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August 23, 2014

OT Thread - Unified Theory of Politics Edition [WeirdDave]

OK, here's the final piece in the puzzle in my series of posts leading up to the unified theory of politics. If you recall, I first wrote about Freemen vs Serfs, followed that up with a post musing about the left's elevation of emotion over logic, and two weeks ago I pointed out Evan Sayet's excellent "regurgitating the apple" theory, which is simply an extension of Alan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind". Bloom undoubtedly owes a great deal to C.S. Lewis' "Abolition of Man", and all of it flows back to C.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy.

As excellent and seminal to conservative thinking as all of these works are (not my blathering, the other stuff. One commenter, no doubt in a fit of drunken "I love you man" pathos called me a "national treasure". Well, so is Washington's bedpan, and we have one thing in comm on what we contain.), it still leaves one feeling like the blind men describing the elephant. They are all little pieces of the whole, but what's the big picture? Is there a grand unified theory that explains all of this?

There is, actually, and that's what I want to discuss today. It's not something that I came up with, and I can't even tell you who it actually was because s/he published under the name of Anonymous Conservative. Its a shame we don't have a name, because what Anonymous Conservative (for simplicity I'm going to refer to AC as "he" because I just don't know which sex AC is) came up with is damn brilliant. He published a book called "The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans", and it he goes right down to the roots. AC looks at the whole political question from an evolutionary perspective called r/K theory. Here's what he says:

Groups of animals have two basic strategies that they can adopt to ensure species survival. In an environment where resources are abundant, the classic example is rabbits living in a huge meadow, the correct approach for the species to adopt is r. r-selected populations demonstrate certain characteristics:

The r-strategy entails 5 main psychological traits. Each trait is designed to help an organism out-compete peers in the r-selected environment of free resource availability. The psychology exhibits a psychological aversion to both, competition with peers and the competitive environment. It also exhibits a tolerance for, or embrace of, promiscuity, low-investment single parenting, and early onset sexual behavior among offspring. It will also tend to not exhibit any group-centric urges, such as loyalty to in-group or hostility to out-group.

Contrast this with a K population, one that lives in a highly competitive environment with scarce resources, think wolves on the tundra:

The K-strategy entails an embrace of 5 opposite psychological traits. K- selection favors an aggressive embrace of competition and the competitive environment, where some individuals succeed and others fail, based upon their inherent abilities and merits. It tends to reject promiscuity in favor of sexual selectivity and monogamy, and it will strongly favor high-investment, two-parent offspring-rearing. The K-strategy also favors delaying sexual activity among offspring until later in life, when maximally fit. Finally, in it's most evolved form, K-selection will tend to imbue individuals with a fierce loyalty to their in-group, to facilitate success in group competitions. Danger, conflict and shortage are the evolutionary origins of the pack mentality, and they are ever present in the K-selected environment.

-Anonymous Conservative

What is important to note is that neither of these survival strategies is wrong. A K selected species would be at an extreme disadvantage in an r environment. While a lone wolf was carefully selecting it's mate and carefully raising it's one supremely fit offspring, its competing r species would be pumping out offspring by the dozens. The reverse is true as well. In an environment of scarce resources rabbits would soon starve en mass, while the capable few wolves would thrive. As I said, neither strategy is wrong, they're just solutions to different realities. AC then takes this basic premise and applies it to politics:

Of these five traits, (competition aversion, promiscuity, single parenting, early onset sexuality, and aversion to group-centrism/ethnocentrism), political leftists exhibit a tolerance of, or an embrace of, all five. Indeed, as we will show, these five urges explain the entire liberal platform of issue positions. Liberalism seeks to quash competitions between men (from capitalism, to war, to citizens killing criminal attackers with privately owned firearms). Liberalism also adopts a lax attitude towards rampant promiscuity if it is not actively embracing it. Liberals tend to support single parenting... Liberalism exhibits a tolerance for, or an embrace of, ever earlier sexual education for children as well as an even more sexualized media environment, to which children are exposed. Liberals tend to reject ethnocentrism, and view any tendency towards a pack mentality as an odd and foolish evolutionary throwback.

Clearly, conservatives favor competition, from capitalism, to war, to armed citizens fighting off criminals with personally owned firearms. Conservatives accept that such competitions will produce disparate outcomes which will be based on inherent ability and effort. Conservatives favor a culture of monogamy over promiscuity, and they tend to desire a culture which favors high-investment, two-parent child- rearing.... Conservatives also tend to want to see children protected from sexually stimulating themes or sexual education until later in life, so they will be likely to delay the onset of sexual activity until they are mature. Of course, conservatives have always viewed liberals as exhibiting diminished loyalty to their nation and it's people, because to a conservative, patriotism, and a support for "one's own," is a vital moral quality in peers, and it's expression can never be too exaggerated.

-Anonymous Conservative

Here's the depressing thing. Human beings are naturally K selected. Competition is the one constant in human history, and we are designed to thrive in a competitive environment. Indeed, look at all the great civilizations throughout history. All of them rose to greatness by out competing other civilizations or hostile environments. The depressing part is that the seeds of their downfall were sown by their success, because as they grew great, they created a society of abundance, which demands an r-selected strategy for success. Remember, neither strategy is wrong, they are just different answers to different environments. A successful K-selected society invariably creates a world where r becomes the appropriate strategy, and thus it collapses, and the cycle begins anew. We are conservatives because we recognize that however nice things are in the US, however rich we are, however free, the trials and tribulations that we had to surmount to achieve the success are still out there, and they still demand the same response. Progressives look at the prosperity of America and assume that it was ever thus and ever will be thus, and so they adopt an r selected lifestyle. Sadly, I don't know how to break this cycle, or even if it can be broken, another conservative realization is that human nature doesn't change. I do know one thing, however. If this great and glorious American society does come crashing down, there is another, even older, even more primitive term that will describe to our r-selected brethren.


* The quotes herein come only from the introduction to Anonymous Conservative's book. I recommend reading the whole thing, he gets deep into the implications of his theory, all I can do here is scratch the surface.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:15 AM

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