Biohistory and r/K theory are two of the hottest new socio-biological theories. This article will summarize these theories.  The next article, part two, will compare and contrast them from a culturist point of view  that is with an eye to how each can help us protect, guide and revive western culture.  But first, we must know what each theory entails. So, this article will summarize them, without much commentary.

Anonymous Conservative’s “The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans,” (EPBP) is the source for the r/K theory summary herein. My website has a chapter-by-chapter summary of EPBP. “Biohistory,” refers to Dr. Jim Penman’s book by that name.  A page-by-page summary of that book can be found here. Biohistory’s in-house videos and Stephan Molyneux’s r/K videos are also good resources. Necessarily, the cursory summaries below and online videos will fail to provide the nuances of each theory. Both books are, ultimately, ‘must-reads’ for all culturists.


r and K are different survival strategies. The r survival strategy works when resources are plentiful and you may get eaten at any moment. In such circumstances, quickly breeding is the best way to get your genes into the next generation. The rabbit is the archetypal r animal. K strategy works when food is scarce and you need to hunt in a group to get it. In such a situation, each new baby must earn its keep and be trained to do so. The wolf is the archetypal K animal. Humans lean towards r or K, depending on their environment.

Actually, there are 5 r-rabbit traits: 
  1. Aversion to competition (as there are lots of resources, rather than compete, rabbits just move to eat; fighting takes energy and rabbits lose all fights anyway)
  2. Tolerance for promiscuity (as all rabbits are the same, it makes no sense to distinguish between potential mates – r folk don’t do morals)
  3. Single parenting (rabbit life is simple. There is nothing to teach. So quick birthing and leaving is sufficient)
  4. Early onset sexuality (early menarche makes more rabbits)
  5. A lack of in-group loyalty (rabbits who go to protect other rabbits get eaten. There is no payoff for rabbit group solidarity). Liberals!
There are 5 K-wolf traits: 
  1. Accepting competition, (and that there are winners and losers)
  2. Rejecting promiscuity (wolves must select mates with the best genes if they’re to have offspring capable of hunting)
  3. High investment parenting (cubs must develop skills in order to pass on their genes)
  4. Delayed sexuality (you must wait for a wolf with means or at least see his skills prior to mating with him)
  5. Fierce in-group loyalty (they hunt and fend off predators as a team, so cannot carry lukewarm adherents, this is why wolves are found in packs). Conservatives!
r and K gene pools fight for dominance within human societies. As rabbits, liberals don’t think far into the future. And, they assume endless resources. So, welfare now, pay later! More importantly, government freebies literally create a favorable environment for their genome to propagate. At the same time, high taxes strip resources from the K. Congruously, rs ask government to constrain greedy big banks, big corporations, etc. as these resemble predators to them. Additionally, r species trend towards gender reversal, so rs promote strong women and don’t judge single motherhood. They promote males taking on female sensitivities. rs also promote sex education in schools and rights over duties. Normally, we try to connect party platforms via ideology. The genius of EPBP is connecting all via evolutionary psychology. Sex ed and higher taxes both further r genes.

An obvious product of an r-selected world.
Ks celebrate tradition because it implies an ‘Us versus Them’ world. The implied potential conflict reinforces the need for strength and scorn for weakness, which reinforces gender roles and so also high child investment pair bonding. Ks accept there being winners and losers in competition as fair. This makes winners attractive and undermines requests to have government reallocate their winnings to the rs. Conservatives promote a work ethic and family values rather than welfare. But, stopping welfare is more than a moral position; It reflects a lineage from prey animals, and literally cuts back on the environment in which the parasitic r genome can flourish. Thus, again, r/K theory asks us to look behind logic to biological justifications for politics: ideologies are genomes battling for survival.

Averse to competition, rs largely fight surreptitiously. Knowing K folks care heavily for the young, they use emotional pleas concerning children to solicit welfare. And rather than fight K directly, rs enlist enemy Ks to do so, (they side with the Vietnamese or Jihadis and restrict our K men’s fighting ability). They would never take a conservative’s gun, but they will ask the government to do it. They promote immigration, as they think there is enough for all. Additionally, having a multilingual nation erodes cohesion and loyalty as it justifies welfare increases. In their desire for a placid, competition-free environment, rs have the government enforce PC rules. And then they push their government programs by claiming they are superior (despite lacking accomplishments) in order to avoid direct competitive debating.


The brain’s amygdala signals fear. A small amygdala in monkeys causes impaired threat assessment (thus calling people ‘phobic’), and increases novelty seeking and appetite (moving for more grass) that parallels promiscuity; it decreases eye contact (verifying r being anti-competitive) as well as child care. EPBP links smaller amygdalas to such behaviors in humans via disease profiles, lesion studies and more.  The DRD4-7r allele builds dopamine receptors which, in turn, helps the prefrontal cortex control the amygdala’s fear. With a defective DRD4-7 allele, unable to control fear, r youth avoid combat and competition; thus the unused amygdala shrinks. Dopamine production is also correlated with oxytocin production, which promotes group bonding. Thus, EPBP identifies the very mechanism, (the DRD4-7r allele), that makes us r or K; liberal or conservative.


Very roughly, biohistory calls K, ‘High-C’ and r, ‘Low-C.’ C stands for ‘civilization.’ C is a temperament conducive to the repetitive work farming and advanced civilizations require. And, this needs emphasis, temperament is the main mechanism by which biohistory works. And, (a characteristic K does not emphasize), High-C folk work according to the impersonal rules of the market. Cs also innovate.  Like K, C engage in delayed, high-investing parenting. But, biohistory shows Cs lowering of sexual appetite can lower the overall population. And, differing from K, High-C people are not competitive or prone to violence.  So, K and High – C are not a perfect match. r and Low-C are a much better match.  Still, K and High-C do parallel each other.

In Biohistory, ‘V’ stands for ‘Vigor.’ As if derived from the K-wolf, V wins by war and high birthrates. That is, biohistory bifurcates the conservative, K animal into two: one a diligent worker, ‘C,’ the other a fighter, ‘V.’ High-V people have energy, but they cannot discipline themselves to master farming or science. V folk are patriarchal and accept authoritarian governments. V’s personal loyalty undermines market economics (if you only sell to those you know, your business dies).  They have a lot of children and are traditional. So when Vs dominate we get an aggressive, hierarchical government and imperialism. V causes population growth and earlier menarche. In distinguishing V’s militaristic competition from C’s economic success, biohistory provides much more nuance than r/K theory.

Lemmings alternate between periods in which their population expands and they seek out new resources and periods when they contract and avoid predators. Humans have a similar cycle. Biohistory documents human lemming cycles wherein C and V, chase, bolster, and undermine each other around a historical loop. In Britain, historical events confirm that C peaked around 1140, 1460, and 1760. During these dates we see economic increases paired with local loyalties and disorder. V peaked in 1260, 1580 and 1880. When V peaks, we get warfare, patriarchy and tradition. C undermines itself because (as r/K theory notes) wealth undermines discipline. This brings anarchy.  Then V temperament rises and quickly restores order. Then, when V brings too much violence, people go indoors and nervously work, restarting C temperament. 

The lemming cycle (with high survival rate).
The lemming cycle includes nuances and combinations. The peak of economic growth happens, for example, when C is declining, but is supplemented by early V rising. And the Germans beat the French in WW II because they were closer to the V peak in their cycle. Furthermore, humans use ‘cultural technologies’ to extend the C portion of the cycle. In particular, religious rites promote sexual abstinence and fasting, which convince the body, physiologically, that it is in an environment of scarcity. Furthermore, religion’s repetitive rituals inculcate tolerance for C behaviors which then increase the tolerance for religious ritual behavior, in a feedback loop. Ultimately, like sleep, however, the lemming cycle can be postponed, but not stopped.

Within the larger lemming cycles there are also ‘recession cycles.’ So while the West’s level of C has been on the decline for 150 years, ups and downs continue. The 1920s were high V. The increased testosterone went to optimism and the economic boom. This led to the collapse and anxiety in the 1930s, which led to dictators, (which makes no sense to us, but it does to stressed people). Children raised in the stressed 1930s became the stable parents of the 1940s and 50s. Their prosperity led to the 1960s and so on. Temperament moves politics and economics, not the reverse. But, ultimately, again, none of this reverses the larger lemming cycle. Thus, at the macro level, recession cycles aside, High-V Islam ultimately threatens to take over the West with its declining V and C. 

Skipping G and – necessarily  much else, finally, I want to explain S, which stands for ‘stability.’ This is a genetic (not epigenetic) immunity to large-scale collapse that older civilizations have developed.  The highest level of C makes you individualistic and non-traditional. The highest levels of V predispose you to rebel. Under foreign rule, these can lead to death. Thus civilizations that have been repeatedly conquered, such as China and India, lose the extreme V and C genes: this brings ‘High-S’ to a civilization. Unfortunately, in cutting off C and P’s peaks, S mitigates genius. Thus these older civilizations never entirely collapse, but neither will they ever replicate the achievements of their golden ages again. Northwestern Europe and Japan’s 19th-20th century dominance happened as they had never been conquered in the same way as other civilizational areas and were ‘Low-S,’ and so retained the capacity for extreme ‘High-C’ genius. Thus, if Islam overruns the West, progress will not recover.


Penman’s rat tests in his own labs are a distinctive contribution to current sociobiology. Calorie restriction reduces rats' sexuality, decreases testosterone, delays puberty, lowers disease, and increases exploration and maternal care, making rats High-C. 

This backs the idea of ‘cultural technologies’ working on our temperaments. Specific food and child-rearing patterns also make High V rats. Penman finds child-rearing patterns yield the expected characteristics in anthropological studies. But, ultimately, as this is biohistory, he demonstrates the reality of C and V lemming cycles, by using history to show patterns of child-rearing, women’s sexuality, hierarchy, local government, war, economic fluctuations, and lemming cycles across many civilizations, from ancient times to today. No small feat!


In the next article, I will critically compare r/K and biohistory by asking, “Which theory can best help culturists guide, protect, and revive western civilization?”

John K. Press, Ph.D., teaches culturism at a university in South Korea.  He is the author of the book, Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future.  More information can be found at www.culturism.us


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