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.
|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.