Modern society gives the illusion that we as people and societies have adapted and advanced significantly throughout time, however in reality we as humans, animals, have some instincts that are inherent and cannot be changed no matter time or technological advancement. In evolutionary and environmental terms humans and other organisms have and will remain in similar situations throughout time and relative populations. These selection theories can be applied to the daily lives and issues surrounding society and politics in modern day. Every population, animal, organism or political ideology will exhibit either an R or K selected strategy depending on things such as resources, in group loyalty and the like.
So how does this apply to our modern society? Lets examine R selection first. R selection is most often associated with liberalism and the accompanying social behaviors and ideas. Each strategy is typically adapted so as to best compete with peers within their environmental and social surroundings. “ The R strategy entails five main psychological traits, each trait is designed to help an organism out compete its peers in the R selected environment of free resource availability (Anonymous Conservative).” This political and social pathology in categorizing those five traits helps apply them to their corresponding environments in the following ways; aversion to competition with peers and the competitive environment, tolerance or embrace of promiscuity, low investment single parenting and early onset sexual behavior amongst offspring, tendency not to exhibit group centric ideas or urges for in-group loyalty, hostility to out-groups or any sense group centrism. How does this apply to the basic platforms of liberal ideologies?
Most leftists will embrace or accept most if not all of these 5 main traits of R selection. Liberalism’s aversion to competition and competitiveness amongst peers and outside groups leads them to typically oppose war, dislike confrontation, capitalism, and push for equality whether real or perceived. The Left’s typical acceptance or embrace of promiscuity, promotion of early on-set sexual behavior can be linked to leftist platforms such as a push for Planned Parenthood, free birth control, frequent lack of familial planning, teen pregnancy, tolerance or embrace of a pro-life, abortion acceptance lifestyle, love of provocative celebrities and music, acceptance of casual sex and pushback against “slut-shaming” The sexual liberation, my body my choice viewpoint. This same high rate of promiscuity results in a higher rate of single parent homes, and children born to couples who are unmarried.
Aligned with this we see frequent higher birth rates and a low investment parenting style because of a lack of two parent households, multiple kids needing attention and unexpected pregnancy, pregnancy at a young age or lack of time. We often see children in these environments receive less attention, involvement in their day to day lives, education or overall upbringing for a variety of factors some as simple as a single parents needing to work long hours to make ends meet and therefore being unable to be present as frequently for their child.
Lastly, liberalism’s aversion towards singular in-group identity and lack of rejection of potentially harmful out-groups, and of group centrism manifests itself in a multitude of ways. Liberalism has a pro-tolerance, pro-diversity and inclusion platform. This means versus having specific in-group preferences say based on ethnicity, race, heritage, class, social identity, religion, sexual orientation and so forth, liberalism seeks to blend all groups in to one giant in-group. This again avoids hostility against an out-group and supports their tendency to be against any sense of competition or lack of equality amongst groups. This is how the R selection strategy can be directly correlated to the liberal platform, viewpoint and agenda. On the flip side the same similar five traits affect K selection theory proportionally to their belief systems, resources and environment, this is the pathology most usually associated with those who are considered to be conservative or traditional.
The K selected strategy, or the pathology that aligns most closely with conservatism views these same five core concepts from a different view which directly impacts their political and social platforms and beliefs. “The K strategy entails an embrace of five opposite psychological traits, K selection favors; an aggressive embrace of competition, and the competitive environment, where some individuals succeed and others fail based on their inherent abilities and merits. It rejects promiscuity in favor of sexual selectivity, and monogamy and it will strongly favor high investment two-parent offspring rearing. The K strategy favors delaying sexual activity amongst offspring until later in life when maximally fit. Finally in its most evolved form K selection will tend to imbue individuals with a fierce loyalty to their in-group to facilitate success in in-group competitions, danger, shortage and conflict are the evolutionary origins of the pack mentality. They are ever present in the extreme K selected environment (Anonymous Conservative).” Understanding these five opposite pathologies we can look at how they impact social and political norms typically associated with those on the right.
The K selected pathology favoring aggressive competition and the competitive environment manifests itself in their leanings towards capitalism, war, the ownership and use of personal firearms, a lack of acceptance of the idea that all humans are born inherently equal and are guaranteed equality and success simply because they are human versus on their individual merits, effort and personal achievements. By nature, K selected strategies reject concepts of communism, socialism, the redistribution of wealth and often-large scale welfare or social programs preferring people who are able remain competitive and seek to provide for themselves and their families absent such programs.
K selected individuals usually want to see their children shielded from sexual imagery in culture, have sex education delayed until they are mature and monogamy is preferred while promiscuity and single parent households are discouraged. They tend to favor pro-life, sexually responsible lifestyles over indiscriminate sex with multiple partners outside of marriage. In the same way they favor high investment parenting, with a pro-traditional family lifestyle with two parents. They often will have less children than R selected individuals with a focus on heavily investing in the smaller amount of offspring they have making them most competitive and fit for the world once they become mature. They prefer children within marriage versus outside of marriage and having children that are usually planned and that they are able to easily provide for and offer large amounts of their time to. Conservatives may often adopt a more traditional lifestyle where one parent stays home with the children and also possibly homeschools them to be actively involved in their education.
The final stage and strategy exhibited amongst K selected individuals in a strong sense of in-group loyalty or preference. This is evident in the tendency of conservatives to be incredibly patriotic towards their countries, consider themselves nationalist and put their country first. They are likely to serve in the military considering it an in-group they must defend or belong to other such in-groups that they highly value. Such groups may include religious organizations, local community organizations, and direct involvement in their children’s group, sports, or academic organizations. They will exhibit a strong emphasis on family and other in-groups. Subsequently, their in-group preferences will give way to a pack mentality making them weary of those out-groups they view as threats. This may include things such as rejection of those they feel do not support their strong value systems, those who they view as a threat to their people, such as enemies of war or terrorism. They will often place the needs and safety of the group above their own individual needs and the requests of an out-group.
It is evident that both R and K selection theories serve distinct and different purposes for the survival of varying groups. They also can be directly attributed to distinct social and political pathologies, which make them valuable in assessing the goals and priorities of both the individual and group as well as society as a greater whole. Both are necessary to even each other out universally, as we see in nature that different strategies and ecosystems keep the environment balanced. Understanding of both selection theories makes it easier to view individuals and groups through generalized pathologies and therefore communicate and regulate social and political environments accordingly, making R/K selection incredibly valuable within the regulation of society as a whole.