Friday, 29 November 2013
Book Review: The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics by Anonymous Conservative
Anonymous Conservative is a writer with whom the entire Manosphere should be well-acquainted, and it is deeply unfortunate that we are not. His blog is one of the key reference points for any red-pill-aware man who wants to understand why governments and movements do what they do. His book has actually been out for a while- years, if I'm not mistaken- but was never really available in digital form until fairly recently. It took me quite some time to get around to reading his work in full, but I must say that it was worth the wait.
AC has made this work freely available to download via Amazon Select, and I strongly recommend that you take advantage of this and sign up for his free email alerts which will tell you when the book will next be available for download. The reason I say this is because the amount of work and thought that he has put into the book is tremendous- he's basically putting a masterwork of thought and reason out there for free. You'd be plain crazy not to take advantage of this.
(That said, I do believe in paying good money for quality. AC, in the unlikely event that you're reading this, I'll be happy to kick some cash your way via PayPal in return for your book. It's only right.)
This book is one of the most important works on politics that you will ever read. If you've found yourself wondering why Vox, Roissy, Aurini, The Observer, Elusive Wapiti, and I all refer to liberals as "rabbits" and conservatives and libertarians as "wolves", it is because of this book and its contents. The book essentially uses the established and well-understood binary heuristic of r/K selection theory to build a convincing logical argument that explains very well the current dichotomies in our political debates. He also helps explain why so many seemingly highly intelligent people believe such colossally stupid things these days. And in passing, he presents highly effective rhetorical tools and strategies for winning debates with opponents on the Left.
(There's an interesting aside somewhere in the middle of the book about the evolutionary psychology of libertarianism. All I can say is that I don't quite agree with it, given that my opinions on politics and human freedoms are very strongly K-selected, but it's worth reading nonetheless.)
At the core of the book is the theory of r/K evolutionary selection. This is a theory that has been well known and very well understood for decades. The basic idea is that organisms adapt their evolutionary strategies and tactics to their environment. The type of environment- and to be more specific, the carrying capacity of that environment- is extremely important. An environment in which a population of organisms will never consume all available resources, either because of extremely plentiful resources or high rates of predation, will lead to very different evolutionary outcomes than an environment in which resources are scarce and therefore organisms may quickly reach the carrying capacity of that environment. In the former case, organisms will adapt to an evolutionary strategy of fast reproduction and low investment in offspring- because, after all, there is little point in investing huge amounts of time and effort in raising high-quality offspring when death could be right around the corner in the form of a predator, or when resources are so plentiful that the offspring will survive regardless of how much time and effort is put into their rearing. In the latter case, parent organisms recognise that the future of their genetic line depends upon rearing offspring that will be strong, independent, and successfully adapted to the resource-scarcity of their environment, and so will invest enormous amounts of time and effort into raising them properly.
Two additional key insights help turn this book into something other than just another book on evolutionary strategies. The first, which AC readily admits is not his own, is that every single organism on Earth is compelled to pass on its genetic information. This is just a fact, and it is as true of highly complex and evolved species like wolves, lions, and humans as it is of viruses, bacteria, and protoplasmic organisms. This urge to propagate our genetic code in recognition of our ultimately doomed existence is the absolutely fundamental driver behind any amount of behaviour. The second insight, which is AC's alone, is that these strategies are inseparable from psychology. It is not appropriate, in fact, to think of these as "strategies" so much as psychological modes and patterns of behaviour. If you think about it for a few minutes you will see precisely why this must be so.
From this foundation of critical insights, AC has developed a powerful and coherent theory that explains so much of the world around us that I'm amazed I never came across it before. His basic argument is that liberalism is an r-selected psychology, which takes as its starting point the belief that there is plenty to go around and there always will be, restricted only by the predations of unknown and terrifying forces that no liberal in his right mind would ever confront himself. Therefore, it is right and just to "spread the wealth", to ensure that there is "fairness" for all, and use the power and force of government to crack down on those who would resist. It also makes sense to absolve oneself of responsibility towards one's offspring and adopt a promiscuous, hedonistic lifestyle; after all, resources abound and life is good. (Or, as my sister puts it when she really wants to annoy me, "YOLO".) He argues that liberals exhibit limited loyalty to in-groups and are actually quite afraid of true confrontation on an individual basis, but are fully capable of confronting anything they want in large mobs. And if you've been paying any attention whatsoever to the way political debate works in the West, you know damn well that he hit the nail square on the head with his descriptions.
Conservatives, by contrast, understand in their very bones that times will not always be good and that ideals that we today associate with masculinity- martial values, courage, honour, strength, loyalty to one's kin and tribe- are to be prized and passed on to one's offspring. Conservative psychology dictates a belief in high-investment parenting, absolute loyalty to in-groups, low tolerance of promiscuity and homosexuality, strong belief in "traditional" values, and the desire to be left alone as much as possible to pursue individual freedoms and individual ends. Again, none of this is the least bit surprising if you're a frequent visitor to this blog and thousands of others like it.
One very interesting additional insight made by AC concerns the amygdala and its link to political ideology. This is a seemingly odd aside that actually has tremendous explanatory power in relation to the theory that AC is proposing. As AC points out, the amygdala controls so much of our behaviour that it isn't even funny. The amygdala allows us to suppress feelings of fear and pain, but it also acts as a store of cognitive memory biases that allow us to recognise danger instinctively, without even thinking about it. The example that AC gives is of a friend who, as a child, walked on an ice-covered lake and fell through at a point when the ice was thin. Forever afterwards, his friend would listen very carefully for cracking ice and would exercise extreme caution in walking on iced-over lakes- because his amygdala was telling him, subconsciously, to be careful and avoid danger.
AC's research shows that liberals have smaller amygdalae, on average, than their conservative counterparts. This is a very large part of the reason why liberals exhibit far more risk-taking behaviour, in the form of hedonistic and promiscuous lifestyles, than conservatives do, while exhibiting far less caution and wariness about "outsiders" than their K-selected counterparts- which is why liberals tend to be so strongly in favour of unlimited and unchecked immigration, and tend to sympathise with the causes espoused by the enemies of their country.
The explanatory power of this book is quite simply astonishing. The methods by which modern political thought evolved and took shape suddenly become clear and transparent, when before one would be left wondering just why the hell anyone could possibly think that the magnificent fraud of Marxism made any kind of sense to anyone- in short, the reason it made perfect sense to a lot of useful idiot liberals is because those same idiots found a justification for their paradigm of endless resources and endless happiness within the convoluted, logically tortured, basically unreadable work of intellectual sophistry that we know today as Das Kapital.
There are a couple of flaws to this book that need to be pointed out, and I hope that AC expands upon his theory in future or fixes these issues in subsequent editions. The first problem that I have is with the fact, known and observed throughout the last three centuries, that nations which have given in to the stupidity of r-selected values have almost instantly seen slow-to-rapid declines in population and fecundity. This trend has gotten much worse over the last hundred years, to the point where we are looking at truly epic population crises by 2070 in most of the developed world. (I'm reading a book right now that goes quite a long way towards explaining this, and will post a review of that one once I finish it.) This is in direct contradiction to the logical outcome of an r-selected society of rapid breeding and low-investment parenting, as the theory does not appear to fit the facts. AC partly answers this by pointing out that freely available and heavily subsidised birth control has made it possible for r-selected individuals to engage in highly promiscuous behaviour while also reducing or even eliminating the negative consequences associated with such activity, but this is not a completely satisfactory answer and requires considerable work and elucidation before I am willing to fully accept AC's ideas.
The second major problem lies in the fact that the book promises to help you answer liberals in debate quickly and easily, but in fact there is very little time devoted to rhetorical tactics and ideas that one can use to easily confound and dismay the opposition. The closest that he gets is a passage late in the book in which he points out that the best way to stymie liberal opposition to gun control is to call them cowards to their faces- because, let's face it, they ARE. Liberals will NEVER go up to conservatives in person and demand that we turn over our weapons to them. They will instead rely on the brute force of government to do the job for them through K-selected proxies in the form of policemen and the military, who are loyal to their nation even when they question the wisdom of their nation's government. Calling liberals "bunny-men" who are frightened of guns is, to be sure, a highly effective tactic- part of what AC calls an "amygdala jack", in which the K-selected individual pushes his r-selected interlocutor's sensitive points by overstimulating the parts of his opponent's amygdala to the point where dopamine production goes into overdrive and the r-selected individual literally becomes unable to function. AC explains this sort of thing much better on his blog than he does in his book; I would argue that he could add another chapter to this book dedicated solely to the theory and practice of amygdala jacks, and that would actually greatly increase the quality of the book.
In closing, AC has written a masterpiece here, one that every reader of this blog should go out there and purchase or download immediately. I cannot stress enough just how important this work is to your understanding of the world and how useful it will be in the development of your own ideas and paradigms. And if you can find a way to support the works of AC and others like him, please do so. The fight for civilisation depends on men like him working to preserve and defend it.
Didact's Verdict: 5/5, a must-read book for any Manospherian.
Get the book here.