to the max.

  46. kc

    Certainly got cats talking, even in disagreement but just for arguments sake, If we were to accept, by proposition, that there are elements of truth within the r/K Selection theory & without wanting to bell the “racist” cat. It is fair to consider that some races and cultures are more prone to r than K? On an assumption that the theory is at least in part valid, is there a genetic predisposition to breeding large numbers of children, also r’s, on the basis of an historically low survival rates and when these r’s, and offspring of r’s, are transplanted into modern Western society with abundance of food, medical care and housing, that r’s survive and outbreed the K’s.

    But for the relatively modern phenomena of abortion on demand in western civilisation, interestingly a concept pushed by r feminists and rejected by K’s, the west population of r’s would vastly outnumber K’s. As it is the level of lifters and leaners, the slow steady march, the ever increasing reliance on welfare and % of people on welfare programs it is clear that the r demographic is taking over Western civilisation. The oldest civilisations, in Europe, have already been swamped, with natural consequences and as the K’s of the world see it happening and are backed into a corner the consequence will be to fight back. They are the fight not flight demographic. Is this what we are seeing in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit and with the rise and rise of the far right in France, Holland and elsewhere across Europe? If the r/K theory holds any weight what is going on is all preprogramed human reaction of 2 differing human physiological entities. The war of the r/K may be unfolding before our very eyes.

    This opens all sorts of Pandora’s boxes.

    Is abortion, for example, pushed increasingly as a human right; in particular by feminist r’s actually doing the K’s a favour? There’s a “dangerous idea”. Abortion on demand is clearly a sign of being more concerned about one self than ones offspring. It is fair to suggest, if the theory is to be believed, that the aborted children are, in large part (not exclusively) the children of r’s and would themselves become r’s.

    Is our high sex drive in our youth part of what makes many educated people change from being a socialist to a conservative in later years, as our libido slows?

    I know in large part the concept is copping a flogging here, but really, isn’t there some element of application of an accept genetic theory in animals, at least in some way applicable to the human animal?

    The whole proposition is both tantalising in its simplicity and disgusting in the judgemental racist nature of its application. It proposes that we can’t help ourselves. We are programed by genetics to act and behave a certain way and propose that K’s are a superior genetic strain. A thread which also runs through the theory is that the rise of the r’s, to a point where resources become overwhelmed, results in a natural rebalance with the K’s asserting dominance.
    While it is demonstrably true in the animal world as a rabbit plague overwhelms a pasture and the wolves take a heavy toll on the weakened and easy to catch prey, killing for sport, not hunger is it also, in consideration of the parallels of the theory in respect of humans and politics, that the welfare state is the pasture. The overwhelming of the capacity of the welfare state (Europe) manifests itself in the awaking of the K’s

    While this theory may be an absolute truth in animals it is perhaps our greatest attribute that we can learn. We as a species can adapt and change and this sets us apart from the rest of the animals. I have found nothing else which underpins the reasons why people born of the same parents, raised and educated the same way, at the same time, can ultimately be diametrically opposed politically. It has to be possible that a genetic predisposition plays a part.

  47. Piett

    kc, do you realise that Israelis and Arabs are indistinguishable in racial terms? The huge differences in their societies are due to culture, culture, culture. Not race.

    This r/K bullshit would have been music to the ears of Hitler, who would have been certain that his Aryan ubermensch were the world’s ultimate Ks. Please drop this in the nearest rubbish bin.

  48. egg_

    I’m not overly convinced by much of Darwin’s theories anyway.

    Arose from Joyce’s work on insects in the Pacific IIRC.
    Perhaps, the ‘selfish gene’ in higher animals is a little more sophisticated?

  49. egg_

    Mr Rusty
    #2258205, posted on January 11, 2017 at 11:16 am


    However, thanks for your post kc – I first read of this at Anonymous Conservative, who’s been linked to many times from Conservative blogs such as this.
    He’s particularly adept at Sociopaths, based on personal experience with same.

  50. Piett

    “I have found nothing else which underpins the reasons why people born of the same parents, raised and educated the same way, at the same time, can ultimately be diametrically opposed politically.”

    This is the only interesting question. My answer would be that politics is based greatly on emotion, particularly in the young. Two siblings won’t have had the same friends, the same teachers, the same life experiences — and these will generate different emotional reactions.

    Sibling A has a crush on a girl who’s a libertarian; she gets him to read Atlas Shrugged; he’s an instant convert. Sibling B is rudely treated by some stuck-up Young Liberals; he decides that everyone on the Right is scum; he joins the Greens. Heated dinner table conversations ensue.

  51. egg_

    we have zero control and even less concept of the power of culture, language, education and entertainment. It is no accident that the greatest advancements and greatest culture ever produced were during times when the right had control of culture (i.e. had little control, was not State funded and/or left to market forces).

    The ‘march through the institutions’ has probably accelerated in the information/automation age, where folk are estranged from the means of Production – ‘a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on’?

  52. kc

    Piett you are right about the Hitler comment. As soon as I starting going down this road the Übermensch/, Master Race issues were writ large and very disconcerting and I found it deeply confronting. Is this how it all started? What started out as a simple proposition, is there a genetic predisposition to being “of the left”, developed into a ethical minefield. None the less, I am yet to be convinced that nature/nurture is the answer to everything. I have a sibling who is so far to the left and so much a typical “r” that it is hard to believe we come from the same stock. My brother is even more a Capital K conservative then me, and , as a young buck I was clearly a socialist. GMF!

  53. kc

    I might also add, that with exceptions, there is a general thread which runs through the Cat and other sites than brand A is superior to brand B. Liberals/ socialists/lefties/swamp filth…call them what you like, have the sh!t kicked out of them here by their (sarc) morally and intellectually superior betters. Left/Right, Socialist/conservative, Liberal/Capitalist,…… r/K. Is this proposition really that “out there”?

  54. kc

    Also kind of nice being in Steve Kates camp. He got the sh!t kicked out of him very time he tried to pump up Trumps tyres. =) I was always a “who’se your daddy”, guy. Are you sick of winning yet Steve? My son has just come back from a USA holiday and he brought me a present. Apparently the shops can’t keep up with demand for a certain red hat “Make America Great Again” and I am wearing it everywhere.

  55. iampeter

    Sorry but I totally disagree with this post.
    Politics is not in any way a function of biology.
    Politics is a branch of ethics and people will side with what they believe to be right. Nothing else is a factor.

    Today most people are soft left by default thanks to the ethics of altruism that has permeated our culture for two thousand years. Everyone believes that it’s right that your life is not the primary.

    If we want to see individualism and capitalism and limited government have a resurgence we need to explain that your life as the primary is in fact what is right and pursuing your rational self interest is how you live it.

    Until we win the ethics we won’t win the politics.
    Taking this down the road of biology is taking the discussion even further away from where it should be.

    PS why Socialist vs Conservative? Those aren’t even opposite ends of the spectrum as most Conservatives aren’t too distinguishable from Socialists and are responsible for as-big-as or bigger expansions of the state than any leftist.

    Everything about this is just wrong.

  56. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Lizzie has hit the nail on the head.

    Thank you. Some seem to have missed it, but I got in early with my serious objections to this fanciful extension of the biological into the social at 7.26am. I’m keen on genetic imperatives and evolutionary socio-biology and ecological inter-species conflict as zoological studies but not when applied like this.

    As loony as ‘racial hygiene’ theories.

  57. Carl Chapman

    You might also like Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene, which is based on Wilson’s work and is easily read.

  58. Boxer

    I’m with Mr Rusty about Jonathan Haidt, but Haidt doesn’t really dismiss the genetic factors in my understanding of his hypothesis. I take it that we are all genetically prepared, in advance of learning, to respond to six fundamental moral foundations, and then our childhood experiences (the culture of our family and society), teach us to place more or less emphasis upon each of the six foundations. The left wing culture places most emphasis upon care, fairness and individualist liberty. Conservative culture also recognises the importance of sanctity, loyalty and authority, and liberty for the right often means freedom from authoritarian oppression (e.g. the Tea Party’s “don’t step on me” rattlesnake) rather than the freedom to whatever we like, to whomever we chose, whenever we feel like it.

    Recognising all six foundations requires a greater ability to trade off one principle against another, so a conservative has a wider and more complex moral base. The left is typically more individualist and the right is more collectivist. The left don’t understand the right, because they don’t see the significance of loyalty (tribalism), they dismiss authority (from conservative authorities), and all behaviour, no matter how intuitively disgusting, is okay provided you don’t hurt anyone (you hope).

    Conservatives are not lacking in compassion, but they know intuitively that to protect their own tribe from harm, they may have to do harm to other people, and even the children of those “others”. This requires weighing up the care foundation against the loyalty foundation. So the left wants open borders because they don’t appreciate the significance of their own tribe/nation to the future welfare of their own children. “Peace, Man” is all you need for the far left; to the far right it’s a case of “don’t try to get into my lifeboat, my children are in here”. Not hard to see how history will play out in favour of a conservative culture over-running a passive “progressive” culture.

    Haidt’s thinking also helps explain why so many people start off on the left and move through the spectrum to the right. It’s life experience teaching us that the sanctity, loyalty and authority moral foundations actually do count. The six moral foundations also enable us to understand why we are not binary “rabbit or wolf”; most of us suffer from moral dilemmas as we try to balance competing principles and many of us change as we age.

  59. Rod W

    Biology and genetics (or epigenetics) are not so much what is driving r and K behaviour patterns. It’s all about success strategies for thriving in different environments. For humans, these are programmable due to our more sophisticated brains.
    Bill Whittle explains this well (see starting at around the 6 min mark).

  60. Paridell

    Darwin did not “admit” that evolution was a theory. He proposed evolution as a theory to explain the origin of species.

    By the way, the chronometer of HMS Beagle is on display at the Museum of Australia in Canberra. It’s no. 91 in the exhibition A History of the World in 100 Objects.

  61. Chris

    +1 to everybody.
    This is shite.
    EvPsych is interesting stuff and trying to figure out where one crosses from scientifically defensible hypotheses to crank product is the main game. My twaddle meter is pinging like crazy.
    I developed it trying to understand gun control politics, mass shootings and the ‘mental disease that is leftism’, and I read Atlas Shrugged in Zimbabwe in 1998 so it was like seeing daylight arrive.
    But this? Status competition through political posturing is a far better model for lefties existence. You have to recognise the adaptability of the human mind to both evidence, to influence (eg Cialdini) and to self-interest. There is no genetic marker for being a fuckwit.

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