The Left crushes the alt-Right, but Darwin might bring them to power

Summary: The Left has used its immense strength to crush the alt-Right, while the Right smiles (contemptuous of the alt-Right’s populism). So far the pogrom has had nothing but success. But these victories breed a new generation of stronger foes as Darwin’s Ratchet works its magic. The Left’s arrogance and the alt-Right’s populism might have large and unimaginable consequences for America. This is a follow-up to The Left crushes the Right. The counter-revolution will be ugly.

“The world is changed, I can feel it in the water, I can feel it in the earth, I can smell it in the air.”
— Said by Treebeard, leader of the Ents, in The Two Towers – part II of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Ratchet

The easy way to make your enemies more powerful

“What does not kill him, makes him stronger.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche in Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (1888).

One of the great mysteries of history is how effective oppositions arise to challenge powerful regimes. How do insurgents survive, let alone grow, when facing an overwhelming powerful establishment? One reason is that efforts to suppress insurgents put Darwin’s Ratchet into action.

It’s an old and well-known mechanism in biology, first developed by Herman Muller (“Muller’s Rachet“, see the articles below). In 2003 I said this would make victory impossible for us in Iraq and Afghanistan. Darwin’s Ratchet results when a powerful group culls the pack of insurgents, eliminating the slow and stupid – allowing more fit insurgents to rise in authority. This creates a rising sine wave of revolutionary activity: success by the establishment, a pause in opposition – victory! – followed by another wave of insurgent activity, but larger and more effective. Which the establishment oppresses, again leaving only the fittest. Repeat.

We personally experience Darwin’s ratchet when we take antibiotics in too-low doses or for too short a time, creating a colony of drug-resistant bacteria. When done by a society we breed “superbugs”, as Nathan Taylor explains in “What are the risks of a global pandemic?

“We can think of resistance to disease as an arms race. As a population gets exposed to more and more diseases, a darwinian ratchet effect occurs, and only those with stronger immune systems survive.”

The literature of biology and medicine has many articles about Darwin’s ratchet, ranging from complex (“The Ratchet Effect as a Fundamental Principle in Evolution and Cognition” by Alexander Riegler in Cybernetics and Systems, 2001) to the incomprehensible. The concept has spread to other fields, as in The Cerebral Code: Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind (1996) by neurophysiologist William H. Calvin.

“We know that the Darwinian Ratchet can create advanced capabilities in stages – it’s a process that gradually creates quality – and gets around the usual presumption that fancy things require an even fancier designer.”

Biologist Richard Dawkins explains the Ratchet’s effects:

“As the generations unfold, ratcheting takes the cumulative improbability up to levels that – in the absence of the ratcheting – would exceed all sensible credence. …{This is the} battle that we biologists face in our struggle to convince the public and their elected representatives {of} the power of Darwin’s ratchet …to propel lineages up the gentle slopes of Mount Improbable.”

Some scientists have extended the concept to humanity as a whole, as Ruth DeFries did in The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis (2014): “In every cycle, new obstacles emerge. And in every cycle, millennium after millennium, humanity as a whole has muddled through.”

Charles Darwin

The Darwinian Ratchet at work in war

“Never engage the same enemy for too long … or he will adapt to your tactics.”
— Falsely attributed to Clausewitz but still insightful. From Lions for Lambs (2007).

My first posts about the Iraq War in Sept 2003 and Oct 2003 discussed the ratchet (perhaps its first mention in military theory). We killed countless insurgents but alienated the local population – creating more insurgents (well-understand flawed tactics which we still repeated). I showed that this produced another and even worse effect: we culled the pack of insurgents. We eliminated the slow and stupid while clearing space for more fit insurgents to rise in authority. Hence the by now familiar pattern: successes by the security forces, a pause in their activity (during which we declare victory), followed by another wave of activity – but larger and more effective. To which we reply with more killing. Repeat.

We locked ourselves into a “Red Queen’s race” in which we must run ever faster just to stay abreast of our enemies in the Long War. Since they learn faster and try harder (it’s their land), we fell behind. This accounts for our inexplicable (to us) failures in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2006, after 5 years of war, some awareness of this the ratchet appeared in official reports, such as the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States“. It said…

“We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives …The Iraq conflict has become the “cause célèbre” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”

By 2008 the best among the COINistas spoke about the ratchet, such as David Kilcullen in his presentation “Dinosaurs versus Mammals: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Adaptation in Iraq“ (RAND Insurgency Board, 8 May 2008). Like all of Kilcullen’s serious work, it is a brilliant and subtle presentation that deserves close attention. (Red emphasis added in these excerpts.)

An unforgiving environment that punishes error, leading to Darwinian pressure on both sides…

Slide 16:  Hypothesis: counterinsurgents adapt slowly, insurgents evolve quickly?

Slide 17:  Hypothesis: mechanisms for insurgent evolution: General evolutionary effect, Leadership evolution (destruction-replenishment cycle), Bell Curve effect.

Slide 52:  Conclusions: In a counterinsurgency, insurgent groups and security forces appear to engage in time- and resource-competitive processes of adaptation, driven by the Darwinian pressure imposed by a complex, hostile “conflict ecosystem” that operates on the edge of chaos. Counterinsurgents appear mainly to adapt, insurgents to evolve – but insurgent groups whose network and organizational structure is tighter may behave in a more purposeful adaptive manner (e.g. JAM).

By 2009 some academics were writing about it, such as “Darwinian selection in asymmetric warfare: the natural advantage of insurgents and terrorists“ by Dominic Johnson (Reader, Dept of Politics & International Relations, U of Edinburgh; bio here) in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, Fall 2009.

“Models of human conflict tend to focus on military power, predicting that – all else equal – the stronger side will prevail. This overlooks a key insight from the evolutionary dynamics of competing populations: the process of adaptation by natural selection. Darwinian selection weeds out poor performers and propagates good performers, thus leading to a cumulative increase in effective adaptations over time. The logic of selection applies not only to biological organisms but to any competing entities, whether strategies, technologies, or machines – as long as three conditions are in place: variation, selection, and replication.

“Applied to asymmetric warfare, Darwinian selection predicts that, counter-intuitively, stronger sides may suffer a disadvantage across all three conditions:

    • Variation – weaker sides are often composed of a larger diversity of combatants, representing a larger trait-pool and a potentially higher rate of “mutation” (innovation).
    • Selection – stronger sides apply a greater selection pressure on weaker sides than the other way around, resulting in faster adaptation by the weaker side.
    • Replication – weaker sides are exposed to combat for longer (fighting on the same home territory for years at a time), promoting experience and learning, while stronger sides rotate soldiers on short combat tours to different regions.

“In recent years, many civilian and military leaders have noted that US counterinsurgency and counterterrorism forces are adapting too slowly to match the insurgents in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, or Al Qaeda worldwide. A Darwinian approach suggests that this is exactly what we might predict: Weaker sides adapt faster and more effectively. Understanding the causes and consequences of Darwinian selection offers insights on ways to thwart enemy adaptation and improve our own.”

A concept has become mainstream when Stratfor mentions it, as they did in “Pakistan: The South Waziristan Migration“ (14 October 2009).

“All this experience in designing and manufacturing IEDs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan means that the jihadist bombmakers of today are more highly skilled than ever, and they have been sharing their experience with foreign students at training camps in places like South Waziristan. Furthermore, the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has provided a great laboratory in which jihadists can perfect their terrorist tradecraft.

“A form of “tactical Darwinism” has occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan as coalition firepower has weeded out most of the inept jihadist operatives.   Only the strong and cunning have survived, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have created new tactics and have learned to manufacture new types of highly effective IEDs — technology that has already shown up in places like Algeria and Somalia. They have been permitted to impart the knowledge they have gained to another generation of young aspiring militants through training camps in places like South Waziristan.

“As these foreign militants scatter to the four winds, they will be taking their skills with them. Judging from past waves of jihadist fighters, they will probably be found participating in future plots in many different parts of the world. And also judging from past cases, they will likely not participate in these plots alone.”

A stronger sign of mainstream acceptance is its appearance in the writings of military professionals, such as “Insurgent career planning or insurgency darwinism“, J. J. Malevich (Lt Colonel, Canadian Army; COIN Branch Chief), USA and USMC Counterinsurgency Center Blog, 4 March 2010 — No longer online.

“In our war in Afghanistan we seem to be doing a lot of leadership targeting by UAV. But, are we doing leadership targeting because it is a worthwhile war winner or because we can? I think is it more the latter than the former. There is no doubt that the capture/kill of an insurgent leader deals a blow to the insurgency and creates an IO opportunity for the home team. But, how much of an effect remains to be seen. Obviously we’ve been going after insurgent leaders for a while and what has happened? The insurgency got stronger. In fact, some had mused that the amateurs were cleaned out and the professionals took over.

“When I think of leadership targeting I am reminded of the Jominni inspired doctrine “shock and awe theory.” In our doctrine, we constantly try to recreate those for 42 days of the battle of France in 1940 where the Germans got inside the OODA loop of the French Command, overwhelmed it and defeated it. Although targeting leadership can be useful in the heat of battle where HQs need to make rapid decisions and direct troops and fires to the critical point of the battle, I don’t think it applies to insurgency situations.

“Leadership in an insurgency is a slower, less controlled event. Taking out a leader will not have an immediate tangible effect on the battlefield as insurgents are not normally sitting around waiting for orders. What I think it does cause is collateral damage while at the same time giving the younger more aggressive insurgent leadership an opportunity to come to the fore.  I think we do it because we can. It reminds me of the British Bomber offensive in WW II between 1940 and 1941. The British could not come to grips with Nazis after the fall of France, but they could bomb targets in Germany and that made them feel good regardless of the effect.

“Does leadership targeting fall into an overall strategic plan or is it just something we are doing because we can?”

Eventually, even journalists learned about the ratchet, although in an unsystematic way. For example, The Economist explains how our military technology has forced the jihadist to become more sophisticated technologically in “Bombs away“ (4 March 2010).

“For America’s Central Intelligence Agency, the glory days of its “Darwin” patrols in Iraq were short-lived. Following the defeat of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the American-led forces faced clever homemade bombs triggered with the remote controls used to open garage doors. So CIA agents drove around transmitting garage-opening signals to blow up any bombmakers who happened to be nearby. This “survival of the fittest” culling, which gave the scheme its nickname, quickly became less effective when the bombers came up with new and better detonators. “We had to keep going back to the drawing board,” says a former senior CIA official.

“And still the battle continues, with each new bombing advance met by a new countermeasure. As insurgents and terrorists have improved their handiwork, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have become their most lethal weapons. In Iraq, IEDs are responsible for two-thirds of coalition deaths. In Afghanistan such attacks have roughly tripled in the past two years.”

US Generals usually talk to us only in terms of winning, but after 14 years of failure a note of realism occasionally slips in. As in this interview by Breaking Defense with Michael Flynn (Lt. General, US Army), retiring chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, on 7 August 2014. He describes the ratchet, but not by name.

“These various groups have learned from fighting the U.S. military for a decade, and they have created adaptive organizations as a means to survive. They write about and share ‘Lessons Learned’ all the time. That was something Bin Laden taught them before he died. These proliferating Islamic terrorist groups have also for years been developing connective tissue to each other and back to al-Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Some of those connections are pretty strong. We’re not talking bits and pieces or nascent connections.

“… when Bin Laden was killed there was a general sense that maybe this threat would go away. We all had those hopes, including me. But I also remembered my many years in Afghanistan and Iraq [fighting insurgents] … We kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place. That’s when I realized that decapitation alone was a failed strategy.”

Andrew Cockburn’s “The Mystique of High-Value Targeting: Why Obama’s Hopes of Decapitating the Islamic State Won’t Work” shows the Darwinian ratchet at work in a non-trinitarian conflict other than war: the DEA’s 1992 “Kingpin Strategy”.

“The explanation, so the analysts concluded, was that dead leaders were invariably and immediately replaced, and almost always by someone (often a relative ready for revenge) younger, more aggressive, and eager to prove himself. The same held true on a wider scale. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi al Qaeda leader widely cited as the source of all our troubles in Iraq, was duly targeted and killed in 2006, only to be succeeded by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who turned out to be an even more deadly opponent. He too was duly killed, and instead we got Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who created the Islamic State, now lord of six million people and an area the size of Great Britain.”

Darwin’s ratchet at home …

See the establishment’s pogroms against the alt-Right.

“I’ve killed them by the tens of thousands, scoured their countryside at will, pried their allies away, and humiliated them day after day. I have burned their crops and looted their wealth. I’ve sent a whole generation of their generals into the afterworld …Have I changed nothing? They are stronger now than before. They are more than before. They fight more sensibly than before. They win when they used to lose.”
— Hannibal speaking about Rome in David Anthony Durham’s novel Pride of Carthage (2005).

The Left-Right spectrum is a one-dimensional abstraction to describe political conflicts. It works well, but the meanings of Left and Right vary among societies and change over time. It is happening now in America at an accelerating rate. The Left moves further Left (e.g., reparations, abortions and sex-changes for teens without parental permission, racism, open borders). America’s elites either applaud (e.g., the titans running the news and social media corps) or remain silent.

The vital forces on the Right have abandoned conservatives’ quest for respectability (the focus on the 1%’s need for tax cuts, deregulation, and crushing unions). They return to the Right’s long-time themes, such as the defense of traditional social norms (e.g., in gender roles and marriage), racism, antisemitism, and hatred of banks and corporate oligarchs. The push-back has been severe, as described in The Left crushes the Right. Alt-right organizations are broken (e.g., the Proud Boys), their leaders deplatformed (e.g., WordPress closes Chateau Heartiste, Reddit quarantines “The Red Pill.“, Instagram deplatforms Roosh), and payment processors defund them.

So far the Left has known little but success as its pogroms spread from universities across America. I predict that they have destroyed the first generation of the alt-Right, but a second generation will arise from its ruins that is both smarter and more virulent.

Are these things good or bad?  Please consult a priest or philosopher for answers to such questions. Here we only discuss what was, what is, and what might be. My guess is that this struggle between America’s Left and Right, while the majority watch TV, puts us on the road to Weimerica. Future generations will not forgive our apathy and folly.

An insurgent’s theme song

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,
Stand a little taller, …
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter.
— Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”. See her video.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

See Herman Mueller’s seminal articles about the ratchet: “Some genetic aspects of sex” (1932, open copy) and – more explicitly – “The relation of recombination to mutational advance” (1964, open copy).

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the right-wing, the alt-right, and especially these about the revolution…

  1. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let the GOP remember its great betrayal.
  2. 2016 revealed the true nature of America’s left & right. It’s bad news.
  3. Our Right & Left have lost their way. Saul Alinsky points to a better politics.
  4. About a cause of America’s rising tide of hatred. We can still stop it.
  5. The photo that made Nathan Damigo leader of the alt-Right.
  6. Left and Right use race as a way to divide America.
  7. DEFCON 2: both Left and Right have turned against us.
  8. Red Robin recruits for the alt-Right (unintentionally).
  9. A morality tale of a 13-year-old boy joining the alt-right!
  10. The middle in American politics has died. Now extremists rule.

Learning about the alt-Right

The Left’s sexism and racism are respectable, featured in the major news media. The Left works to suppress the expression of the Right’s equivalent (my fav: running an interview with Vox Day sparked regime change plus an abject apology at a comics website). Theodore Robert Beale (born 1968, Wikipedia), AKA Vox Day, is an American writer, editor, video game designer, blogger, and alt-right activist. Here is a summary of his views: “The #MilRight is inevitable.

“The answer isn’t white supremacy because white supremacy simply isn’t true. Whites are not superior, but whites are the only tribe willing and able to maintain Western civilization because they are the only tribe that truly values it. The answer for those who support Western civilization, regardless of sex, color, or religion, is to embrace white tribalism, white separatism, and especially white Christian masculine rule.”

See two of his books.

SJWs Always Lie
Available at Amazon.
SJWs Always Double Down: Anticipating the Thought Police
Available at Amazon.

5 thoughts on “The Left crushes the alt-Right, but Darwin might bring them to power”

  1. “A form of “tactical Darwinism” has occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan as coalition firepower has weeded out most of the inept jihadist operatives. Only the strong and cunning have survived, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have created new tactics and have learned to manufacture new types of highly effective IEDs — technology that has already shown up in places like Algeria and Somalia. They have been permitted to impart the knowledge they have gained to another generation of young aspiring militants through training camps in places like South Waziristan.

    “As these foreign militants scatter to the four winds, they will be taking their skills with them. Judging from past waves of jihadist fighters, they will probably be found participating in future plots in many different parts of the world. And also judging from past cases, they will likely not participate in these plots alone.”

    “These various groups have learned from fighting the U.S. military for a decade, and they have created adaptive organizations as a means to survive. They write about and share ‘Lessons Learned’ all the time. That was something Bin Laden taught them before he died. These proliferating Islamic terrorist groups have also for years been developing connective tissue to each other and back to al-Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Some of those connections are pretty strong. We’re not talking bits and pieces or nascent connections.”

    IMO, change the nouns and you describe what to expect should happen to men with the 4th gen feminism. This social/sexual war is more Darwinian than actual war. People reproduce. In other words, not only the social/sexual pressure being darwinian, but the raising of male children is as well. Who will be successful, what will it take, and what are the consequences of success; in the Darwin Ratchet we see a path that is apparently necessary given the nature of the sexual market and the present disposition of forces.

    Plus there is no choice, people will have children and some will be male. IMO, Game will entrench and harden the opposition such that their version of “It reminds me of the British Bomber offensive in WW II between 1940 and 1941. The British could not come to grips with Nazis after the fall of France, but they could bomb targets in Germany and that made them feel good regardless of the effect” will continue, no matter how little effect it has for ensuring a win by the 4th gen Fems.

    The 4th Gen women need to keep the news orgs fed, IMO. In essence, their public relations which much of their power is based I find similar to the castle problem.

    YMMV.

    1. John,

      “This social/sexual war is more Darwinian than actual war”

      That’s worth pondering! But I don’t know how this will play out. Investment theory sees “winners game” (high odds of success, low odds of catastrophic failure) and “losers game” (e.g., auctions – where the “winner” is usually the one who overpays the most). I often hear young men describe marriage as a loser’s game, for several reasons. First, young men have little ability to distinguish between good and bad marriage prospects (due to insufficient life experience). Second, they see even the best men among their fathers’ generation getting dumped hard by wives. I often hear them say “if Mr. XXXX can’t make it work, then I probably can’t.”

      In the military, they say “if the plan requires a Caesar/Marlborough/Nelson/Rommel to make it work, it won’t for you or me.” Harsh truth. If so, this blows up the social darwinian model.

      “their public relations which {is} much of their power”

      I don’t know what that means. Much of 4th wave feminism’s (the quest for superiority) power comes from their support of the news media and academia. But that’s not “public relations” in the usual sense.

    2. Yes, news media and academia makes more sense.

      I see your point. I offer further support for mine. Let’s use the military logos of forever war versus a static goal. I was trying to get that across with the castle analogy; one used for the seduction of women as an added benefit.

      There is no choice: whoever is successful at reproduction will be constrained by the requirements of child rearing. Though this looks to be in the favor of the government supported system, I propose that for a multigenerational phenomena, it is less powerful than it seems. As you have examined, we do not need illiterate, low skilled numbers in the future high tech world. This gives advantage to those who go through the whole 50’s style marriage. Their numbers will not only dominate the top earning rackets, but will tend, if historical trends hold, to have larger families. They don’t have to have a lot of children to out reproduce the single mother with an unsuccessful child. Unsuccessful in this thought is a child typical of what we have seen in the past from single mothers.

      The biggest challenge is young mothers. The quickest way to get large numbers is to decrease the age of the first child, more so than more children. But note the problem that has already been noted in the literature, not that I don’t take it with a grain of salt, that children are raising children. It has profound repercussions, according to the literature.

      The gist of my argument agrees with your vision of the future, and its need of citizens that can be successful in the high tech world.

      I don’t think good marriage bad marriage is that much at play. The points you make about young men have always been true. We all start out with insufficient life experience. The hard dumping od good men, as you point out, is showing itself as unsustainable. IIRC, it has been noted at this site, and I have personally seen it: women are initiating wooing. I believe based on what I have read and seen that this makes a difference. In this case, women have joined the counter revolution against the 4th gen fems. As you have said, each revolution carries it own seeds of destruction. One thing for sure, I would not want to enter a life of child rearing without a partner and good income/resources.

      Your thoughts appreciated.

  2. So far the Left has known little but success as its pogroms spread from universities across America. I predict that they have destroyed the first generation of the alt-Right, but a second generation will arise from its ruins that is both smarter and more virulent.

    Yes, this may be right. Another way to put it: the right is reinventing itself in ways that give it more electoral traction. Meanwhile the left is drifting into less and less electable agendas that alienate those who voted for it in its earlier versions.

    Do you think something similar happened already with the old left? One would have said in the late fifties of the last century that there had been a decisive defeat of the left in both the US and the UK. But what actually happened was that under the pressure of that apparent defeat, the left re-invented itself on cultural lines with the result that we have been observing over the last decades.

    Is it perhaps, a cyclical thing? The right purges the left, thereby moving its leadership to stronger and more extreme factions. At the same time, the right in power is unaccountable and moves to the extreme. The left then gets control and purges the right opposition…. with the same result?

    1. henrick, if you look at the numbers, the margin of victory has been small for quite awhile. I would assume part of the small margins was due to the radio and television impacts through organized media. I know that the news has been playing up the decisive win or defeat bit. But in most elections, it is a swing of about 10%. I believe LK has given us the actual numbers.

      One of the reasons, for good or bad, that this is stable, is this cycle of small changes is indicative of a well controlled system. It does not tell you that the goods are being correctly made. One can have a well controlled system that is fueled by money losses.

      One thing I would like to point out, the other day someone was talking about how Trump could not get elected because his numbers hung around 40%. As he showed in the last election, you win the correct 46% to 48% and you get elected president. Since the swing is usually in that 5 to 10% area, such predictions are for the mathematically challenged.

      I don’t deny that it gets exponentially harder as you try to swing more voters, but keep in mind that most voters are going to vote for their party. It is the swing voters that determine outcomes usually.

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