r/K selection

A recent article I wrote referred to a Blaze blurb with an excerpt from The Future of the Gun, by Frank Miniter. It explored the effects on world outlook and life choices that gun control laws have on the people subjected to them. Short version: because the gun is a symbol of power, taking away legal guns from law-abiding citizens undercuts the appeal of the “law abiding and productive life” to young men, making them turn to gang and thug life for “power” and respect,” via gun ownership.

I’d heard reference to “r/K selection” theory before, but didn’t really know much about it, and the early comments were not so interesting I pursued it. A posting on the topic, “Unified Theory of Politics Edition” at Ace of Spades was interesting (especially comments #167 & 169), interesting enough to do some digging where I came across a Bill Whittle video on the topic. Fascinating stuff; go watch it. It’s based on a book by “Anonymous Conservative” called The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans. Super-short summary: eloi and morlock.

Slightly longer summary: A population is “r-selected” if its basic assumption is unlimited resources, so fast breeding is the optimal reproduction/survival strategy. Think rabbits on the prairie. It embraces short time preferences (next election is long-term), low-input parenting (welfare state breeders), avoids competition (unlimited resources, remember?), early promiscuity (sex-ed in grade school), and no in-group preference or out-group hostility (multiculturalism and globalism). You can also think “liberals,” or Rome at its most decadent.

A population is “K-selected” if it’s based on competition in a limited-resource environment. Think wolves in a northern forest. It embraces the opposite of the rabbits. Fewer offspring later in life among the fittest individuals that are raised intensively, competing aggressively within the group according to rules to determine the fittest, and aggressively fights off challenging out-group tribes. Think “conservatives.” Also, “Spartans.”

Basically, the theory is that k-selected peoples, working hard and aggressively over time, dominate an area. Once they rule, there are relatively unlimited resources for that people (protected by the k-types), so r-selected breeding takes over and very quickly they outnumber the K-selected members, the group becomes soft, weak, rabbit-like, and another k-selected group that is still sufficiently ruthless comes in and takes over.

An r-type sub-population will attempt to use the k population’s preference for rules to subjugate them (because the r-types do not plan on following the rules), and can actively use the k-type out-group aggression to cull them from the r-type breeding population.

Looking at the population dynamics, gun control and international unilateral disarmament makes sense to the r-type, because the random criminal predation and international war will kill off the more slowly reproducing k-selected types as fast or faster than the fast-breeding r-types that are living off the excesses generated by the hard-working K-selected population. Different reproductive strategies lead to different behavior and different values. But birth control and modern technology have thrown a huge curve-ball into the dynamic.

America is a statistical outlier because for centuries we received an unusual percentage of k-types as immigrants, and the frontier gave centuries of k-selection pressure that still had historically high reproductive rates, because of huge untapped resources.   When a “tribe” is weak or small, k-types are essential for survival, unless the plan is to be co-opted into a larger outside group. BUT. Once a tribe is dominant, then for the r-types (who are averse to competition) the k-types are not just expendable, they are a danger to the r-types. Russia spent a half-century aggressively culling its k-types, China has spent thousands of years doing the same. Weakening the population, dragging down the strong and fit is just as necessary as supporting the weak and unfit for the r-type survival strategy…. Right up until you come across someone with enough k-selected types that you are exterminated.

The US Constitution is effectively a K-selection legal system, with competing branches, competition in elections, states competing with states. That is why liberals have so much contempt for it.

What’s it all mean? I don’t know. But it’s some food for serious thought.

UPDATE: One irony is that it is usually the political left that harps on and on about limited resources, the environment, the need for population control, sustainability, yet decry the competition that would actually reduce demand on those limited resources the conservatives implicitly recognize.

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