Liberty Justice and Peace: Political Psychology and The Structuring of the United States
William A. Fortune
Virginia Union University
I have adhered to University policy regarding academic honesty in completing this assignment
Submitted to Dr. M. Orok on behalf of the faculty of the school of Humanities and Social Sciences and Undergraduate Studies in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Art in History/Political Science
Semester Year: 2016
Problems in civilization arise when opposing ideologies seek to direct society. The reason the promotion of one ideology versus another causes conflict, is because each strategy require different environmental pressures to support their ideology. Societies encouragement of one ideology versus the other oppresses the environmental pressures needed to allow the opposite ideology to succeed; thus, causing individuals to either conform, or be oppressed by the controlling system. In the United States a political system of checks and balances was purposely created to decrease the likelihood of a particular ideology implementing a dictatorial system. Although the U.S. has protected people from each other, it has only provided humanity with an ideal notion of how life could be, an ideal which must be protected and persistently worked towards to keep and improve.
Keywords: Conservatism, Liberalism, Classical liberalism, r/K-Selection Theory, Political Worldview.
Due to the climate in the world of political discourse today it seems imperative that we revisit, internalize, and embrace the terms liberty, justice, and peace. The Declaration of Independence which declared the U.S. independence from Great Britain stated that all men are created equal and granted natural rights to all men which could not be denied. The notions of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are the foundation of the American way of life. The thought of liberty has influenced many changes within the United States; however, as we know, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States allowed for men to be denied their natural God given rights. Nevertheless, the concept of liberty burned in the minds and eyes of those who were not spiritually broken, the same desire the signers of the Declaration of Independence had expressed. Nat Turner, Fredrick Douglass, and the Sons of Liberty are excellent examples of people who were advocates of the concept of liberty and how it flourishes in the minds of individuals.
The United States is credited with providing the world with a beacon of freedom. Unfortunately, we could argue that today in some situations there are examples of how freedoms for a select few have been limited. What caused the change of direction from the concepts on which the United States of America were founded; and what keeps us from realizing these concepts? Although the United States has provided freedom for enslaved Americans of African descent and the rights to citizens who did not have them, today Americans have become bogged down with the process of ever justifying the reason for having a specific liberty and why they should or should not be limited. For instance, there are debates on the right of gun ownership or whether the government can collect mass data on its citizens.
To understand the cause and struggles faced by Americans who were and are denied liberty we must understand the political psychology of the people. Political psychology seeks to unveil how attitudes affect decisions, and how the attitudes were formed (Erisen, p. 10). The major political ideology today are conservatism and liberalism. Defining the terms conservatism and liberalism cannot be set to one meaning for they are usually expressed as being a spectrum of ideas. Liberals and conservatives argue for different positions on most issues and have deeply divided beliefs (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 9-10); thus, liberals and conservatives are different by definition.
The influence conservative and liberal ideologies have on the United States cannot fully be expressed. However, conservative and liberal ideology undermines the philosophical foundation of the United States. A foundation founded on the ideas of classical liberalism. Classical liberalism is the idea that people are and should be unrestricted rational actors with the ability to pursue their desire (Lakoff, 2002, p. 19). Competing ideologies have created an environment in which the dominant ideology gets to define what morality means, restructuring the world in the image. The environment which we find ourselves in is one in which will not allow for the realization that all men are created equal with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Statement of the Problem
The two major political strategies, conservatism and liberalism, is shaping human biology and psychology, while defining morality within the United States of America. The intentional pursuit by liberals and conservatives to implement strategic policies that ensure the development of their strategy versus the other will lead to the persecution of individuals on the opposing side. These strategies include ideal beliefs of how to raise children, marriage, and the way the world should be. Societies intentional pursuit of either ideology will naturally suppress individuals of the other group.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this research is to use an r/K-selective Theoretical lens to scrutinize the foundation of liberal and conservative strategy, unveiling their differences to illustrate how the United States of America is and has been influenced by conservative and liberal strategist. Both the liberal and conservative strategist require certain environmental pressures for their continual existence. r/K-Selective Theory will illustrate the biological foundation and psychological differences of both liberals and conservatives. After reveling the environmental pressures that shape the biological structure of these strategist, we will take a deeper look into how the biological structure, specifically the brain structure, influences psychological processes creating strategist designed to operate within a specific type of environment.
Significance of the Study
The benefit of addressing this research problem allows for conservatives and liberals in addition to Americans as a whole in the United States to see the importance of politicians removing their personal belief out of political policy making. The benefits of removing personal agendas from political policy and sticking to the philosophical foundation of the U.S. will allow for America to continue in a prosperous direction. Liberal and conservative attempts to direct the country in a direction that favors their strategy will always put pressure on the other strategy, which in response will cause a coalition to arise to combat the dominance of a particular strategy. In times of political conflict, the progress of the country is halted to address the influence of personal agendas. The reason personal agendas halts progress and deserve to be addressed is because it is an attempt by individuals to gain control of the coercive power of government.
r/K Selection Theory is a “generalized life-history strategy created by Robert MacArthur who was an American ecologist and a American biologist Edward O.Wilson” (Rafferty, 2016). The theory is concerned with the reproductive strategies formed by two different types of environmental pressures, r-selective and K-selective pressures (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 19). R-selective pressures consist of high mortality rates due to random predation and the presence of abundant resources (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 19). Most importantly the essential r-selective environmental pressure is the absence of competition (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 19). The presence of competition does not allow for an r-selective environment, furthermore, all r-selective environmental pressures promote increasing reproduction rates (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 19). Environmental pressures such as limited resources and/or the presence of high mortality due to the lack of resources promote reproduction based on environmental capacity; and are called K-selective environmental pressures (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 19). The essential component of a K-selective environment is competition without competition the environment could not be K- selective (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 19).
Although humans cannot fully be identified as either r or K selective the varying of r and K practices among humans make the r/K Selection Theory relevant. The theory also paints a picture of how the decision to reproduce in either manner can affect society. The terms r and K are variables created to depict population change (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 20). The term r represents the greatest reproductive rate per individual, while K represents the number of organisms the environment can support (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 20). The theory suggests populations of species that do not come close to reaching the environmental carrying capacity will reproduce rapidly to consume the abundance of resources; and the opposite will occur when the population is close to or reaches the environmental carrying capacity (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). The reproductive strategy that places emphasis on reproducing rapidly to exploit resources is labeled as r (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). While the strategy to reproduce based on the carrying capacity of the environment is labeled K (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23).
r-strategist adopt high reproductive strategies to exploit surplus resources, and seek to create environments which provides excess resources that can be freely consumed (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). This way of life is maintained by high unpredictable mortality rates, which maintains the balance between high reproductive rates and the abundance of resources (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). Due to the abundance of resources the need to compete dissipates (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). Any individual who seeks to compete for resources will be at a disadvantage for resources are readily available (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). Survival and Success in an r-selective environment will be based on how well an individual avoid threats and competition while out reproducing their peers (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). The need to out reproduce peers creates initiatives to mate often, with as many mates as possible, and at the earliest age possible (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 23).
Waiting to mate and having few offspring is disadvantageous in an r-selective environment, because of the high chance of dying at a young age and the possibility of your peers and their offspring consuming more resources than you and yours (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). Low child investment is also advantageous in r-selective environments because it increases the opportunity to receive resources by reducing the time invested in child rearing (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). r-strategist avoidance of competition leads to the lack of group participation and diminishing allegiance to any in-group that may exist (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). The continuance of this practice is passed on by those born in an r-selective environment, who seek to re-act the traits of their parents (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 23). r-selected organisms have five instinctual psychological traits. The r-selected traits are avoidance of competition, the practice of promiscuity, low-investment child rearing, an early age of sexualization, and the absence of group loyalty (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 23). Rabbits are a perfect example of an r-selected species. They are not competitive and flee from threats. They mate frequently and promiscuously, leaving the mother to care for their offspring alone (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 23).
On the other hand, K-selected species are limited to the capacity of their environment (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). Organisms born in a K-selected environment must have the ability to compete. Less competitive organisms are likely to die off from the lack of ability to obtain resources (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). The pressures from a K-selected environment will create a different reproductive strategy than that of an r-selected environment. The reproductive strategy of K-strategic organisms is centered on producing the fittest specimen as possible (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). Reproducing the fittest specimen will increase the offspring ability to compete and survive (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25).
Finding a genetically fit mate is also important, and will lead to an increased chance of passing on one’s genes (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). Once a genetically fit mate is found a K-strategic organism will act monogamously with their partner (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). This increases the chance of their offspring survivability; and allow for K-strategic organisms to invest heavily into their child's rearing (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). This is important because it promotes two parenting child rearing allowing them to protect their offspring from a hostile world, while helping them teach their offspring the skills necessary to survive (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). In a K-selective environment single child rearing serves as a disadvantage. Mating at a young age is also a disadvantage because it does not allow for the full maturation of the organism (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). Not being fully mature means the specimen will not be at its fittest prime, decreasing the chances of obtaining resources for itself and its offspring. The absence of resources in a K-selective environment increases the importance of competition, often leading to an increased importance of being a part of a group and expressing loyalty to that group (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). The emotional bound of belonging to a group is not found in r-selected species (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.25). K-strategic species display five distinctive traits as well. The K-selective traits are a natural drive to compete, the practice of monogamy, investing heavily in child rearing, a later age of sexualization, and a presence of loyalty amongst group members (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 27).
A wolf is a perfect example of a K-selective species. The wolf exhibits the five traits of a K-selected organism. But unlike humans the rabbit and the wolf do not think or have opinions about their actions. Animals act to fulfill an instinctual drive based on their psychology (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 27). Viewing humans under this perspective makes more sense if we were to imagine the conditions of our ancestors. Being born in a world with limitless untapped resources you can imagine how the r-strategic psychology flourished. The psychology was maintained by migrating to areas in which more untapped resources were available (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 27). The K-strategic psychology must have arisen when humans were required to live and survive in harsh environments with little access to resources (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 27).
The chance for individuals among our species to adapt and adopt the ability to survive in either condition could have arisen as well; and could have simply occurred from the changing of the seasons (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 27). Like the political psychological spectrum, the psychologies of r and K in humans exists on such a spectrum. Later in the essay the case will be made that the r/K spectrum is actually the foundation of the political psychological spectrum. The presence of the r/K psychologies can be viewed in humans and other species as well. If scrutinized one would be able to see the variation of r and K strategies in the Australian Giant Cuttlefish (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 47).
The male Australian Giant cuttlefish protects and holds access to secure egg chambers (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 47). The bigger and more spectacular cuttlefish are more likely to hold the keys to the most secure locations (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 47). Since the males outnumber females they have instinctually created competitive mating rituals (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 48). These rituals promote the passing on of the necessary genes to survive in their condition (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 48). Their competitive nature is why they are identified as a K-selective organism. From the ability to camouflage themselves to the size of an individual cuttlefish these genes are important to their survival (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 48). The winners of these competitions get the prize, the right to mate (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 48). But the r-strategic male Australian Giant cuttlefish have found ways to reproduce among their K-selective peers (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 50). The weaker males reproduce using deceptive measures. These r-selective males lack the ability to compete for the genes are not desired, and this is why they adopted alternative measures to reproduce. These males have gained the ability to retract their tentacles and appear to look as females, allowing them to slip pass the competing males and impregnate the females during the mating rituals (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 50). The Australian Giant cuttlefish is just one example of a species that can be K and r strategic simultaneously (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p. 50).
There are two types of environmental pressures, r and K-selective pressures. r-selective pressures promote rapid reproduction to consume excess resources, while K-selective pressure promotes reproduction based on an environmental carrying capacity. An example of an r-selective species are rabbits, and an example of a K-selective species is the Wolf. Homo Sapiens (Human beings) are not either r or K-selective, but exhibit the strategies of both r and K-selective species. The adoption of both r and K-strategies can be viewed in other organisms as well, specifically the Australian Giant Cuttlefish.
Looking at the traits of r and K-strategist it is possible to draw comparisons to conservative and liberal strategist. Furthermore, conservative policies promote K-selective environmental pressures, while liberal policies support r-selective environmental pressures. The hypothesis of this research suggests that r-selection is the foundation of liberal psychology, and that K-selection is the foundation of conservative psychology. The r/K strategies are just the primitive form of conservatism and liberalism that appeared in our ancient ancestors, which has evolved overtime with the advancement of our species. The evolution of psychological strategies can also apparent in the creation of classical liberalism which appears to be an adaptation of both strategies which.
Liberal psychology resembles r-selection. People who follow a liberal psychological line of reasoning support gun restrictions, negotiation vs. war, high taxes on rich for the purpose of wealth redistribution, and non-traditional family structures (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 16). Liberal psychology like that of r-selective species is programmed to exploit resources (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 16). The policies which come from liberal strategist oppose meritocracy in favor of providing equality. Liberal’s psychology operates from a point of resources being limitless, and a belief that there are enough resources to allow all people to live comfortable equal lifestyles; as well as the presence of shortages in resources stems from the greedy consumption of individuals (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 37). The redistribution of wealth that is acquired through a competitive free market leads to the discouragement of competition. In addition to their belief that resources are limitless or abundant enough to create an equally comfortable life for all, all of which discourage competition, is why r-selective strategy is said to be the foundation of liberalism, or the left of the political psychological spectrum (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 37). This statement is backed by liberal’s tendency to promote policies that decrease competition; because the absence of competition is the essential ingredient in creating an r-selective environment.
This also allows for people to act in a more r-strategic manner. For instance, before the welfare system was created women would have to choose their mate wisely. If a woman chose to reproduce with a male who is incapable of providing resources her and her children would be more likely to live a life of poverty. The welfare system aimed to correct this from happening, by protecting women from their bad decisions. This also takes away from a key component of K-strategy, which is to create incentive to wait till maturity to mate and/or mating monogamously, because resources now are made available by the government not an able mature mate.
Conservative psychology resembles K-selection. People who follow this line of reasoning favor gun ownership, war, low taxes, traditional heterosexual family structures, and a free-market merit based society (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 16). Like K-selection this psychology is programmed to compete for scarce resources. Conservative psychology like K-selection operates from a belief that resources are scarce (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 38). Their policies support meritocracy and the competition for resources. Conservatives foster a deep underlying belief that people who gain resources do so because of their ability, and people who do not possess the ability to gain resources should not aspect to gain them (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, pg. 38). The conservative’s support for competition is why it is said K-selection is the underpinning of conservative psychology. Conservative support for free competitive markets which resource is gained by individuals who have the ability promotes competition, which is essential to creating a K-selective environment; and is why K-selection is argued to be the foundation of conservative psychology and the right of the political psychological spectrum.
Examining the classical liberal psychology through an r/K Selection theoretical lens it appears to be a combination of r and K-selection. Understanding classical liberalism is important; because it allows for the comprehension of how conservatives and liberals are shaping the United States. Since Classical liberalism is the philosophical foundation which the country was built. The classical liberal strategy is also what allowed for liberals and conservatives to cooperate with each other. This cooperation created by the classical liberal strategy stems from its support of meritocracy and individual liberty. Liberals tend to overwhelmingly support individual liberty against “conservative’s demand for a conformist more socially conservative society” (Anonymous Conservative, 2012, p.16). While conservatives overwhelmingly support meritocracy against liberal’s tendency for wealth redistribution and socialism.
Classical liberal’s understanding of human nature could be argued as the reason they promote individual rights beyond conservative calls for cultural assimilation. Classical liberals believe humans are by nature self-seeking, self-interested, and selfish. This would also explain why r-strategic liberals tend to promote policies that protect and provide freedom to individuals. But this idea that humans are self-seeking individuals goes against K-strategic conservatives, who call for loyalty to a nation or group. This difference between liberal and conservatives is just one difference that creates a divide between the psychologies.
Classical liberals would agree with Thomas Hobbes who believed that people who lived in a natural condition would be in a constant state of war, and why people who are self-seeking individuals would come together to form governments (King, 2013). John Locke a classical liberalist believed in a similar concept instead of war he believed the natural state would be a state of inconvenience and why individuals agreed to form governments (King, 2013). Both great thinkers attempt to explain why individuals come together to form groups. This notion of human nature led classical liberals to specifically argue for the rights of individuals. According to Dr. King (2013) a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University classical liberals are concerned with protecting as well as expanding individual liberty.
Like K-strategic conservatives, classical liberals support for a merit based free market society shows how this psychology is influenced by K-selection. Classical liberal support for a free market merit based society stems from their exposure to the feudal states of Medieval Europe and its nobility status, where individuals received power and resources not because of the ability but because of their status (King, 2013). Support for a merit based society goes against r-strategic liberal’s belief that resources are limitless, and should be distributed equally among human beings; but is an example of how classical liberalism is a combination of r and K strategies. Classical liberalism support for r and K strategies is what allowed for liberals and conservatives to form the United States of America.
r-selection is argued to be the foundation of liberalism and the left of the political psychological spectrum, for liberal policies tend to reduce competition in favor of equality. K-selection on the other hand, is argued to be the foundation of conservatism and the right of the political psychological spectrum, for conservative policies promote competition the essential ingredient for an K-selective environment. The philosophical foundation of the United States is argued to be based on classical liberal principles, which is a fusion of r and K-strategies, and allowed for conservatives and liberals to cooperate to form the U.S.
r/K-selective environmental pressures shape conservative and liberal psychology by influencing the structure of their brains. The structure of the brain produces the psychologies present in human beings, and is shaped at an early age (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p. 97). According to Anonymous conservative (2014), “Dr. Ryota Kanai of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience examined MRIs of conservative and liberal brains”, and according to Anonymous Conservative (2014), found “two main structural differences” (p.99) between the political strategist. The differences found by Dr. Kanai according to Anonymous Conservative (2014), was “that liberals possess a smaller right amygdala and larger anterior cingulate cortex than conservatives” (p.99). According to Anonymous conservative (2014), the amygdala processes emotional responses to perceived perception, such as threats and fear (101). The amygdala simply attaches positive and negative emotions to environmental encounters, which is used to recognize similar encounters in the future (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.101).
According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “the significance of this is that the amygdala is a structure designed to help us perceive, remember, and respond to the realities of our environment” (p.103). The diminished size of the amygdala in r-strategist comes from the absence as well as the avoidance of competition and conflict. According to Anonymous conservative (2014), “the diminished ability to perceive threats is a neurological correlate of liberalism, and is also consistent with the fact that conservatism predominates among members of the military” (p.103). K-selective species would have a well-developed amygdala. This would stem from the competition present in K-selective environments. According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “K-selective species have a well-developed amygdala because, K-selective environments require the ability to perceive negative outcomes to survive” (p.103). The size of the amygdala in a species stems from the environment pressures they face. r-selective environments would produce smaller amygdala’s because, the need to compete would be absent. In liberals the amygdala appears smaller than that of conservatives; and would explain why they seek to avoid conflict and competition. Likewise, conservative’s amygdala development would allow them to respond to perceived threats in an aggressive way.
Amygdala development is also associated with other r/K-selective traits. For instance, “Kluver Bucy Syndrome is a psychological illness in humans produced by deficient amygdala function” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p. 106). According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), this illness is “associated with docility and hyper-sexuality, demonstrating a linkage between the amygdala and tendencies towards promiscuity, as well as conflict aversive behavior, such as docility” (p. 106). Also damage to the amygdala which reduces its function is linked to reduced child investment (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p. 106). This directly ties the function of the amygdala to three of the traits associated with r-selected psychology in humans (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p. 106). The development of the amygdala is shaped by the pressures of an organism’s environment.
According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “the amygdala is designed to be developed through the experience of adverse outcomes” (p. 109). K-selective environments expose organisms to adverse situations as they learn to survive in competitive environments by avoiding failure (Anonymous conservative, 2014, p.109). K-selective environments would promote and require the development of the amygdala to survive (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.109). Likewise, r-selected environments would produce less adversity, and thus would lead to less development of the amygdala (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.110). Since r-selected organisms seek to avoid competition, their amygdala will not be as developed as K-selected organism to deal with adversity (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.110). The lack of adversity present in r-selective environments creates fear of competition among r-strategist. This fear creates psychological motivation, which is recognized by the amygdala, to eliminate competition in the environment (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p. 110). It is also important to note that the brain is designed to function in its environment, and the environment is designed to influence the development of brain structure (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.110). The effect of having a less developed amygdala would explain why liberals seek out equality through government coercion and not through a free market system.
The second difference noted by Dr. Kanai is liberals larger Anterior Cingulate Cortex also known as ACC (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.110). According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), the role of the ACC is to “signal when something is wrong, or something deserves more attention” (p.110). For example, “the amygdala identifies a reason to panic, the ACC is the button it pushes which triggers the panic” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.110). According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “the ACC responds strongly towards physical pain and the psychological stress of social exclusion” (p.110). “This could explain the liberals focus on discrimination or their ability to perceive their in-group” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.110). The ACC “is also activated by perceptions of unfairness and envy” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.111). Like the amygdala the ACC has a specific purpose.
According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “an r-selected individual, growing up within a competitive, K-selected individual who often experienced such an envious emotion when out-competed as a child, could explain how the structure would come to be highly developed in an adult liberal” (p.111). An interesting fact according to Anonymous Conservative (2014), is that “liberals exhibit a larger “envy center” within their brains” (p.111). An organism with a small amygdala and a large ACC “would have a more desperate psychology” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.111). An individual with this type of psychology would do whatever is necessary to win honoring no system of morality that stood in their way (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.111). According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “you would have an individual who perceived their group as hostile to them, felt envious towards other successful members, and who was not behaviorally constrained by their neurological structure which promotes rule adherence” (p.111). This information in similar to the research done by John Jost that showed liberals exhibited a diminish loyalty to their in-group (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.111).
According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), conservative’s larger amygdala allows them to act on empathetic emotions, while their smaller ACC leads them to feel “less empathetic sensations of pain” (p.112). “This information is consistent with the theory, because conservatives primary drive towards altruism will be specifically-directed loyalty to peers, and not aimless empathy for everyone” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.112). According to Anonymous Conservative (2014), “liberal’s having a diminished amygdala will cause them to have less psychological force motivating them to act empathetically” (p.112). “Thus leading liberals to support higher taxes in principle, yet seek to lower their own taxes” (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.112). These ideas are consistent with Darwinian strategies that are designed to be selfish (Anonymous Conservative, 2014, p.112). The research done on the ACC and the amygdala effect on political psychology are consistent with political behavior. For instance, according to Anonymous Conservative (2014), liberals, due to their smaller amygdala participate in less charity; but their larger ACC makes them demand higher taxes on the rich as means to provide more charity (p.113). This is also consistent with conservative behavior; their larger amygdala would influence them to give more charity; but their smaller ACC would influence them to give to those apart of their in-group. Liberal inability to identify an in-group may be the reason they do not personally support charity as much as conservatives; but liberal’s tendency to feel more empathetically is more than likely the reason they promote equality among all regardless the consequence.
The major biological difference between conservatives and liberals is their brain structure. Liberals have a smaller amygdala and a larger Anterior Cingulate Cortex(ACC) than conservatives. The amygdala processes environmental encounters such as threats, and stores the data to be referred to when a similar encounter occurs. The ACC is the button pressed that prompts an individual’s response to their environment. The underdevelopment of the amygdala does not allow liberals to be able to perceive and process environmental experiences as well as conservatives. Likewise, liberal’s ACC development makes them more susceptible to envy, discrimination, and other emotional stimulus. The brain structure of liberals also decreases their psychological motivation for rule adherence, and increases their empathy for others. Likewise, conservative’s larger right amygdala allows them to process environmental realities better, and to identify members of their group. Their smaller ACC, consequently, diminishes their empathy for members outside of their group.
The biological differences of conservative and liberals form one side of the coin. The other side is their differences in worldview. Worldview is defined as “the way someone thinks about the world” (www.meriam-webster.com). According to Lakoff (2002), “Liberals and conservatives have different morals systems, different models on how to raise children, and have different assumptions of human nature” (p.337). Their difference in worldview appears in the policies each group supports. For instance, “conservatives are against abortion, but do not want to prevent the death of a child, due to inadequate care, by providing funds to increase parental care” (Lakoff, 2002, p. 25). Also the conservatives support for capital punishment in the light of the opposition to abortion is seen as an inconsistency in beliefs to liberals (Lakoff, 2002, p.25). Liberals call the fallacy in conservatives support for murdering criminals but denying parents the right to an abortion of their children. These are not the only inconsistency liberals see in conservative policy. Another example of this contradictory mess conservatives get into according to liberals is the conservative’s opposition to welfare for the needy, but their support of giving government funds to victims of natural disasters (Lakoff, 2002, p. 25).
Conservatives also see liberal policies as a sham. Conservatives would say that liberals support for welfare and education for children is inconsistent to their protection of abortion, which in conservative’s eyes is the sanctioning of child murder (Lakoff, 2002, p.26). Conservative find liberals attempt to champion child rights, while also championing the rights of criminals, such as child molesters another fallacy (Lakoff, 2002, p.26). Their differences in worldview are bound to promote individuals from each group to seek political power to correct what they view as political fallacy.
At the center of both conservative and liberal worldviews are their views of morality and family life (Lakoff, 2002, p.31). Conservative’s ideal model of family life is labeled as “The Strict Father Model” by (Lakoff, 2002, p.31). This model has an underlying conviction that the world is “difficult and dangerous” (Lakoff, 2002, p. 68). The conservative family model is comprised of a “traditional nuclear family, with the father having primary responsibility for supporting and protecting the family” (Lakoff, 2002, p. 65). In this model the father is responsible for setting the rules and teaching his children right and wrong through a system of rewards and punishments (Lakoff, 2002, p. 66). In this model the mother cares for the house and children, while upholding the father’s authority (Lakoff, 2002, 66). This model is believed to teach children “self-discipline, self-reliance, and respect for legitimate authority” by its supporters (Lakoff, 2002, p. 66).
The Strict Father Model requires two parent child rearing (Lakoff, 2002, p. 66). Likewise, two parent child rearing is expected in K-selective organisms and further links conservatism to K-selection. This model is designed to produce what conservatives perceive as a mature adult. A mature adult is a person who is self-disciplined and self-reliant “enough to make plans, undertake commitments, and carry them out” (Lakoff, 2002, p.69). The Strict Father Model’s perception of human nature is that people are only motivated to do what they do not want to do for rewards, and not do the things they do want to do because of the fear of punishments (Lakoff, 2002, p. 67). Another interesting note is that K-selective organisms mainly conservative strategist have a larger amygdala and a smaller ACC which makes them more likely to adhere to rules. On the other hand, liberal’s smaller amygdala and larger ACC makes them more likely not to adhere to rules. The Strict Father Model notion of human nature is used to justify punishing those who violate rules and rewarding those who follow them, and their assumption that this is the best way to raise children (Lakoff, 2002, p.67).
Under this model an individual achieves success by being able and willing to follow the rules of society (Lakoff, 2002, p. 68). This makes success something accomplished by being moral, and thus creates competition that is set up between those who are moral and those who fail to be (Lakoff, 2002, p. 68). According to Lakoff (2002), competition is important in this model, because it shows who followed the rules and are morally correct, and thus deserve success (p.68). This idea of competition leads conservatives to the inclination that “rewards given to those who have not earned them through competition” an immoral act (lakoff, 2002, p. 68). This is justified by conservatives because they believe such actions would “remove incentive to become self-disciplined and obedient to authority” (Lakoff, 2002, p. 68).
If the Strict Father Model is to work the world must remain competitive even if it is no need to compete (Lakoff, 2002, p. 69). Any restraint placed on competition is considered immoral to conservatives (Lakoff, 2002, p.69). According to Lakoff (2002), the conservative world is a meritocracy with a moral hierarchy (p.69). In this world the government’s responsibility is to take on the role of the Strict Father Model providing support and protection for all under its authority (lakoff, 2002, p.70). This includes the enforcement of a rewards and punishment system (Lakoff, 2002, p. 70). Like conservatives at the center of liberal political policy is their beliefs of what is moral, and the ideal family model.
The liberal moral system is built around what can be called a Nurturant Parent Model (Lakoff, 2002, p.108). This model is comprised of “preferably” two parents, but one is fine, and this model is believed to ‘begun as a woman’s model” (Lakoff, 2002, p. 108). It is also interesting to note that this model is designed to work with in a single parenting system, which is in line with r-selection’s promotion of untraditional family structures. According to Lakoff (2002), the primary goal of this model is to provide children with a fulfilled and happy life (p. 109). This model carries the notion that the most important qualities to teach children are “empathy for others, the capacity for nurturance, cooperation, and the maintenance of social ties” (Lakoff, 2002, 110).
One similar notion that both the Strict Father and Nurturant Parent Model have is their belief that their models will be conceded through their children (Lakoff, 2002, 110). The belief that conservative and liberal parenting methods will be passed on by their children is the same method r and K-selective species rely on. The Nurturant Model is built around teaching children to be self-nurturing and nurturing to others (Lakoff, 2002, p. 110). This model seeks to teach children through attachments they build with their parents (Lakoff, 2002, p. 110) and, thus make it essential for parents to become what they want their children to be (Lakoff, 2002, p. 111). In order for the Nurturant Parent Model to work “the world must be as nurturing as possible” (Lakoff, 2002, p. 112). In addition to being nurturing the world must be a place where those who receive help feel obliged to help others, and a place that is governed by empathy (Lakoff, 2002, p. 112). In this world cooperation, not competition is stressed (lakoff, 2002, p. 113). A government in a Nurturant Parent Modeled world would be responsible for ensuring the world and the people it governs will be as nurturing as possible, by promoting nurturance, and cooperation through political policies.
Liberals and conservatives have a different worldview. Liberal worldview is centered around a Nurturant Parent Model, which is responsible for promoting empathy, nurturance, and cooperation in individuals as a mean of survival. Likewise, conservative worldview is centered around a Strict Father Model, which is responsible for promoting self-discipline and self-reliance as a means to survival. Each worldview requires that the world and society create environments to support their ideology. The world in liberal societies must be nurturing, and likewise, the world in conservative societies must be competitive. This difference in worldview will cause both groups to use the coercive power of the government to create environments that ensure the survival of the ideology.
Conservatism and liberalism stems from r and K-selection which is a strategic response to the environment. Just as wolves and rabbits have a psychological drive to respond to their environment, humans are driven by psychological behaviors. These drives stem from the biological environment which can be a range of r and K practices that are known today by most as conservatism and liberalism. These psychological behaviors form from two types of environmental pressures. r and K-selective environmental pressures make American conservative and liberal psychology. The human biological response to r and K environmental pressures influences their brain structure, specifically, the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex(ACC). The amygdala interprets and stores data. This data stored in the amygdala is comprised of ways to respond to environment pressures. The ACC triggers the response to the environment.
What happens to the human brain structure in r and K-selective environments? The amygdala is less developed in r-environments creating difficulty in processing environmental realities. Also the ACC becomes larger which increases sensitivity to emotional stimulus. In K-selective environments the amygdala is better develop for this reason, allowing the individual to be better equipped to process environmental realities. The ACC in K-selective environment will be less developed reducing the sensitivity to emotional stimulus. Environmental pressures are the factors that shape the brain structure and human psychology. Biological environmental pressures develop more than psychology and brain structure, but the information provided by this research specifically shows the cause effect relationship between the biological environment to the brain structure of conservatives and liberals.
r and K-selective environmental pressures create organisms designed to specifically deal with the type of environment pressure they are exposed to. Humans have the unique ability to be able to adapt to different environments, but are inclined to promote their vision of the world. This is seen in conservative’s promotion of competition as well as merit based societies, and liberal’s promotion for cooperation in addition to providing an equal comfortable lifestyle for all. Conservatives and liberals difference in worldview stems from the environmental pressures they face and how it develops the brain structure. The structure of the brain then determines the way individuals process and interprets information. The liberal brain structure is less equipped to deal with processing environmental experiences, but more equipped to respond to emotional stimulus. Additionally, conservative brain structure allows them to be better equipped to process environmental experiences while being less equipped to respond to emotional stimulus.
The liberal’s worldview stems from the biological and psychological development of r-selective environments. On the contrary, conservative’s worldview stems from the biological and psychological development of K-selective environmental pressures. The liberal worldview is centered around what can be defined as a nurturing parent model; for this reason, a liberal society will promote empathy, nurturance, and cooperation as a mean to survive; furthermore, a liberal society would require citizens to have empathy, nurturance, and cooperation as personal traits to be considered a mature adult. However, conservative worldview is centered around what can be defined as a strict parent model; therefore, a conservative society will promote self-discipline and self-reliance as a mean to survive; for this reason, a conservative society would require its citizens to be self-disciplined and self-reliant to be considered a mature adult. In the United States liberal and conservative worldview has existed since the beginning, in the same way, these strategies have existed since the beginning of all civilizations.
Moreover, the United States philosophical foundation promoted both r and K-selective pressures. Specifically, classical liberalism which supports meritocracy and individual freedom. This fusion of r and K-selection allowed for liberal and conservative strategist to coexist initially with very little conflict. The largest and bloodiest conflict American conservatives and liberals faced was the Civil War. A war brought about by the government’s failure to provide K-selective conservatives in the South with the dictatorial power to make the institution of slavery perpetual. Today conservatives and liberals are closing on conflict again, consequently, due to liberal’s attempts to provide equality at any cost necessary, for this reason, meritocracy is declining and is being replaced by a liberal entitlement system that is upsetting the classical liberal foundation of the United States, therefore, causing conflict between the strategies. In short, the r-strategist liberals are attempting to enforce policies which will lead to a more r-selective environment. In their attempt to create this nurturing world and government they are seeking dictatorial powers which will allow them to do so. The push to create a more r-selective environment is naturally causing K-selective conservatives to form coalitions to maintain a K-selective environment through any means necessary. This natural occurrence of conflict between the strategist is halting the progress of the country, in addition, either way the pendulum swings left or right the opposite side will unite to restore balance. Unfortunately balance to conservatives and liberals is accomplished by dominating politically.
Enforcing policies that will further establish the dominance of either strategy would, furthermore, divert the country from its uniting principles, for liberal and conservative satisfaction. The pursuit to establish dominance of either strategy will fail do to human nature which classical liberals recognized as, self-seeking that is not to say that we are not caring of others, but caring of that which is supportive of the individual. To express this truth, picture the recent terrorist attacks in Belgium or France, that saddened humanity, however, the parents and relatives of the victims are filled with emotions not experienced by humanity as a whole. People who have no connection with these victims most hear the news and after a while continue on with their lives as if nothing ever happened. The reason liberals and conservatives are trying to achieve political dominance is to ensure the practice of their strategy. Conservative and liberals will continue to try to dominate politics in the United States but will fail for three reasons. First, the influence of classical liberalism which has, consequently, lead to the creation of a government with a check and balance system, and could only be taken over by corruption and/or collaboration between the branches, secondly, because of human nature that is self-seeking, and third, the ideas of Liberty, justice, and peace that once understood by individuals will cause them to dissolve any social contract that over burden their right to such dear concepts.
To deal with the problem of competing political strategies we must recognize why these political strategists seek the coercive power of government; furthermore, understanding the foundation and implication of each of their worldview will unveil the reason these strategists naturally compete with each other. Likewise, each citizen that votes in the United States must understand their worldview and the opposing worldview to comprehend the importance of having a political system that unites strategist from each of the two major political camps. The most important thing Americans can do is to unite on the philosophical foundation of the United States that is classical liberalism, which supports meritocracy and individual liberty, in addition, revisit, internalize, and embrace the terms liberty, justice and peace.
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