The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics by Anonymous Conservative
Federalist Publications, July 17th, 2014
I have had this book recommended to me many times over the last few years and have heard the concepts within brought up on numerous occasions. It was good then to finally get to it earlier this month and get a more in depth look at what was presented.
The r/K selection theory is a reproductive strategy observed in biology. As in my post title, the best example of r-selection is the rabbit whose instinct is tied to having an abundance of resources, reproducing with regard to quantity, not quality and with no loyatly to a group. On the oppsosing side is K-selection which is best exemplified in the wolf which lives within a habitat of scarcity and is therefore commited to raising healthy offspring in a highly competitive environment with in group loyalty vital to survival. What this book does is apply this to humans specifically with regard to conservatives and liberals in the American political sense.
This is best explained directly from the text early in the book.
“In humans, as in nature, the r-psychology is primarly an adaption to the presence of copious resources. This is a condition which reduces the advantages of producing fit offspring, in turn favoring raw numerical reproduction. By contrast, the K-psychology is an adaption to a relative scarcity of resources. This produces an increased selective pressure favoring the survival of more advanced and fit specimens. It also reduces the advantages of producing copious numbers of less fit offspring.
It is for this reason that the r-strategy, which is the evolutionary origin of liberalism, is most often seen in nature within prey species, while the K-strategy, which underlies conservatism, is most often seen in species which are not preyed upon.”
I’m usually sceptical of claims that boil human affairs down to simple differences whether they be mental, psychological, biological, metaphysical or otherwise. The very idea that reason and evidence ultimately plays little role troubles me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true though. The arguments presented in this book are interesting at the very least. And every time throughout the text that I was ready to raise a finger and say, “But..” the author seemed to have anticipated me. He addresses problems such as free will, and many exceptions to the rule early on.
The theory of course isn’t perfect and Anonymous Conservative acknowledges that with many pages devoted to anticipated rebuttals. One obvious but factually irrelevant one is simply of communication, as political liberals (assume modern American context), will find the theory offensive based solely on what I quoted above.
But then I think of so many of those irrational positions leftists hold today. You don’t have to look hard to find liberals thoroughly hostile to the sexual morality of Christianity for example. What’s more, it often seems to be their sole reason for rejecting Christ with “reason” and “evidence” merely respectable labels to hide behind. It makes sense that a biological urge to copulate without any thought for the consequences might be behind this. Why to would they show so little hostility to the far more draconion morality of Islam and even be respectful? Surely, if Christianity is bad, then it follows that Islam should be considered worse. Could it be a total lack of in-group loyalty? A biological explanation for this incoherence is certainly appealing and now there is evidence backing it up.
Another modern example is the way the anti-war movement formed during the presidency of George W. Bush all but evaporrated once Barack Obama was elected despite his continuance and even expansion of hostilities in the Middle East. Surely if they were anti-war, they would continue to be as long as the wars went on? Not once, someone with their mindset was in charge, they didn’t. Indeed the book covers something I’d been considering recently about the left finding the mass slaughter of Western soldiers (who tend to be right-wing), as fully in their interests. I was considering this more with the consequences of the World Wars rather than more recent ones but it still holds. And r/K explains how there might be an instinctual desire to see this happen on the part of the left.
This is what is very useful in the book as it gets where reason can’t. Thoughtful people often wrongly assume that there are rational or understanble reasons behind the various positions people hold. One of the major failures of conservatism has been the way the mainstream conservitives show undue respect towards the left no matter how many times they have to wipe spit from their face. After so many years of this, you’d think they would be wise to it. In fact many conservatives display r-selection like qualities by seeking approval from the left and thus ceding the moral ground to them and betraying their group interests.
Before SJW became the more useful term of derision, many on the right were using “rabbit” to describe leftists. The more I think about it, the more true it seems. If you’re like me and are ever bewildered by the suicidal beliefs of the left then this book makes a respectable and very plausible case for why they think this way. In many ways, the abundance that the West has enjoyed for so long has been quite damaging as it has seen the growth of a dangerous subset of our population. While in nature, this would require a cull, the only thing civilisation can do is be concious of this and fight back through attrition.
As my knowledge of biology doesn’t extend much past high school, I’m not equpped to criticise the concepts from this perspective. I did think there were moments in the book, particularly with the examples of National Socialist Germany and Communist Russia where the theory was stretched a little too far. It also doesn’t really work so well with regards to other cultures either but this is beyond the scope of the book. It is well worth reading for anyone on the right and the concept as a whole certainly deserves more research.
Anonymous Conservative also has a blog which is well worth checking out.