People have pointed me to this post recently. The title is, “r/K theory: Conservatives = r, liberals = K (reminder to the ignorant),” a title which basically screams insecurity at me. When you feel the need to make an argument, and add that anyone who opposes you is ignorant, that is try-hard. It feels like somebody trying to bluff their way to being believed.
The post is pretty much more of the same, though running a blog I can understand the pressure to write about stuff before you fully understand it. I was going to ignore it, but Heartiste linked to it so everybody saw it, and now I have to say something. I will be harsh, but this is sort of blog-harsh, since I assume he hasn’t really paid attention to r/K, and was just filling space for clicks. I do the same thing periodically, but just as I can enjoy bullshitting about stuff I know nothing about as if I am an authority, I can also enjoy taking others to task for doing the very same thing when I am an authority. It is one thing I love about blogging.
A recent comment blithely asserts that liberals show the hallmarks of a group adapted to an environment that is abundant in resources relative to the number of individuals competing for them, where life is cheap and time horizons are short, and where thoughtless rapaciousness is the norm. That contrasts with conservatives, who are alleged to show the hallmarks of the opposite end, where resources are stretched thin, where time horizons are long, and where stewardship is deliberate…
I left a bunch of comments in response, but the topic deserves a post of its own because I can’t stand when people bastardize SCIENCE! to prop up their half-baked ideas.
I met one Nobel Prize winner when I was younger. I had heard of him before I met him, and expected a serious, intimidating figure. They guy I met had a big, ready smile, was very positive and insanely cheery. You could tell him the earth was flat. He would furrow his brow and ask you to explain your thinking that led you to that. Then he would intently listen – it would genuinely interest him. He had nothing to prove, felt he could learn from anything, and would want to know every idea. He would accept every idea presented to him as potentially true, until he proved it wrong beyond all doubt to himself.
Vox Day wrote of this ability to accept that anything could be right or wrong as a characteristic of Ultra High IQs, and he was exactly right. If you have gone through life as a middling intellect, you cling to truths for safety, because you are afraid to be wrong, or not know something. You also give undue respect to the established beliefs, seeing them as sacrosanct. If somebody challenges some truth you hold, you freak out, and then you display dominance and scare off the threat – you get offended and play the Science! card, hoping to scare everyone else off. Because if you get offended by bad science you must be an authority, and everyone has to listen to you. You see this in the global warming bullshit artists.
A real high IQ can see so many possibilities that almost anything can be possible, so they assign everything probabilities. Some probabilities may be incredibly high. The world not being flat would be one. But if someone says the world is flat, I want to know why. Has he discovered some new mobius-like mathematics model that twists and folds dimensions on top of each other beginning at a single point of neutral gravitation and maximal mass? Unlikely, but I’d ask long before I got all huffy about it, declared myself offended, and told everyone how I now had to set the person straight.
Once I see this guy have to refute r/K because he, as ultimate scientific authority needs to perform a sacred duty handed to him by the Science gods, and stand up for “Science!” I tend to see a very high probability he is about to blow smoke, and from that moment forward my interest is waning rapidly.
But for amusement, lets look at the “science” he refutes r/K with, since this is probably akin to the arguments you are going to see online against it.
Before we start, how would a real scientist refute r/K? They would identify what r/K is, preferably using previous studies by third parties that are respected in the field. What traits comprise the strategies? Then they would find research respected in the field to compare ideologues’ traits to those traits. Maybe they would dig deeper into how those traits are produced, what the mechanism likely is, where they came from, and show how they fit into the r and K-selected environments.
Unfortunately for the opposition, that all was already done. It is why the book exists. You don’t need it if the general idea makes sense to you, but if you want to disprove it, you first need to walk through that reinforced concrete wall. Where are the studies misrepresented? Where are the behavioral traits wrong? Take your shots, I won’t get offended if you prove it wrong. But the probabilities are strongly against you. Ideology is r/K. Conservatives just don’t fit with highly sexed rabbits who don’t care for their young, and liberals are not objective-focused wolves who will fight to the death for their pack.
This guy, to refute r/K, gives some of his random thoughts on the subject:
“Saloons, brothels, and red light districts were more common per capita out in the libertarian / individualist / conservative utopia of the Frontier, than in a sleepy town back East. ”
If you have a massive population of young single men (many escaping the laws of civilization) with no women, in the middle of nowhere, might that skew the numbers on the prevalence of prostitution? It is like taking the per capita prostitution in the cities, and doubling it, just by removing all the women from the “capita” part. He doesn’t even think of that, let alone that technically the frontier would favor r/K breakdown psychologies, due to it being people seeking out reduced population densities, where group mores are less enforced.
Reduced population densities cause a breakdown in the rules of r/K. I point that out, and say such places will favor individualist libertarians (think grizzly bears) more than conservatives (think wolf packs). How do libertarians feel about prostitution? Are, say, Evangelical conservatives similarly pro-prostitution? Why not? If you grasp r/K’s density dependence, you know why. If not, you should not be holding yourself out as the authority on r/K.
What is that? He didn’t know r/K was density dependent?
Who has larger families, lives in low-density areas, where land has not been over-developed, with abundant resources, lower threats to their security, etc.? Not liberals.
Density again. And family size. The r urges are high sex, low rearing drive. The K-urges are low sex, high rearing. K’s want kids, to the point they preferred the smell of babies over coffee in a study. r’s do not want kids, to the point they preferred coffee smells over babies. It is why conservatives will raise children intensely, and want them protected from sexual deviants in bathrooms, while liberals do not care.
Which animal is more traumatized if you kill its babies, a mouse or an elephant? Yes conservatives have larger families. But eliminate birth control, like where these urges evolved, and those round heeled hippie chicks will have twenty kids they barely parent as they spend their time knocking boots and feeding their narcissism.
Then I would ask, what are resources? I would define resources as jobs. Where are you more likely to find a job? In the city, or in a sparsely populated country town, where if you don’t own a farm you are out of luck? Where is the work easier, at a desk job in a city, or on a farm (probably going bankrupt)? Again, I don’t blame him for not understanding r/K, but it is irritating he writes about it as an authority without understanding it.
Conservatives get married earlier, have kids earlier, including higher rates of teenage pregnancy.
Yes, but the key is, they get married, and want kids, so these are people not using birth control, who want to rear. And do the 18 and 19 year old mothers raise the kids in two parent households? Is that single teen mother epidemic white conservative country kids, or black inner city mothers? Is the earlier age at first intercourse among liberals or conservatives? Who has shorter relationship durations, and more sexual partners? All of that research points to liberals as the r-strategists who mater earlier, and more often, with more partners, but simply don’t have kids due to birth control and abortion. High sex, low rearing drive. That is exactly what produces lots of poorly reared offspring.
Again, this is kind of muddled thinking, mixed with a poor understanding of r/K. And I am still not seeing where he points to any study.
Time horizons are so short in conservative strongholds like Texas that the state has given its name to a form of card gambling, not to mention Las Vegas being in Frontier land.
Yes Texas holdem, completely disproves that humans adapt reproductive strategy to resource availability. Because the sub-population of gamblers in low-population density Texas is totally representative of the political conservative movement. This type of conflation of populations is the most common attack I see on r/K, and it is total bullshit. Why?
Pop quiz for those who understand the science – what liberal predisposing allele of a gene is associated with gambling? Yes, he just argued Texas is r-strategist by using a sub-population in Texas (gamblers)with high carriage of an r-gene that confers promiscuity and infidelity, addiction (to dopamine agonists, like pleasure and drugs), low rearing, and leftist predisposition as representative of the entire state. And he has no idea. He may never even have heard of the gene, even though the book on the subject, which he is holding himself out on as an expert, has a whole fucking chapter on it.
Plus time horizons are so short in Texas it has the most unbalanced budget, and is growing its debt far faster than liberal strongholds like California. But he also points out that mobsters built a town in the fifties in the desert, and the mob decided the gambling rackets were a lucrative way to exploit it, so if those ideological conservatives in Las Vegas are into gambling, conservatives must be r. Did I mention that the leftist-predisposing gene is also related to criminality? So he uses a criminal-run town, laden with gamblers high on DRD4 7r all around, as an example of conservatives who are r. Forgive me if I am wrong, but isn’t Vegas exactly how we had Senate Majority leader Harry Reid?
We’ll ignore that he keeps indicating frontiers are K/conservative/wolf when they are really r/K-breakdown/libertarian/Grizzly-Bear.
And the tendency toward making a living by shiftless get-rich-quick schemes (cattle, gold, oil, etc.), shows how short-term-oriented the Frontier people were compared to the settled, more liberal folk back East.
Amusingly, as long as we have abandoned looking at any peer reviewed studies, I would bet if you isolated the conservatives who were high up in those things, you would find establishment cucks who support George W Bush’s calls for more immigration, but that is just a guess.
Even so, he argues ranching is low-investment high-gain, and short-time-horizon? What study shows that? I would bet real ranchers would disagree, but as you see, we are just throwing out general impressions here.
Again, we will ignore that r/K is density dependent.
Only a retarded and ignorant idea, i.e. that conservatives are K-selected, can lead to the prediction that conservatives would be pushing a “one child policy” rather than being the most fervently natalist.
Again, he seems to not grasp r/K Theory is about the urges which drive the behavior. r-strategists do not want kids. Their urge is to not want to deal with them. They want to have sex, and not raise kids. That is why they expect free birth control. Kids are, as Obama said, “a burden.” They don’t care about kids. Mice eat their own babies under some conditions. Combined, the high-sex/low-rearing drive produces the strategy of mating, and pushing kids out as fast as possible. Think Cher or Jane Fonda in the sixties, without abortion or birth control. Round heeled, she’d bang everyone she met, get knocked up, ignore the kid ASAP, and then repeat the process.
K-strategists want kids, and that is why they will raise them so eagerly and invest so much. Think Sarah Palin. Of course an r-strategist would want to ban kids, and conservatives would want more. They key is, who would have more children and raise them piss-poorly absent birth control and abortion, Cher, or Sarah Palin? Who would only have a handful, and be absolutely madly in love with them, and sacrifice their lives for them?
If you took away the knowledge of birth control and abortion, Cher is going to be popping out a new kid every nine months for 40 years starting at age ten, and cursing every one as an impediment to her fame and sexy time. Sarah’s life would look exactly the same as it does now.
Then there is this:
Urban blacks shoving their open hands in the white man’s face is as r-selected as it gets — abundant resources (white people’s money), squeaky wheel gets the grease, intense competition amongst each other and against other non-white groups to get the biggest piece of the white money pie.
They have no fear of over-grazing the white cash commons, or killing the honky goose that laid the golden egg. See post-colonial southern Africa.
But that’s just the demand for welfare from blacks.
The actual provision of welfare comes from whites, and it’s K-selected — part of a stewardship strategy to take care of one another, now that in an industrial urbanized ecology, resources are no longer so abundant that anyone can sustain themselves and their family.
This basically makes the case that white liberals are r-selected by his own measure, because the white liberals are just like “the blacks,” in that they turn around and stick their hands out to everyone else, and expect the money to be there. Liberals spend everyone else’s money on the welfare they champion. They don’t turn to America and say, “Chill out, I’ve got this,” as they dig into their own wallets. They turn to America and say, “Give me $4 Trillion dollars to give to these welfarites.”
If “the blacks” expecting the money from white liberals is “totally r-selected,” then what is white liberals turning to the rest of the country and expecting that money be given to them for welfare, healthcare, birth control, tampons, and on and on? In a way, they are even more wasteful than the blacks, because the blacks are at least putting that money into liquor, pot, and women. The liberals are just spending it without even knowing what it goes to.
What about the nation being $20 trillion in debt because of policies like that? Are liberals worried about over-grazing the fields of America’s budgets as they pursue welfare utopia for everyone? Are they worried about over-grazing the Health-care fields as healthcare costs explode, and Obamacare collapses? Somebody is over-grazing America, and it is not the small-government conservatives. Whose time horizons are short again?
In fact, if anybody is sticking their hand out to provision the less fortunate themselves, something he seems to imply is ultra-K, then according to the research it is conservatives who give vastly more to charities out of their own pockets than liberals. But charities are selective. They are about helping people you feel kinship with, so they are more K. Giving money blindly to every piece of shit who asks is r, and that is the left.
I’m beginning to see the problem though. Humans are animals, and if you begin to get racial on r/K urges, you will miss that r and K are in all races, to varying degrees.
I don’t oppose in-grouping around race. I think it is a natural K-instinct, and when everyone in-groups, it is a sign of a natural competitiveness that also translates to increased patriotism and nationalism, and a healthier society. When you break down racial in-grouping, with it goes all loyalty to the nation, and from there comes the destruction of a collapse. But for purposes of understanding the mechanism of r/K, you have to recognize r and K are everywhere. Plus, when the Apocalypse comes, everyone needs to recognize there are r-whites who will need some form of excommunication along with all the r’s they sought to import. In the aftermath, r-strategists will be the enemy.
I could go on, but I already feel like I have lost fifteen or twenty IQ points just through osmosis. Before you attack the ideas of others, and long before you get “offended” by them based on “Science!” read the fucking ideas and think about them. r/K is the most important idea in modern politics. I’ve actually been taught everything in this professionally, long before any of this emerged, from the basic biology, to the genetics, to the neurochemistry, to the epigenetics, to the cognitive neuroscience and neurobiology. I’ve done the time to able to speak authoritatively on this subject.
r/K will change everything. But don’t go “debunking” it as a half-baked idea until you read a few hundred of the studies supporting it, and understand the most basic ideas behind it. If a study says something other than what the book alleges, call it out. If you think there is an error in logic in applying the study, call it out. But don’t do the full refutation with some random observations of general impressions of conflated populations, without even realizing how density dependence breaks down r/K under conditions of low population density by eliminating the peer interactions that favor r or K. Learn about the amygdala, grasp the genetics and the epigenetic effects. Think about the urges that drive r/K.
This is pretty representative of what you can expect in opposition to r/K. It is a lot of sound and fury. But the people who attack it will have never read the book, basically because everyone who reads the book will have no argument to make. In the context of the studies, it is very hard to find a chink in the idea’s armor. The arguments opponents do make will probably be a lot of random ideas off the top of their head about conflated populations that may or may not actually have any relation to the ideas behind r/K. The logic underpinning them will probably be poorly thought out, given the fact that they are opposing an idea that is so obvious most morons would see it the moment they looked at it. All of them will be talking out of their asses, or at least the probability they are talking out of their asses will be impossibly high.
One bright spot I see is that he never mentions this site or the book. That means r/K is becoming so ever-present, and people are hearing it in so many places at the same time, that nobody even knows where it came from now. I fully expect that some day this site will be viewed as some minor site among millions supporting the idea, and it is possible nobody will have any idea where the idea first came from. It will be like asking where the idea of water being wet came from, or who coined the term “clouds” for the white fluffy things in the sky. Nobody will have any idea, because they will have heard it everywhere. Try to claim to have come up with it, and people will laugh at you.
Some day, r/K will be everywhere, and there will be no denying it. My only hope is Evopsych will be seen as the source text, rather than some less researched and less-supported work by a guardian of science who really doesn’t understand the idea.
Clearly we are reaching stage two of the idea’s dissemination, which will be highlighting the massive support for the idea in the peer reviewed literature, and showing how little those who oppose the idea actually know about it.