If there was an easy to explain theory that caused a controlled demolition of your detractors’ entire political worldview and left it neatly collapsed into its own footprint, wouldn’t you like to know how to articulate it? Incredibly, r/K selection theory seems to be able to do exactly this. It shows without a doubt why a conservative, back to traditions type of sociopolitical system is the healthiest and most natural approach for the human species to embrace.
If you logically distill any idea that applies to humans down to how it biologically and evolutionarily affects us, you will generally end up with the most beneficial system of that type. For example most people would agree that science has confirmed that concentrated sugars and fats give a temporary burst of pleasure, and that the associated dopamine surge in our brains is an evolutionary mechanism that came about to help us seek out calorically dense food sources in the wild.
The problem with this mechanism is that it leaves us susceptible to the over indulgence of highly refined sugars and oils that are so freely available in our modern post-agricultural world. Over consumption of them is linked to a range of chronic diseases and so we have to do our best to temper our pleasure seeking food desires with the knowledge that these things are harmful in excess.
If the drive for calorically rich food can be so problematic, what about our sex drive?
The reproductive strategies of different animals are born out of different environmental pressures and what types of resources (mostly food) an animal requires to survive. Because the ‘r’ selected traits in these examples below emerge strongest when animals have a near limitless access to their food, it’s usually the more herbivorous and/or lower on the food-chain type of animals that fall into this category. As you see with the ‘K’ selected traits, since these emerge out of high competition environments, you get a lot more of the omnivorous and carnivorous animals that fall into this category. If you memorize the following two sets of 5 traits and develop a solid understanding of them, you will be armed with the most effective political debating weapon ever conceived.
The 5 Traits of ‘r’ Selected Animals:
- Low-investment and/or single-parenting with lots of kids
- Early sexualization of offspring (compared to length of lifespan)
- Loyalty to family over the tribe
The 5 Traits of ‘K’ Selected Animals:
- Competition proficiency
- High-investment in fewer offspring with dual parenting
- Late sexual maturation of offspring
- Equal loyalty to the family and the tribe
In nature r/K selection exists on a vast spectrum. On one end you have the least parental investment possible (such as a male fish fighting for territory and then spraying a cloud of semen over thousands of unattended eggs) and on the other end you have the most investment (such as two human parents raising their child right until adulthood, and even paying their way through University). Here’s a rough idea of what this spectrum looks like with a few different animal kingdoms used as examples:
(r) Insects <— Fish <— Most Reptiles <— Most Mammals —> Most Birds —> Canines —> Humans (K)
If you were to zoom in on the most ‘K’ selected end of the spectrum that features humans, you’d find various species of primates not far behind us. If we just focused on humans however, we’d see a range within just our species as well. In the ancient and even pre-agricultural world the closer to the equator you look, the more ‘r’ selected the cultures generally were, and often still are. This was shown through a greater tendency towards polygamy and other forms of non-monogamy because resources were fairly abundant for these cultures during their evolution over the last 10,000-50,000 years.
Some people are quick to point out there’s Kings and rulers all over the world, and specifically in Europe, who have practiced polygamy in some capacity. That’s certainly true as any ruler will concentrate wealth under their control and they can then easily support multiple spouses and offspring. This was not widely accepted by the highly ‘K’ selected European public however, so it was nearly always done in secret. Exceptions to the rule tend to get a lot of people’s attention, but individual examples don’t demonstrate accurate trends.
Polygamy was also simply completely absent from the non-royal artistocratic and middle classes in Europe, whereas in more equatorial regions those classes would frequently have a small harem, never as large as a Sultan or other ruler, but still often more than one spouse. This meant a lot of men in the lowest class were either slaves who weren’t allowed to have wives, or they were forced into battle to die and free up more women to marry up the ancient economic ladder.
Having a harem of women or multiple wives is seen as a status symbol in the Middle-East, Africa, and some parts of South America. In many cases child marriage is even still practiced in these regions (‘r’ selected trait 4. above). In the business world of these regions there are far greater rates of nepotism which has the effect of reducing competition in the marketplace (‘r’ selected trait 1. and 5. above). The value systems of the people in these regions has them unable to understand why this isn’t ideal.
Any time a business selects someone for a job based on any factor besides their proficiency, such as promoting someone because they’re a family member or having to adhere to gender/racial affirmative action laws, this causes a loss of potential economic growth within that company and then the larger market as a result. If a culture’s entire economy functions in this ‘r’ selected way it’s clear how technological progress slows down.
By contrast the further North you go in the world, such as Asia or Europe where these populations evolved for 40,000-50,000 years in climates that were resource scarce, K selected traits have been more strongly selected for over time. Monogamous pair-bonding (often for life), dual parenting, strong in-group trust for the tribe (family is important to ‘K’ selected people, but not to the detriment of the tribe), and a greater willingness to cooperate and trade rather than conquer and steal, due to high-trust having been a behaviour trait selected for epigenetically during the last ice age.
It’s important to point out that European conquest internally or externally didn’t really take off in a major way until after an ‘r’ selected Middle Eastern religion came in and subverted the native beliefs throughout Europe. Indigenous ‘K’ selected pre-Christian Europeans were definitely capable of war, but it was more rooted in self-defense and survival than a desire for conquest and empire building. Imperialism came about from extreme changes in social structure which can be explained with r/K selection theory.
While Christianity is far more ‘K’ selected than say Marxism, it’s still more ‘r’ selected than the pre-Christian European social orders. An exception to this would be the Roman empire which was based on a pagan belief system, but through its expansion and conquest it gradually became increasingly ‘r’ selected from things like the abundance of sex slaves they kept. This eventually turned into all out sexual degeneracy practiced by many Romans, but especially the elites.
“This is in the sense that the matrimonial bond was strictly observed by the Germanic peoples, this being compared favorably against licentiousness in Rome.”
“No one in Germany laughs at vice, nor do they call it the fashion to corrupt and to be corrupted. ”
-Tacitus, Germania (Ch. 18, 19)