Skip to comments.How Minor Strategies Can Emerge Within the r/K Paradigm (Where Libertarianism Fits In)
Posted on 01/20/2013 7:24:37 AM PST by AnonymousConservative
It is well accepted that r/K Theory will not always yield an ideal strategy for every environment. Subtle nuances of an environment can make certain mixtures of r and K-strategies advantageous in that particular case, and produce slightly different psychological qualities. This is why after r/K is taught in college, those who go further into the discipline are taught to further subdivide strategies into life history traits, specific to a species. One of the most well characterized examples of deviation from r/K is the fact that r/K is density dependent.
If you have a lot of individuals, crammed together in an environment which can support a high density, these individuals will interact, and you will get r or K, depending upon the need to compete for those resources, and exhibit practical fitness relative to peers, or the need to avoid such practical competition and demonstrate a simple ability to attract more mates.
If however, the population exists in very low density, and the land cannot support a high density population, things will change, since individuals will spread out and interact less. Since resources will be limited, individuals will need to be able to fight, and be aggressive/competitive. However, One will need to travel over a large territory to find sufficient food. So even though resources are limited most of the time, and such individuals will be aggressive when necessary, they will never be able to mass into a group, because the group would not have enough resources in their territory to support all of them. This will produce a more individualistic, less group-centric psychology, which seeks to be left alone, but will still be willing to fight with others, when necessary.
In such a model, mating can also become less competitive, since a potential parent may not have an enormous number of potential suitors to select among. This will make mating more promiscuous, and less selective. Carried to an extreme, parenting may even tend to shift in the direction of a single parenting model, simply because a mother and father would require too much food. A single mom may have enough food left over in the territory she covers to also provision her offspring, whereas if the offspring are raised in a territory which is already supporting two parents, she may not. Disgust reflexes might also diminish in this environment, since a spread-out population would suffer disease transmission less than a densely packed population.
If you look at this minor strategy you will notice two things. First, it would only be present in a small number of individuals in the human population, relative to r and K, since r and K would rapidly explode anywhere the environment provided lots of resources, with this cohort probably existing at the margins, colonizing harsh areas with little resource availability. Second, this model would seem to describe the modern Libertarian.
HBD Chick runs a brilliant site examining how in-breeding may have produced the modern Libertarian. The idea she is promoting is that if you inbreed enormously, people tend to become very tribal, supporting relatives, while being wholly untrusting of outsiders, since their inbred group ends up sharing a lot of genes. As a result, an individual favoring the members of their in-group, would be favoring the continuance of many genes they themselves carry just they would be favoring them in closely related, inbred relatives. It tends to produce tribalism. But if you moderate the inbreeding effect, you may get an individual who just doesn’t trust outsiders, and wants to go their own way, but in whom there is less tribalism. If you follow her work, you will find yourself agreeing with her premise again and again, and blown away by the clever ways she shows how the data supports her premise.
However although she explains how such a trait would arise, unless it is adaptive, it will not remain, since it will be culled. Here, I suspect the Libertarian psychology may have persisted once moderate inbreeding produced it because it was adaptive to harsh environments, which would not support large numbers of humans. There may have been a feed forward effect as well, whereby a harsh environment, which could only support a limited number of people, created a moderate inbreeding effect, which enhanced the Libertarian psychology.
I view the spread of human populations like a dammed stream, filling a mountain valley with water. As we spread out, r’s (Liberals) probably headed into areas of rich resource availability. They avoided fighting and killing each other, mated freely, and raised children quickly in single parented families. As populations increased rapidly in those areas and resources became exhausted, K’s (Conservatives) began to predominate, competing with each other, mating carefully, and rearing high-quality offspring carefully in two parent families, and the r’s moved on. This was akin to how the water from the stream would first spread into all low-lying areas of the valley, here akin to resource-rich, easily survivable, and uninhabited areas of the world.
As time went on, K’s remained put with their groups, and slugged it out competitively, while some individuals began to spread laterally, into harsher areas with sparse resources, which as a result, did not favor r. These individuals ended up akin to the water which moved up the valley walls, after the stream filled all the low-lying areas. They reached areas which were more difficult to survive in, and lived there in smaller densities, where individuals were free from group-centric social constraints, since groups were either small or non-existent – and relatively unnecessary to survive.
Today, Libertarians can’t grasp why r’s want to control K’s with government, or why K’s oppose things like indecency in media, or single parenting, promiscuity in others. The Libertarians are just designed to focus on their own survival, and leave others alone, and they can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t do the same. To their psychology, it is illogical, and the root of a lot of problems which don’t need to exist.
Nevertheless, since people periodically ask me how this relates to Libertarianism, I just want to point out the flowing. If you look at r/K in nature, among wild animals, you will see descriptions of minor variants of strategy, and some of them could be construed as being an individualistic psychology, designed to leave others alone. It would be less reliant on urges to control others, or to produce group functionality by punishing deviations from group-centric, pro-sociality-producing social mores and values. It would probably include diminished disgust, more sexual liberation (or at least tolerance of it), and less of a desire to interact with (and control) others.
Although all of this almost certainly has some sort of genetic root, I get the impression from my readings that a lot of ideology is also adaptation to environmental cues. In short, although we humans have genetic political predispositions, we have also evolved genetically to be highly adaptable to environmental conditions. Perhaps suddenly fluctuating resource availabilities, sudden periods of war and peace, and sudden shifts in population characteristics culled our populations over the eons, only leaving behind those who had adapted effectively on the fly. Libertarians do tend to exist in areas with few other people and low population densities, which does not surprise me.
I suspect I get the question so much because Libertarians are extraordinarily mechanistic and logical in their mindsets. This may be due to their freedom from r/K and their strategy’s history of having to understand and solve difficult problems alone, in order to survive their harsh environments. As a result, they see the r/K material innately, and understanding it, immediately wonder why they are different. I know that the reason I have seen this is probably my deeply imbued Libertarian/hyper-logical instincts.
The short answer for those who wonder why they are Libertarian is that they are just the Grizzly Bears of the political world, as opposed to the K-type wolves, and the r-type bunny rabbits. Libertarians want to go their own way and do their own thing, and if someone pushes them around, they are willing to kill them for their freedom. There is probably even a lesson there, in the origins of the American ideal embodied at our founding.
I don’t see how that long term view helps America, my interest is in America and what American conservatism is, that will never return, the 1965 Immigration Act saw to that.
I’m just saying that libertarianism is preferable to socialism.
Libertarianism is just childish fantasy stuff, just another part of the left, yet that likes conservative economics.
Kind of like a Heroin pusher who wants his heroin and hooker business legal, but who also wants low taxes and no welfare, but he doesn’t realize that his vote is one, while his 1000 customers votes outnumber his, and they all want to raise his taxes for their welfare payments.
First, you should probably explain your terms right off. I still don’t know what r and K stand for and why those letters were chosen.
That is a link in the text, to an article explaining it. They are variables from equations describing population dynamics in evolutionary biology.
Secondly, I’m not at all sure that, say, the Republican states represent a truly more competitive environment than the Democrat states. Surely New York is more competitive, more K than Montana.
There is more opportunity to avoid competition, supported by the populace, and more punishment of success, in the form of taxation. So I would expect a higher standard of living in New York, than I would in Montana, if I didn’t work. I would also expect more punishment, if I were successful. I saw an article here, a while back on a guy who left NY for Florida, having heard benefits were better down there. He discovered, not so, and moved back. The article was about how dissatisfied he was with the three free apartments he was shown in the City when he came back. He was holding out for a second bedroom, or something ridiculous, and it looked like he would get it. Look to the benefits system in Britain, for where Liberalism leads. A guy with no job or productivity has fifteen kids, and the state pays for everything.
Without the Donald Trumps of the city, making the money for the fairy land, NY would be crap.
Third, you fudge things by associating female aggressiveness with r environments and fatherly abandonment, when others would simply give women the credit for pursuing the same competitive strategies that men do.
Right, that is what r/K Theory says. It is called a reversal of sex specific behaviors. Females pursue aggressive endeavors which are male behaviors in K. I did a blog post on a chick in the UFC who fought her way through a fight with her jaw split down the middle. She had her mouth open at one point, and a photographer caught a pic of it. You could see the teeth on one side suddenly drop, where her jaw was hanging lower on that side. Guys online laugh at it. It is unnatural, from a K-perspective, where women don’t fight, and they should never get injured. We tolerate it now because we have gone r.
Fourth, it’s pretty clear that larger smarter animals might have a greater potential for fellow feeling (at least with their own kind).
This is solely related to group competition. All of Darwin is selfish. Empathetic animals love their compatriots because that love translates into survival advantage when they compete as a group, and the alternative no love is to fail and be killed. And Wolves love as much as a human, if not more.
Fifth, it’s clear from everything I can see that more competitive environments (New Jersey, Connecticut) do put off breeding until the young are more able to compete and do invest more in education (at least for the chosen few). The problem with the theory is that those environments are politically liberal.
Competitive how? They tell citizens don’t fight back, or have weapons. They are filled with Liberals who want safety. There is a researcher in intelligence who is a rising star named Michael Woodley. He has written a lot on summarizing the type s of intelligence. The theory today is specialist intelligence probably began as an r-strategy of competition avoidance. That is, if I don’t want to go toe to toe with someone in the economy, I specialize, to avoid having to. On mating, see below.
I should note, if the revolutionary war were tomorrow, both Jersey and Connecticut would fall in a minute to Texas, probably aided by the Conservatives in those states (I know which side I would be on). There is competitive in areas with little risk, and then there is competitive.
The conservative states are the ones where more people marry and have children earlier even when it may get in the way of education.
Yes, high rearing drives of K mean there will be an explicit love of children, and desire to invest in them. When that is all that determines offspring production (among the conscientious, at least), K’s will have more kids. Combine a low rearing drive with contraception, and abortion (the two lowest investment rearing strategies possible), and r’s will choose not to have kids. Things would be different without those two things, and indeed, in the inner cites, where conscientiousness is low enough there is low compliance with Birth control, you have a young, single mother epidemic. At the higher IQ levels, Low rearing investment urges at the extreme just manifest as a lot of old angry feminists with twenty cats each. But those feminists began their ride on the carousel in their mid to early teens, and rotated among partners throughout their lives aggressively. It was just a combination of IQ and technology which kept them without child.
There isn’t one “liberal” evolutionary strategy. There are two (at least if we judge by how people actually vote).
I’m not sure what you mean by this. What are the two Liberal strategies?
Theories like yours might have fit politics better some years ago, when wealthier areas of the country were more conservative. Nowadays, though, some of the richest people are very liberal. Contraceptives also throw off your theory. Promiscuity isn’t necessarily associated with many offspring. I also have to wonder, comparing the two halves of the country where people really start having sex earlier or whether there is really that much difference between liberal and conservative areas (leaving aside a few areas that really are distinctive).
Again, I am not saying these urges function as r or K today, or that they are adaptive. Civilization, and these urges have just met, so they will clash, until Darwin sorts out a model of each which maximizes effectiveness at reproduction and survival. I am saying here are the r-urges, here are the K-urges. Look, they match what is driving Liberals and Conservatives, and they crop up in response to resource availability, too. Obviously, give an r-organism access to a technology which allows unlimited sex, with no down-time for baby-rearing, and you won’t get high offspring number.
I haven’t gone through all the ins and outs of your theory and didn’t want to be very confrontational, but now I have to wonder. This explains all of politics? The people you approve of resemble the larger, smarter mammals we ascribe positive qualities to and those you disapprove of resemble the smaller, stupider, swarming creatures? Isn’t there something reductive and creepy about your theory?
Here’s something to blow your mind. Suppose I’m actually right scientifically, and your statement above is right, as well.
Does the fact this work is insulting to Liberalism mean, automatically, Ipso Facto, that it is wrong? Is that evidence I am off, scientifically? Or might I be right, and it is insulting to Liberalism?
Might Liberalism, as an r-strategy, embodying r-urges, in a K-species, be aberrant by our overall K-standards, and as a result be prone to be judged harshly by the majority of our populace?
What if the science supports my work, and even worse, I am right? Should I censor it?
Or maybe it’s just a reworking of the ant and the grasshopper or the tortoise and the hare
Fables play on very deeply imbued urges it is why they persist.
“Libertarianism is just childish fantasy stuff, just another part of the left, yet that likes conservative economics.”
No. Like I said, I am instinctually Libertarian. The thing is, Libertarianism would work, if we were all spread out, rarely in contact with each other, resources were scarce, and Darwin had free reign.
Don’t view this as a human, view it like an alien anthropologist from another planet. Libertarians are just programmed for one environment, and trying to apply it to another environment, where it doesn’t work well. The force of the urge is why they can’t see it.
The only way I broke free of Libertarianism, and decided to embrace Social Conservatism, was by seeing all of this work. If you can explain to people - here is what your urges are designed to do. Here is the urge’s ideal environment. Here is just how they are not well adapted to this environment. It hits buttons. Once you see where you would be happiest, and how this environment is different, and how you need to adapt to it - maybe we can let some logic in the door.
Libertarians (not the druggie losers or leftist/gay infiltrators) are smart enough to come around, if we welcome them right.
I agree with your goal and hope that you can find a way to make libertarians into conservatives, but what I see, is that they (the druggie losers or leftist/gay infiltrators) are turning the GOP more and more leftist.
I know. The funny thing is I don’t think most are close to being Leftists. My Libertarian urges were borne of the strongest truculence you could imagine. In retrospect, it is almost irritation at having to deal with other people. What the hell do you mean you’re going to tell someone XYZ?!
It is uncontrollable, unless you realize it is an urge, and not logic.
I have no doubt how this ends. The Federal Government will go down, very suddenly, and the headlines will all include the word unexpectedly. Very quickly, just like after Sept 11th, nobody will admit to having been a Liberal. I really think it will be so weird, that if we read the articles about it now, we wouldn’t believe it.
So keep the faith brother. God loves America.
We will be seeing that shortly, in the global arena. Modern agriculture is getting better and better at getting more crops out of a given acre of land. Unfortunately, it takes money: money for fertilizer, money for herbicides/insecticides, money for machinery and fuel. You get to the point where the productivity of some of the population is not enough to get paid enough to buy food. And the willingness of the Western middle class to impoverish ourselves in order the feed the world is lessening.
Somewhat of a “WHAT” you know, vs. a “WHO” you know formula for success. Thinking is good, but overthinking tends to lead to goofy things which work fine on paper and not at all in the real world where unexpected things happen.This, I believe is why they think they are “smarter” when the evidence is clear that they are not.They think a professor or philosopher or actor is superior to a useful person who has a farm, a ranch, a repair shop, etc. (That is, until things go belly-up, and then they see the error).
“We will be seeing that shortly, in the global arena.”
I think you are right. Not only costs, but we may see loss of confidence in currency, massive economic slowdown, solar activity is about to go into a minimum, weather seems to be getting more aggressively destructive, and all of it is happening just as r-numbers and K-disatisfaction are both peaking. It just seems like multiple ways for things to go bad, and one way for a perfect storm of sorts.
I can’t point to a specific piece of evidence, but it does have the feel of a perfect storm of some sort.
“Somewhat of a WHAT you know, vs. a WHO you know formula for success.”
Great analogy. Exactly.
Competitive the way people are competitive in the modern world -- economically. But it's not just a matter of economic incentives. Prestige also counts. And it has to do with aggressive what used to be called type-A behavior. Production costs are probably not competitive on the coasts, but if you were looking for the most fiercely and ferociously competitive people in the country, you wouldn't want to overlook talent agents, entertainment lawyers, or bond and options traders, and where do they cluster? Whatever the economic incentives and disincentives people who leave New York or Los Angeles recognize that they're entering a less stressful, less prestigious environment. Taxes may increase, but so far it hasn't made big city people less materialistic or less driven or less competitive (assuming that they have jobs in highly competitive fields).
What are the two Liberal strategies?
Look at the states where divorce rates are highest and those where they're lowest. That may have something to do with aging populations or late marriage or vestigial conservatism, but those rates tend to be lowest in blue states, highest in red ones. Or look at the rates for teen pregnancy or illegitimate births by state. It's the same pattern, which leads me to think that the blue states that are following a K strategy rather than an r-one.
Leaving out outliers like the very rich and very famous and leaving out periods like the 1970s when people of all backgrounds where divorcing and leaving their families, a lot of liberals are upper middle class people who pursue upper middle class breeding and rearing strategies: late marriage, few children, heavy emotional and financial investment in those children. You can say a lot against them, but they aren't breeding like rabbits or abandoning their families more than other people. They may encourage other people to do so, and that may be an evolutionary strategy to ensure that their own children come out ahead as others falter. It's like supporting public or progressive education when your own kids go to private or traditional schools or get extra tutoring, summer programs and other benefits.
What you're saying is basically what liberal blue staters say about conservative red staters only turned on its head. The reproaches that you make based on welfare populations in the blue states are similar to the attacks they make on red state populations (based largely on the welfare recipients there). Since I objected to their oversimplifications, it's only fair play to reject yours as well. The country is much more one than two, with the same tendencies at work in both the red and blue halves.
“Competitive the way people are competitive in the modern world — economically.”
You have to internalize a lot of info about r/K to get this. One of the things about intelligence is that there are different types. If you look at it compared to r/K there is a growing perception that Specialist Intelligence (vs General Intelligence) is an r means of exploiting a niche top avoid competition, during periods when resources are not so scarce as to support the necessity of using violence to survive.
“Prestige also counts. “
Again, status is more important in r-environments, when you have a wide variety of fitness levels existing due to a lack of culling. It is why a lot r-species have unusually flashy males. They use the flash to signal status, or superior fitness in some regard, to mates. In K, just being alive, and able to provision a mate is a sign of fitness, so there is less flash.
“ferociously competitive people in the country, you wouldn’t want to overlook talent agents, entertainment lawyers, or bond and options traders, and where do they cluster?”
Again, specialist intelligence. If resources actually became scarce enough that those who didn’t have food would die, and food was very scarce, all those guys would be dead, with a bunch of US Marines and Navy SEALs splitting up their stuff. There is competitive in an r-environment, and competitive in a K-environment. They produce different psychologies, because the environments are fundamentally different. We have not seen true K in a while. It doesn’t mean we didn’t and it isn’t when we were imbued with Conservatism.
“Look at the states where divorce rates are highest and those where they’re lowest.”
This was a leftist blogger’s contribution, and as was shown in several places, the mixed variables hid that it was Democrats who divorced more in the Conservative states, and never married in the blue states. The best examination of mating, pairing, and rearing investment drive I have seen is below, though Gallup, and GSS data show the same thing, albeit in different ways. Libs have more partners, shorter relationships, and want to rear kids less. Bear in mind, these are the intelligent Liberals, not the welfarites.
“a lot of liberals are upper middle class people who pursue upper middle class breeding and rearing strategies: late marriage, few children, heavy emotional and financial investment in those children. You can say a lot against them, but they aren’t breeding like rabbits or abandoning their families more than other people.”
Remove birth control and abortion, and I will bet you would have a ton of young single moms in that cohort, based on the data above. That is how it evolved to operate. The fact that contraception and abortion have allowed it to operate differently doesn’t change where it came from.
“The country is much more one than two, with the same tendencies at work in both the red and blue halves.”
Again, if you want to hold that perception, you can, but the researchers who have taken everything apart in detail, from John Jost, to Neuropolitics, to Altmeyer and Adorno, to the GSS say we have two strategies in our population. I point out, if you look at the established traits of ideologies in the literature, you will see a correlation to r/K. History says leftists will crash the country, and we will probably have some sort of post-crash conflict between left and right. That is hardly one. Already, we see guys on here talking about “CWII,” and resources are still really plentiful. Have no illusions, if resources grow scarce enough, it will get nasty in a way we haven’t seen recently, but which is probably more normal to our species than we would imagine, looking at the entirety of our history.
I’m just pointing to the research of others, and saying look at this correlation. If you don’t see it, it is a shame. It is interesting, it cleanly fills in holes people have been wondering about for decades now, and it does it with a well worn body of research. As you can see by this thread, those it hits, feel the ground shake beneath their established paradigm.
That looks like the kind of thinking that got Mitt Romney in trouble: the assumption that poorer people are always going to be Democrats and richer people Republicans. A lot of divorced people in the red states are poor Republicans, and a lot of the people in the blue states who never got divorced are well-to-do Democrats.
I can also see that differences in out-of-wedlock marriage rates may be related to contraception and abortion. But if breeding or child rearing strategies are something real, then such practices -- however distasteful -- are part of such strategies. If you are pursuing a strategy of limited breeding and high investment in offspring then that is what you are doing, you aren't "really" pursuing some other strategy that you'd be following in the absence of condoms and birth control pills.
For one thing, a lot of people would be less sexually active if there were no condoms or birth control pills. Also, the town I grew up in has become quite liberal since my parents' day. Yet when I go back there I don't see everybody hanging out at the local bar for random pick-ups. There's a lot that you can say against the yuppies who've crowded out other people, but they aren't promiscuous, they aren't divorced more often than other people are, and they aren't abandoning their families (though enough of their fathers did that in the 1970s).
In the city things are different, but as their counterparts reach their thirties they do start to settle down (and move out to the suburbs). While marriage rates may be lower for this generation than for some others, for those over 30 or so, it's not exactly all sex all the time.
It sounds like you're really invested in the idea that two parts of America are pursing radically different evolutionary strategies, and also that somehow violent struggle for life is somehow the norm, even though most of our lives don't reflect that. I don't think anything or anybody's going to convince you that you may be taking things too far.
“It sounds like you’re really invested in the idea that two parts of America are pursing radically different evolutionary strategies,”
Again, I base my arguments on the data, and not possible anecdotes about who it seems likely is following what strategy. Read the last chart at the neuropolitics link, Go to the GSS site, check Gallup, and tell me where it is most likely those Liberals got those urges, from an evolutionary standpoint. More sex, more partners, shorter relationships, less desire to rear children. It matches r perfectly.
I never understood why we didn’t get an infinite number of ideologies, all pursuing different mixes of agendas. Instead everybody aggregates around two main ones, while a minor strategy of Libertarianism (which might actually be a logical compromise) is wholly ignored.
“and also that somehow violent struggle for life is somehow the norm, even though most of our lives don’t reflect that.”
Again, you seem to be ignoring a lot of what I am saying. I am not looking at how these urges are perfectly adapted to today’s world as r and K-strategies. They aren’t perfectly adaptive. The present world is less violent, which is part of why Conservatism is doing worse for the time being (and did better after Sept 11th). But, understand, the primitive switches in our heads which trigger these are still there. Let resources get scarce, or things get violent, and you will see Conservatism rapidly rise. Give free resources, and r will gain strength as long as you keep the resources flowing comfortably.
I am saying violence was a large part of our evolutionary history, it emerges in K-selection, it doesn’t emerge in r-selection, and it shows in our two sets of urges, one of which is still adaptive to that violent environment. Notice, under this model, the second you flood a society with free resources (like freely borrowed money) you initiate r-selection, which I maintain trips switches in our systems that increase the adherence to an r-strategy. Look how r we have become since the mid eighties, which themselves followed Carter’s resource limitation. This ecological analogy is predictive going back. If it is predictive going forward, we will see our system crash (as any glut of free resources always tends to end in nature).
You seem bent on implying that despite similarities to known Darwinian strategies, ideologies have no biological root. You also seem set on the fact things have changed forever, and we will never go back to a more primitive form of existence. I disagree with both.
I think the Romans believed that thigns couldn’t change too, right before the fall, and the pillaging of barbarians which followed. Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East, Bosnia was unbelievably Cosmopolitian. Things change, as they have throughout history. It is why I believe we can adapt our strategies on the fly - something which will probably be quite useful in the next three decades here, if current trends bear out.
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