Thursday 31 January 2019

Ghalib's ghazal 21

This poem was written after 1826- the year Ghalib set out for Calcutta. It explores the Sufi Talwin/Tamkin szygy in a charming, popular, style. 

Complaint is 'talwin'- colorful and changeful, an attribute, like the song of the love-struck nightingale- whereas 'tamkin'- is fixed and self-possessed- it is an essence, like the scent of the rose of which the doomed bird sings. This is related to the 'rang o bu'- color/scent syzygy pervasive in Urdu poetry.

Ghalib uses the phrase 'shikāyat'hā-e rangīñ- lover's complaints of countless hues- whereas 'tamkin' means assured possession. Thus, in contemporary Iran, 'tamkin' refers to the Law by which wives must make themselves attractive and available to their husbands. Of course, Islam regards this as a reciprocal duty- but, men are made of a baser clay.

'Taghaful'- the coquetry of feigned indifference- could be regarded as something which enhances attractiveness. Thus appearing not to comply with 'tamkin'- i.e. to delay the Lord's gratification- and being changeable (talwin), arbitrary, capricious, etc. may actually be a superior type of observance of the underlying duty.

From the point of view of Tawhid- i.e. pure Islamic Monism- the talvin/tamkin binary can mislead seekers- but only if God has so willed. This gives a complex theological poignancy- to attest aught is to but absurdly test the impassibility of a Deus Absconditus (taġhāfulhā-e tamkīñ-āzmāna)- to what would otherwise be a melodious sonnet written by a handsome and witty young courtier on the make.

Yearning's endearing delighters, how various and nefarious are they?
Ah! In sooth, if no Death is, in truth, Life were yet more grey

When, from head to toe, there is no conceit not coquetry's play
What boots this blazon of Courtesy's chill display?

Blandishments are so lavished on the blameworthy today
Complaint is itself ravished of what, Pure, it might say

Blushing, I desire an eye utterly naked in assay
Coyness in a King proves- what exactly pray?

The life of a rush light is but a single breath
Yearning is Honor's death in Faith's affray.

Pneuma is a wave of the Ocean of washing itself away
The Saqi's uncatchable eye is the decanter on her tray

The scent of raiment, indical, glitters not in the Mind's array
The mistral's mission of sorrow brooks no languorous delay

In the pulse of every droplet is the shell-song- 'the Sea is me!'
Than-"Yours utterly are we!"- what more can utterance say?

Why so circumspect? I stood bail for this. Look at me, not away!
Martyring me with a glance, how much weregild will you pay?

Listen! O plunderer of the dear purchased goblet of the Heart's Fidelity
Does the sound of its shattering enliven your revelry gay?

Long suffering in Love renders rank its own thorn wrought bouquet
That our livers are lily pale, did we ever gainsay?

An Assassin, this Vow of Endurance whose trials are durance for aye
Hope is a strength stealing Delilah, impatient for infidel pay!

Life-blighting is every trope, talking, utter she what she may
Her every air, every grace, a mocking 'I hear & obey!'.

I've copied what follows from Francis Pritchett's 'desertful of roses' website which gives further commentary

havas ko hai nishāt̤-e kār kyā kyā
nah ho marnā to jīne kā mazā kyā


tajāhul-peshagī se muddaʿā kyā
kahāñ tak ay sarāpā nāz kyā kyā


navāzish'hā-e be-jā dekhtā hūñ
shikāyat'hā-e rangīñ kā gilā kyā


nigāh-e be-muḥābā chāhtā hūñ
taġhāfulhā-e tamkīñ-āzmā kyā


furoġh-e shuʿlah-e ḳhas yak nafas hai
havas ko pās-e nāmūs-e vafā kyā


nafas mauj-e muḥīt̤-e be-ḳhvudī hai
taġhāfulhā-e sāqī kā gilā kyā


dimāġh-e ʿit̤r-e pairāhan nahīñ hai
ġham-e āvāragīhā-e ṣabā kyā


dil-e har qat̤rah hai sāz-e anā al-baḥr
ham us ke haiñ hamārā pūchhnā kyā


muḥābā kyā hai maiñ ẓāmin idhar dekh
shahīdān-e nigah kā ḳhūñ-bahā kyā


sun ay ġhārat-gar-e jins-e vafā sun
shikast-e qīmat-e dil kī ṣadā kyā


kiyā kis ne jigar-dārī kā daʿvâ
shikeb-e ḳhātir-e ʿāshiq bhalā kyā


yih qātil vaʿdah-e ṣabr-āzmā kyūñ
yih kāfir fitnah-e t̤āqat-rubā kyā


balā-e jāñ hai ġhālib us kī har bāt
ʿibārat kyā ishārat kyā adā kyā

Saturday 26 January 2019

Jason Stanley & the colitic Noddy

Jason Stanley certainly knows how to write stupid shite. Does this mean he also knows that he writes stupid shite?

Yes, according to a paper he co-authored with Tim Williamson which holds that  ‘knowledge-how is simply a species of 'knowledge-that'- i.e. it is a knowledge of propositions.

This is not a reasonable view. We know how to do things we don't even know are things. There are relatively few fields where a person expert at doing a thing can also say what exactly she has done and how she did it. However, these fields gain increasing salience because they can be made the subject of the division of labor and algorithmic methods. STEM subjects have this property. Philosophy does not- unless it ceases to be Philosophy.

This worthless subject can suck in potentially useful donkeys and turns them into braying asses precisely because it doesn't know how to call bullshit upon its own burgeoning as nothing else.

Consider the following from Stanley & Williamson's 2001 paper.

Many philosophers believe that there is a fundamental distinction between knowing that something is the case and knowing how to do something. According to Gilbert Ryle, to whom the insight is credited, knowledge-how is an ability, which is in turn a complex of dispositions. Knowledge-that, on the other hand, is not an ability, or anything similar. Rather, knowledge-that is a relation between a thinker and a true proposition. 
Change 'true proposition' to 'a proposition believed to be useful, at least, in context' and this seems quite reasonable.
After all, we can envision a situation where we say- 'okay, I guess I did fix the thingummy by thumping it, but- my hand to God- thingummy repair is not something I know how to do. Honestly, I didn't even know it was a thingummy.'
Although few philosophers now share Ryle's general philosophical outlook, his view that knowledge-how is fundamentally different from knowledge-that is widely accepted, so much so that arguments for it are rarely presented, even in the works of those philosophers who crucially rely upon it. For example, Hilary Putnam' characterizes the central moral of his work on meaning and understanding in the following terms: "knowing the meaning of the word 'gold' or of the word 'elm' is not a matter of knowing that at all, but a matter of knowing how" (ibid., p. xvi). Yet we are unaware of any passage in which Putnam argues for the distinction.
Actually Putnam had clarified this in 1996-

This isn't particularly useful but it suffices to put the thing to bed. Why? Putnam is saying philosophers are just playing a game. Language games are one small part of the totality of language. Thus propositions in philosophy aren't i-language propositions. Semantics has no purchase. Only pragmatics matters but it too is subject to an essentially economic fitness landscape.

 To sum up, 'knowing that', for Philosophers, is one type of game and 'knowing how' is another type of game. But both are equally puerile. Monopoly, the game, has nothing to do the sort of thing Competition Policy concerns itself with. A Judge in an anti-trust Case may look at questions of semantics and syntax so as to arrive at a 'harmonious construction'. However, syntax and semantics are quite useless if- like Stanley- you think you are playing Monopoly whereas everybody else knows the game is Mahjong.

At any rate, that is what is happening here-
According to the more sophisticated account of the distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that found in contemporary defenders of Ryle's distinction, sentences such as (2) have a distinct syntactic structure from sentences such as (3): 
(2) Hannah knows how to ride a bicycle. 
(3) Hannah knows that penguins waddle. 
William Bechtel and Adele Abrahamsen write, in describing what they call the "linguistic distinction" between constructions such as (2) and (3): "In general, the expression 'knowing that' requires completion by a proposition, whereas the expression 'knowing how' is completed by an infinitive (e.g. 'to ride') specifying an activity" (ibid., p. 151). On this view, in a sentence such as (2), 'knows how' forms a constituent, which takes as a complement the expression 'to ride a bicycle', which is a description of an action. 'Know' has no clausal complement in (2). In (3), on the other hand, 'that penguins waddle' is the clausal complement of 'knows', and denotes a proposition, which is the object of the knowledge relation.
This is fucked in the head. By changing the vocabulary, one can add or subtract syntactic features. It is quite foolish to assume, at this late hour, that an i-language exists- i.e. there really is an ideal speaker- and that it corresponds to 'Truth' by some magic. If this were true, there would be Nobel Prizes for Semantics not Physics. If you get sick, you'd go to a Grammarian, not your G.P.

A different approach is to appeal to intentionality

(IAK) If x intentionally Φ-s, then x knows how to Φ.
This is obviously false. I don't know how to poison my dinner guest. I throw in a bunch of things which aren't themselves poison with the intention of poisoning her. Sure enough, she dies. Does this mean I know how to poison people? No. I don't recall the precise mix and sequence of ingredients and in any case, only succeeded in her case because of a failure on the part of her idiosyncratic co-evolved defences against toxins.

Indeed, knowing how to do a thing may prevent intentionally doing it and intentionally doing it may depend on not knowing how to do it. For co-evolved or highly interdependent processes, this may be the rule not the exception. Once you are hacked or have your heart broken, the person who intends to do it again doesn't know how to do it. They may still succeed but by a method they don't yet know.

Even in 'Games against Nature', if there are is enough environmental noise, intentionally doing something isn't the same as knowing how to do it.

Still, if we can exclude 'noise', there is plenty we can be getting along with which involves intentionally implementing a deterministic sequence of actions with a more or less certain end result. However, most of us 'intentionally do' stuff without knowing how the thing actually gets done because we only see one tiny bit of the process. The division of labor works that way. So do language games. It is absurd to think that  to do a thing is to know how the thing is done. Indeed, Samuel Beckett's Theatre of the Absurd, to the eye of Faith, is Christian precisely because quod nescis quo modo fiat, non facis—if you do not know how a thing is done then you do not do it- which is the argument Ted Danson's reformed Devil is currently invoking in 'the Good Place' so it may be properly so called.

Returning to Stanley's silliness, we may well remark that erasing the 'knowing that'/'knowing how' distinction entails a wholly arbitrary and paranoid view of the world whereby if you think a non-Fascist is saying something similar to a Fascist,  you must conclude that the non-Fascist is actually a Fascist. This is because 'knowing how' to say something means subscribing to the same 'knowing that' set of propositions.

Thus I might say, with respect to almost any woman who ever gave me the time of day- 'you broke my heart. This means you are nothing but a sadistic heart-breaker. Don't pretend you ever cared for me or thought I might be anything other than an utter asshole and waste of space. You knew that ugly and stupid assholes like me are shunned by the fair sex. Yet you were civil to me. Why? Because, being a reasonable human being, you were bound to recoil from me sooner or later thus breaking my heart. Since you did it, you must know how to do it and since you know how to do it you must actually be that sadistic heartbreaker who, alone, could have so fell an intention.'

Come to think of it, this sort of paranoia is perfectly acceptable in affectionate relationships. But, we should aim for something higher- viz. not being an asshole all the fucking time.

Academic Philosophy takes a different view.

Consider Jason Stanley's latest essay in Project Syndicate. He writes-
I am a philosopher of language and a linguist by training, as well as an epistemologist and a cognitive scientist. I know a lot about what is known about language and thought, and have a good sense of what remains unknown.
Hubris much? This guy says he 'has a good sense' of what remains unknown. Yet, robustness or anti-fragility requires the mechanisms of language and thought to remain inaccessible to their own output. Someone with a 'good sense' of those black boxes could, quite quickly, render himself a raving lunatic.
Is that what has happened to Stanley? No. He is simply a stupid, lazy, liar.

This becomes clear when we examine his essay on a line by line basis. However, before doing so, let us look at his conclusion-
As matters stand, we can see when certain ways of talking and thinking are gaining a wider purchase, but we have no obvious way of calculating the effects on individuals and society.
This is not true. We have the tools to monitor 'ways of talking and thinking' on a real time basis and, what's more, calculate the effects on individuals and society. This is not an abstract philosophical matter. It is something that can make lawyers or I.T mavens very very rich. Also the thing is already known to have significant political and economic ramifications.
Moreover, we do not know if it is possible to adopt the language of hysteria about leftists, unions, Marxism, gender, and immigrants without also adopting other parts of the fascist package.
This is sheer nonsense. History shows that a regime can be anti-Fascist while bearing down very heavily upon leftists, Trade Unions, Feminists and immigrants. Indeed, Fascism's close connection with Corporatism, or- in its early years- Socialism, has always made it an inferior alternative for entrenched elites.
We do not know if fascism is a holistic language game.
A language game can't be 'holistic' because, by definition, it is much simpler than the entirety of language.
Here, the best guides come from our own history. Intellectuals from Klemperer to James Baldwin have warned us about the costs of defeat in the semantic war, which we lose by adopting the vocabulary of our enemies. 
They may have written well, but neither was a 'cognitive scientist' or a 'philosopher of language'. They died long ago. The world has moved on.
I am deeply worried that our changing linguistic use is paving the road to anti-democratic outcomes, including modern-day versions of fascism, which will not mirror precisely the forms we have known in the past. Given this danger, it is vitally important not to shy away from labeling the danger for what it is.
Let us see whether Stanley's 'deep worry' leads him to say anything sensible or useful.

This is how his article begins-
“Populism” is an innocuous-sounding description for the xenophobic nationalism that is now sweeping much of the world.
He is wrong on two counts. Firstly 'Populism' does not sound innocuous. It sounds like Botulism. It plays up primordial fears arising out of pathogen avoidance, more particularly in connection with hordes or mobs.

The second count on which he errs is in saying that 'Populism' is a description of 'xenophobic nationalism'. There was a 'United Front' Populism which was anti nationalist- more specifically anti-Nazi.

It is sinister that an Ivy League Professor, who claims to be a 'linguist by training', insists that Populism, more particularly given the pragmatics obtaining at the present moment, is an innocuous-sounding term though all the evidence is against him.

More sinister yet is the thesis Stanley is building up to.
But is there something even more sinister at work?
In The Language of the Third Reich, Victor Klemperer, a Jewish scholar who miraculously survived World War II in Germany, describes how Nazism “permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms, and sentence structures which were imposed on them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously.” As a result of this inculcation, Klemperer observed, “language does not simply write and think for me, it also increasingly dictates my feelings and governs my entire spiritual being the more unquestioningly and unconsciously I abandon myself to it.”
Klemperer's book was published in 1947. Had he been correct, Germany needed very extensive de-Nazification. Everybody born between 1922 and 1938 would require monitoring all their lives because their 'flesh and blood' had been corrupted.

Klemperer's book justified the permanent partition and occupation of the country. As a matter of fact, both the Soviets and the Americans soon saw with their own eyes that the Germans, like other people, were cognitively plastic. Those in the East quickly adopted the Communist ideology- or pretended to till they could escape. Those in the West, embraced Ordo-Liberalism founded upon the Law, unless they took the wrong course at Uni and ended up as terrorists in the pay of the Stasi.

More generally, it is an empirical fact that people who have been supposedly brain-washed by a tyrant rapidly change their opinions after that regime falls.

Language does not speak us. We use it strategically. That's why we bother with Laws and Economic mechanism design. If Language really mattered so much, we'd be ruled by Grammarians. Changing a country's vocabulary would change its socio-economic trajectory. We could abolish crime and selfish behavior simply by teaching our kids to speak properly.

Totalitarian regimes like those of Stalin and Hitler killed and imprisoned millons of people. They could terrorize ordinary people into conformity. No such mechanisms are available today in the U.K or U.S. Yet, Stanley says-
A similar phenomenon exists today in countries where a far-right politics has achieved success, be it Britain in the age of Brexit, Poland under Jarosław Kaczyński, or the United States under President Donald Trump. In recent weeks, politicians with such ideologies in these countries have increasingly found themselves painted into a corner, and have resorted to ever more outlandish lies.
But Stanley's lies are more outlandish yet.
While the Brexiteers remain insistent that crashing out of the European Union would not be devastating for the UK economy, Kaczyński has been busy trying to blame the murder of Gdańsk mayor Paweł Adamowicz on the opposition, instead of his own party’s rhetoric.
Crashing out of the E.U would not devastate the British economy. If there was any such prospect, we would already see massive capital flight and the pound trading at below par to the resurgent dollar.

A madman killed Gdansk's mayor. There is no proof that anybody's rhetoric drove the fellow crazy. Stanley is either very gullible or he is telling stupid lies.
Trump, for his part, has continued to manufacture a crisis on the Mexican border to justify his demands for a wall.
There was already a crisis on the border, which is why Trump's deportation levels lagged Obama's.

Stanley is telling stupid lies.
Yet for all of the focus on these leaders’ lies and violent rhetoric, not nearly enough attention has been devoted to the subtler applications of far-right rhetoric in recent years.
No attention whatsoever should be paid to rhetoric of any sort. Only facts and Structural Causal Models matter.
History shows that illiberal movements can advance their agendas not just through elections, but also by infiltrating the common parlance of political debate.
Nonsense. Political movements have to offer better economic outcomes for a possibly dominant coalition. 'Infiltrating common parlance' is for sissies. Terms from homosexual prison slang infiltrated political debate in Neo-Con circles twenty years ago. This did not cause them to start actually giving each other reach-arounds.
And as we’ll see, the evidence today suggests that far-right “populists,” authoritarians, and, indeed, fascists have been self-consciously waging a battle of words in order to win the war of ideas.
There is no war of ideas. There's stuff which works and there's other stuff which is discovered to be useless.
How did Trump manage to wrest control of the Republican Party away from the conservative establishment in the US?
The answer is simple. They were weak on Immigration, which people do care about, and strong on stupid shit like abortion, which people only pretend to care about.
Part of the story is his supposed “authenticity,” which is really another way of referring to his rhetorical style and diction.
'Rhetorical style and diction' means 'how he talks'. Trump sounds like he is shooting from the hip, not reading from a script which has been focus-grouped.
In his tweets, White House pool sprays, and campaign-style rallies, Trump’s use of language has proven effective for advancing his brand of us-versus-them politics, at least among a core base of ardent supporters.
Stanley's use of language has not proven effective for advancing his brand's way of saying 'Trump tells his supporters want they want to hear'.

Trump’s rhetoric did not come out of nowhere.
Nobody's rhetoric comes out of nowhere. Language does not work that way. Trump's distinctive speaking style reflects the New York of the Seventies and Eighties. Stanley, with predictable fatuity, mentions the very different rhetoric of a Southern academic who had researched his dissertation in Europe, could quote Neimoller in the original, and, famously, had sat on a sofa with Nancy Pelosi in an advertisement about climate change-
In 1990, Newt Gingrich, then a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Georgia, wrote a memo for the party training organization GOPAC that bears directly on US politics today. In “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” Gingrich compiled two lists, one of “Optimistic Positive Governing Words,” the other of “Contrasting Words.”
In the first list, Republicans are instructed to use the following terms to define their “vision of public service”: “conflict,” “courage,” “debate,” “listen,” “mobilize,” “pro-flag,” “pro-children,” “pro-environment,” “pro-reform,” “strength,” “tough,” “unique,” and “we/us.” And in the second list, they are given labels to apply to their opponents: “corrupt,” “corruption,” “decay,” “destroy,” “destructive,” “greed,” “hypocrisy,” “ideological,” “liberal,” “lie,” “permissive attitude,” “sick,” “threaten,” “traitors,” “unionized bureaucracy,” “welfare,” and “they/them.”1
So what? The same thing happened under 'New Labor'- to general merriment. But, because 'New Labor' shat the bed on migration, 'Old Labor' Corbyn now heads the party.

Gingrich’s memo is very similar to the “Metapolitical Dictionaries” used by the European far right.
Which in turn are very similar to style sheets used by every major Political Party. The fact is Stanley himself has a Dictionary on his bookshelf. Guess who else had a Dictionary? That's right, Atul Gopichand! This proves that Stanley farts and exits the lift anytime Prof. Amartya Sen enters it just like Atulji.

Stanley's notion of 'Metapolitical Dictionaries' is coherent only if there is no 'knowing how'/'knowing that' distinction and both relate either to True propositions or to effective Intentions in a World where Fascism has an intensional, not extensional, definition.
For example, in the French ethno-nationalist Guillaume Faye’s 2001 book, Why We Fight: Manifesto of the European Resistance, and the Swedish fascist leader Daniel Friberg’s 2015 manifesto, The Real Right Returns: A Handbook for the True Opposition, the reader is introduced to a compendium of specific terms that are meant to steer political debate. The lists include words such as “globalism,” “populist,” “alien,” “cosmopolitanism,” and “anti-racism,” defined in ways that are now familiar from the political right.
Historically, fascist movements have characteristically been very highly attuned to the importance of semantic warfare and the ways in which speech practices shape and form habits of thought.
That's why they lost. Words don't matter. They are 'cheap talk' and seldom correspond to either Truth or genuine motivations.

Economic and Military forces do matter. We may talk in a certain way while acting quite differently for this reason.
Just as Hitler, in Mein Kampf, expressed grudging admiration of the Western Allies’ World War I propaganda tactics, so should we recognize the sophistication of contemporary fascists’ use of language. Only then can we push back against it.
WTF? The only way we can 'push back' against a bunch of illiterate shitheads is by recognizing they are William fucking Shakespeare?

Stanley headlines his next paragraph as follows-
Mussolini was perfectly respectable before he foolishly allied with Hitler. Franco's Fascism very rapidly became respectable because of its good relations with the Catholic Church. Sir Oswald Spengler- after release from jail- was able to return to his place in British society. He and his wife enjoyed a brief resurgence of political salience on the issue of colored immigration. He found some support among young working class people as a result of this interview on TV .

Consider, first, the term “alt-right,” the coinage of which is often attributed to the American white nationalist Richard Spencer, though an early appearance in print seems to have been in a December 2008 article by the historian Paul Gottfried. Spencer is proud of his coinage, and fiercely competitive with others – including Gottfried – who claim also to have contributed to the term’s popularity.
“The beauty of the Alt Right brand,” the white nationalist publisher Greg Johnson writes, “is that it signaled dissidence from the mainstream Right, without committing oneself to such stigmatized ideas as White Nationalism and National Socialism.” This is not to say that Johnson himself is uncommitted to those “stigmatized ideas.” As the author of the book The White Nationalist Manifesto, he openly acknowledges that the “alt-right” was originally “heavily influenced” by white nationalism, and eventually merged with it.
Johnson applauds the introduction of the “alt-right” label, then, because it masks the movement’s anti-democratic nature. For this reason alone, those who do not count themselves among the alt- right should not use the expression at all. There are already more accurate terms for the same ideology, namely “fascist,” which captures the historical connotations that “alt- right” is intended to strip away.
Alt-right means 'Alternative to the mainstream Right' (or Conservative) movement which, because it was playing for bigger prizes, had no interest in the Campuses' Culture Wars or the plight of economically marginalized White people resentful of affirmative action and fearful of migration driven demographic change.

Fascism was about Corporatism and Militarism. It is not a viable option for advanced economies any more than Stalinism or Maoism.
The obscurantist application of “alt-right” is in keeping with one of the overarching goals of fascist movements: achieving respectability.
Fascism was respectable ab ovo because it had the backing of the Army and proved effective in totally fucking up the Reds. P.G Woodhouse's Lord Spode is a Fascist precisely because he is ultra-respectable. Psmith, by contrast, is a Communist because his Dad got hammered on Change and thus he had to drop out of Eton and work for a living.
As R. Derek Black, the son of the founder of Stormfront, a leading white-nationalist website, explains in a 2017 New York Times commentary, “My dad often gave me the advice that white nationalists are not looking to recruit people on the fringes of American culture, but rather the people who start a sentence by saying, ‘I’m not racist, but …’”
People on the fringes of any culture tend not to have a pot to piss in. There is no point recruiting them for any sort of Party work save banjo strumming, Deliverance style, sodomy.
Likewise, Johnson, in his inside history of the alt-right, notes that the movement’s early exponents “cultivated an earnest tone of middle-class respectability, avoiding racial slurs and discussing race and the Jewish question in terms of biology and evolutionary psychology.”
The people Johnson names were middle class nerds not tattooed Aryan Nation ex-cons. They didn't have to cultivate an earnest tone. They were stuck with it.
Meanwhile, contemporary European fascist movements have gone even further in articulating the goal of respectability. European far-right literature is replete with practical advice on how to make oneself look respectable by comparison to others. Friberg, for example, denounces “political violence” and “revolution” in no uncertain terms.
But this is a calculated ploy. In reality, there is a mutually reinforcing relationship between fascist street violence and fascist political movements, for the simple reason that fascist parties need violence in order to make themselves look peaceful.
Historically, this is false. Fascists won votes after they won the battles in the streets. In Britain, the B.U.P lost the battle of Cable Street. Even thirty years later, Sir Oswald Spengler was whining about how them Yids would turn up at his meetings and beat up the simple Anglo Saxons he was haranguing.

The problem with Fascism is that it has to do successful, economically sustainable, violence- defined as killing people and taking their cool stuff- so as to justify its strutting around with a puffed up chest. Otherwise it gets the shit kicked out of it.
Without some fascists engaging in violence, fascist parties lack a foil with which to differentiate themselves as the lesser of extremes, or even to position themselves as guarantors of “order.”
Rubbish! Fascists need Leftist mobs to run riot to pose as the guarantors of order. The thing works the other way as well. The Golden Dawn nutters helped Syriza come to power.
The quest for respectability is also at the heart of fascist metapolitical dictionaries, which offer language for making once-extreme ideas seem mainstream.
Racism was a mainstream idea, enshrined in many pre-1965 American or European laws. Forcible repatriation of minorities was part of mainstream discourse, as I recall, till Friedmanite Monetarism was accepted by the leadership of both main parties in the UK.

Stanley pretends otherwise. He goes back to Klemperer to search for a passage of a fatuity which might equal his own.
In The Language of the Third Reich, Klemperer notes that, “Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic: they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.”
Why did Hitler bother to invade Poland or France? He should have invested in some nice words which like tiny doses of arsenic would fuck everybody up.

Consider Stanley's own words. Are they causing any toxic reaction? No. We are only reading them because we like to watch a Harvard Professor shitting himself.
Fascist metapolitical dictionaries are best understood as vials of poison, to be administered slowly into the vocabulary of the body politic.
No! They are even better understood as vials of not poison, but miniaturized Rhodes Boysons which are administered, not into the vocabulary of the body politic, but the anus of the colitic Noddy.

For proof, we need only look at Stanley's next line-
Once fascists achieve a requisite level of respectability, fascism itself can start to plant roots.
Firstly, administering poison can't help you achieve respectability whereas administering miniaturized Rhodes Boysons into the anus of colitic Enid Blyton characters is an ancient and venerable custom worthy of a knighthood from the Queen.
Thus if we wish to understand how Fascism can start to plant roots, we must grasp the mechanism by which it miniaturizes Rhodes Boysons and administers them as an enema.
At its core, fascism is based on a particular understanding of social Darwinian struggle – hence the title of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
Social Darwinism was a particular understanding of an Evolutionary theory based on the 'survival of the fittest'. Fascism, an Italian ideology, was about uniting the classes so as to achieve greater National strength. Hitler's Nazism was based on the total war ideology of the General Staff. His autobiography shifts the blame for starting the War onto the Hapsburgs and offers a naive sort of testimony to the 'stab in the back' theory.

Hitler gained salience because he was less crazy than Luddendorf who was as anti-Catholic as he was anti-Semitic. Later, that crazy bedbug started his own Religion.
And social Darwinism, in turn, is the common bond linking neoliberalism (or economic libertarianism) and fascism.
Actually, Marxism is a Social Darwinism based on the elimination of a parasitic class- the bourgeoisie- so that Labor can enter the Realm of Freedom. A 'common bond' which links everything save Creationist Religion has no epistemic value.
This is why it is no surprise to hear Trump talk constantly of “winning” in business, regularly signaling his disdain for “losers.”
Trump claims to have 'mastered the art of the deal'. That's what makes him a winner. He never got a Government paycheck in his life- the only President of whom this could be said. He won because he said he could get a better deal for the taxpayers from the Government. He also said he'd get a better deal for America from Europe and China and Mexico and so forth. However, it appears, Trump was the unexpected beneficiary of, firstly, internecine warfare within the Republican Party, and, secondly, a protest vote in areas which Hilary took for granted.

Now that he is in the White House, this facile ideology is being translated into a project of national struggle against other countries.
Exactly! Trump is similar to Mahatma Gandhi in that respect! Just as Gandhiji's facile 'swadesi' ideology was translated into India's dirigiste 'national struggle' against importing nice stuff from other countries, so too is Trump's non-violent satyagraha aiming to achieve 'sarvodaya'- i.e. the upliftment of those left behind by Modern, Technological, Globalization.
A similar dynamic is also playing out in Europe.
Why did post-war Europe move towards 'mixed economies' and 'Butskellite 'Social Democracy' while America went in the opposite direction- most notably with respect to State funded Health Care? European economists, like the Myrdals put it down to Europe's racial homogeneity as opposed to America's legacy of slavery. Increasing colored migration- which coincided with the end of the 'Great Compression' of Income inequality- changed political dynamics on the Continent while reinforcing 'the Southern Strategy' in America. It is only thus that 'dynamics' appear similar on both sides of the pond.
In Germany, many of the original members of the neo-fascist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) previously belonged to the center-right Free Democratic Party. The FDP, more than any other German political party, champions a neoliberal governing ideology, and has presented itself as unabashedly “globalist,” favoring lower taxes and more free trade.
Germany still has a very liberal immigration regime for skilled workers. However, rightly or wrongly, nobody now favors an open door for Muslim refugees fleeing conflict. This is the driver of the dynamics Stanley observes. It is wholly foolish to think this has anything to do with Fascism.

Understanding how fascism can emerge from economic libertarianism is essential for comprehending the danger Western democracies face today.
Fascism can emerge if there are Leftist nutters running amok in the streets and so money becomes available to put some brawlers into black shirts and letting them loose.
However, this is not a sufficient condition. A country may prefer 'years of lead' with extremists of both types running amok senselessly, precisely because .
Economic libertarianism collapses quickly on its own. Why? Governments are necessary to secure rents and Knightian uncertainty means everybody wants to turn Profit into Rent.
Economic libertarianism – which should not be conflated with democracy – is a philosophy in which individual struggle is valorized, and success is the determinant of individual worth. Fascism, by contrast, is based on groupworth as the product of group struggle. Fascism thus replaces individuals with groups as the subject and object of analysis.
Fascism valorizes individual struggles which help the group. Libertarians valorize individuals like Ayn Rand who helped give them a group ethos. This is true of any ism. Stanley's distinction is useless.
It is a clearly distinct position from libertarianism. But recent history shows there are problematic assumptions that allow one to slip from one view into the other, without noticing.
Stanley himself slips from a Weber/Shutz 'ideal type' or 'representative agent' analysis, suitable for groups, to methodological individualism without noticing what he is doing. This is not because his assumptions are 'problematic'. Rather they are stupid and ignorant.

This is shown in his very next sentence-
For example, those who believe they belong to a group with superior work habits and a greater capacity for struggle can derive individual worth through mere membership in, and solidarity with, that group.
What fallacy is Stanley committing? The answer is that he takes 'belief of belonging' being, from the point of view of Utility, indiscernible from 'belonging'. Only if Shutzian ideal types actually exist, i.e. the population genuinely is segmented, could this happen on a statistically significant scale. Otherwise the thing would cancel itself out as noise.
People who think in this way tend to regard the international market as a battlefield where individual “nations” are locked in combat; when they look beyond the nation, they see a “world of enemies.”
Stanley is saying there is a portion of the population predisposed to a particular type of cognitive bias.
But for fascist politics to take root, it is sufficient merely to think that there is a battle between national groups within a country.
 This cognitive bias can operate within the nation's borders.
Either way, the myth of in-group superiority is a valuable weapon. As Faye writes in Why We Fight (emphasis his):
“Whether it’s ‘objectively’ true or false doesn’t matter: ethnocentrism is the psychological condition necessary for a people’s (or nation’s) survival. History is not a field in which intellectually objective principles are worked out, but one conditioned by the will to power, competition, and selection. Scholastic disputes about a people’s superiority or inferiority are beside the point. In the struggle for survival, the feeling of being superior and right is indispensable to acting and succeeding.”
Stanley clears feels superior and right. This article of his is about some catastrophe which might befall Democracy coz of them evil Fascists who are poisoning the vocabulary of the body politic with arsenic.
In urging the need for a myth of moral superiority to the Right, it is characteristic of Leftists, like Stanley, to accentuate impending catastrophes, which will always be sufficiently extreme to require not just individual grit and remorselessness, but groups of individuals aligned as Internationalists.
The disasters of the future will wreak so much havoc and require so much competition for scarce resources that there will be no place whatsoever for paranoid Professors of Philosopy. Stanley's ideology thus catastrophizes the future as a means of asserting its own necessity in the present.

It is nice to think that Western democracies are less vulnerable to the temptations of fascist thinking than they were in the past. And yet, unlike in the past, today’s fascist movements are responding to eminently plausible catastrophic threats. That means there can be no room for complacency.
For Hitler, the motivating catastrophe was an impending global food shortage, which never did make much sense.
Hitler's people got this piece of idiocy out of Keynes's 'Economic Consequences of the Peace'. That shithead says that America was becoming a net food importer! Europe would have to look to Poland and Ukraine to feed itself.
Thus Keynes was actually referring to himself when he wrote '

“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back"

Keynes was more of a 'practical man' than theoretical economist. He blindly believed in Ricardian diminishing returns and thus predicted that Germany wouldn't be able to feed itself. The General Staff lapped up that shite and the rest, as they say, is History.

Proper economists refuted Keynes's claims in 'Economic Consequences'. Similarly, thought a lot of the Green nutjobs used spurious statistics, there was some proper evidence for climate change. That's why Gingrich was on a sofa with Pelosi.

Stanley doesn't get this. He writes
But when Faye writes about a looming environmental catastrophe, it is not so easy to dismiss him out of hand. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear in a special report this past October, catastrophic global warming could well define humanity’s future in the next few decades.
There is no 'catastrophe'. There are sensible things well ordered countries- even very poor ones- can do and there is a 'tragedy of the commons' where such order does not obtain. Nutjobs talking about catastrophes merely add noise to signal. They should be disintermediated from the conversation because they think 'ideology' matters. It doesn't. Deeds matter, words are just words.

Consider the following paragraph-
Moreover, as Black reminds us, the US has a long history of ethno-nationalist and fascist thinking. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, believed that the struggle between nations made it necessary to instill in US citizens a myth of American nationhood. And, judging by a recent profile in The Atlantic, Gingrich today espouses an ideology that is more or less the same as that found in Faye’s and Friberg’s books.
The first sentence is bizarre. The US was considered by people like Marx to be ahead of, not behind, Europe. It is foolish to speak of American thought as following, rather than giving the lead, to countries like Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany which were technologically and industrially backward in comparison. Why bring up Benjamin Rush? He has some importance in the history of Medicine and the teaching of Chemsitry. He wasn't a Jurist, like Coke, elaborating a 'legal fiction' of autochthony. There was no need for any such thing. The American Revolution succeeded. The Nation was an accomplished fact. Economics mattered. Geopolitics mattered. Myths did not. Stanley's schizophrenic word salad is meant to fool the reader into thinking that a 'Structural Causal Model' exists such that an American History Professor, like Newt Gingrich, can actually be considered 'Fascist.'
The problem with this view is that we could just as easily call Gingrich a Gandhian or a Confucian or Wahabbi.

I could write, with greater truth.
Moreover, as the late Professor Raghavan Iyer, of Santa Barbara, reminds us, the US has a long history of affirming the doctrine of Universal Salvation which is the foundation of theosophical thinking. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the most celebrated proponents of this doctrine. And, judging by a recent profile in The Atlantic, Gingrich today espouses an ideology that is more or less the same as that found in Mahatma Gandhi's and Jawaharlal Nehru’s books.
Raghavan Iyer was a very distinguished academic. R.Derek Black is a youngster. Rush wasn't a bigot. He believed in Universal Salvation. Gingrich has more in common with Gandhi and Nehru than Hitler or Stalin. He isn't a sociopathic mass murderer pushing forward a cult of personality.

Stanley writes-
Indeed, Gingrich is fixated on evolutionary biology,
If this were true, he'd study the subject or at least use its jargon and pretend to have mastered it.
and seems to believe that humankind’s evolutionary heritage is best represented by the brutality and ugliness of human politics.
'seems to believe'? Seems to whom? Stanley? But Stanley is a lunatic.
According to The Atlantic, he thinks we should “see the animal kingdom from which we evolved for what it really is: ‘A very competitive, challenging world, at every level.’” In other words, what some might see as “viciousness,” Gingrich sees as a “natural” life-or-death struggle.
But, the same article tells us, he thinks- 'People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz.” In other words, in terms of game theoretic evolutionary biology, he seeks to promote cooperative, correlated, equilibria.  

It is also clear, from the article, that Gingrich was a publicity hound. He cultivated controversy so as to personally gain from it. But, such gadflies we shall always have with us.  We may chose to vote for them because we believe 'stirring things up' will yield some benefit.

Stanley isn't someone we voted for. He is a tenured Professor whose autocritas comes from his claim to superior knowledge. He tells us stupid lies and casts a false light on well known personalities. Why? It is because we can't vote him out of office. His institutional power actually increases if he shows the hoi polloi he can get away with publishing this sort of incoherent hate-filled bilge. 

At the same time that fascist ideology propagates national superiority as a necessary myth, it also necessarily embodies that myth.
Fascist ideology propagates the superiority of a particular nation as, not a necessary, but contingent myth. Otherwise the Nation could be led by Gandhians and yet maintain its status. Furthermore, no fascist ideology says it necessarily embodies anything. If it did, it wouldn't matter who the Duce or Fuhrer was. Facist ideologies say that 'embodiment' of the desired thing is contingent on some bunch of thugs knifing some almost indistinguishable other bunch of thugs.

Stanley has written nonsense. How does he justify it? He quotes a wholly irrelevant passage from
 Mein Kampf,  where 'Hitler declares that
“… all that we admire on this earth – science, art, technical skill and invention – is the creative product of only a small number of nations … All this culture depends on them for its very existence … If we divide the human race into three categories – founders, maintainers, and destroyers of culture – the Aryan stock alone can be considered as representing the first category.”
 What is the logical connection between this and the notion that 'fascist ideology necessarily embodies the myth of national superiority'?

Hitler is saying Aryans founded lots of things, thus proving their superiority, long before there was any Fascist ideology. 

In a similar vein, Faye insists that, “The contribution European civilization (including its American prodigal) has made to the history of humanity surpasses, in every domain, that of every other people.”
So what? Clearly this happened long before Fascism or Fayeism was invented.
Nowadays, one can find gentler versions of this idea being promoted by European far-right politicians who have long since gained respectability. Such is the nature of semantic warfare.
It was wholly mainstream to say Europe was the tops from before the time of Kant and Hume. There is no respectable or mainstream politician in Europe or America who says 'White people are shit. All the cool stuff was invented by Black peeps'.
Consider the concept of “European Enlightenment,” which has no singular philosophical meaning. As a taxonomical category, it could include philosophers as fundamentally opposed as Hume and Kant.
Hume and Kant weren't fundamentally opposed. Kant is taking up a gauntlet thrown down by Hume just as Fichte and Hegel and so on are taking up a gauntlet thrown down by Kant. It is always possible to find mechanisms which synthesize conflicting insights from 'Natural Philosophy' or speculative thought, so as to arrive at Scientific hypotheses.

Some of its figures, not least Kant, were the chief proponents of concepts that fascists roundly reject (namely, universal human dignity).
This is nonsense. An Eichmann could quote Kant. 'Human' is a movable feast.
Nonetheless, European far-right politicians have subtly adopted talk of the Enlightenment as a way to smuggle in more bald-faced claims of European superiority.
Far right politicians don't need to smuggle in recondite allusions to some long vanished age of guys poncing around in powdered wigs. They are getting by just fine by focusing on Muggers and Rapists and Suicide Bombers.
For example, Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever, an outspoken Flemish nationalist, recently started referring to the Enlightenment as “the software” of “the grand narrative of the European culture.”
So what? That particular piece of mental floss could have been said by anybody.  Why mention De Wever- an admirer of Edmund Burke and chum of David Cameron? What's wrong with being a Flemish Nationalist or a Scottish Nationalist or a Nationalist of any other stripe? Here in Western Europe we have no problem with them.
Why does Stanley find the fellow so sinister?
Borrowing from British philosopher Roger Scruton, he argues that “the European Enlightenment” and nationalism are complementary, rather than opposed.
Why borrow so obvious a bromide from Scruton? He made his mark helping working class peeps like me get a bit of intellectual polish at Birkbeck. Poor fellow, he has had to live down elite disdain and popular derision as a grammar school boy enthralled by the mores of the Public School elite.
In De Wever, one finds significant overlap with Faye. For example, both condemn liberalism and socialism as leading to “open borders,” “safe spaces,” “laws that protect feelings,” and the dissolution of parental authority.
So what? These guys don't matter. Reagan did matter. The 'L-word' was his coinage.
By contrast, consider the case of Steve King, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Iowa, who recently caused a controversy by asking how language like “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” had “become offensive.” King apparently did not get the memo about striving for respectability.
King did 'get the memo' in the sense that he was shunned by the Republican establishment though, this former bulldozer operator, kept getting re-elected. 
To be fair, he has clarified that ''he was not an advocate for “white nationalism and white supremacy.” “I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define,” he wrote.
But the rest of his party did. Following a public outcry, congressional Republicans stripped King of his positions on the House Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. Though he had made similarly offensive statements in the past, the Republican Party saw an opportunity to assert its relative respectability. And so, King was thrown to the wolves for expressing views that many of his fellow party Republicans – beginning with its 2016 presidential nominee – no doubt share.
How is this sinister? America is undergoing demographic change. 69 year old former bulldozer operatives get thrown under the bus.
From an American perspective, European fascists like Faye and, to a lesser extent, Friberg might seem too exotic to pose any real danger.
What sort of Fascist is pro-Jewish? It is sheer linguistic legerdemain to describe Faye as such. And if Faye doesn't fit the bill, how can Friberg?

Why mention such marginal figures, of whom few Europeans have heard, in an American context?
Their simultaneous invocation of the Enlightenment and renunciation of its ideals is a strategy that is foreign to America’s own civic traditions, and their hysteria about race-mixing remains completely impermissible in the US (and, indeed, across much of Western Europe).
Stanley is being naive. That sort of thing is coming back in a big way.
One does not hear many American politicians – or even members of the so-called intellectual dark web – touting Nietzsche.
The guy was a syphilitic loser. why 'tout' him? People at College in the Nineties soured on Kojeve's Hegel and the Nietzche's Last Man because of Francis Fukuyama vomited on them.
And yet, reading European fascists’ metapolitical dictionaries
which don't exist
is deeply disconcerting, because one finds that much of the language – and the concomitant ways of thinking – has already achieved mainstream status.
Yup! That's what happens when you start reading dictionaries which only exist in your imagination. What happens next is that you discover the neighbor's cat is spying on you for Mossad.
Faye, for example, denounces anti-racism as a doctrine that “encourages discrimination in favor of aliens, the dissolution of European identity, the multiracialization of European society, and, at root, paradoxically, racism itself.” When that was written in 2001, it seemed ridiculous. To say that anti-racism is racism is a classic fascist inversion of ideals (war is peace, corruption is anti-corruption, authority is freedom).
Stanley's entire essay consists of nothing but calling non fascists, fascists. By his own logic this means he is a 'classic fascist'.
But now consider what has happened in the intervening years. The concept of “reverse racism” has become mainstream.
When Faye asserts that anti-racism is the “[t]ouchstone of the self-righteous” and “the most advanced expression of postmodern totalitarian ideology,” his diatribe becomes obviously unhinged. But aside from the level of hyperbole, is his argument really so different than the brilliant Columbia University linguist John McWhorter’s description of “Antiracism” as “a new and increasingly dominant religion?”
The similarity is that neither of these dudes matter. Nor does Stanley. This is just hair pulling and name calling of a silly sort.
Or, consider the issue of “political correctness,” defined by Friberg as “a pejorative normally used for a set of values and opinions from which individuals are not allowed to deviate without falling victim to social and/or media sanctions.” In the two excerpts below, both from Friberg’s work, it is genuinely hard to tell whether the author is Friberg or one of any number of US-based “classical liberals” decrying the latest trends on college campuses:
If it is genuinely hard to tell the difference and these guys don't matter, then the sensible course is to drop the subject.
“The latest innovation [of the far left] is the ridiculous pseudoscience of ‘gender studies’…which, under the cover of ‘justice’ and ‘equality’ aims to create an atrophied human being … dependent upon … academics for his or her value system.”
Okay. Gender studies is shite. But so is whatever shite Stanley teaches. There is a Credentialised Ponzi scheme in non STEM subjects which needs to be tackled. But there are also all sorts of shady, for profit, Colleges preying on working class people like me. It turns out my Associate Degree in Hospitality Technology is completely worthless. It is not possible to carry drinks on both sides of the tray. Yet that was the very topic of my dissertation! Clearly, I have been cheated! I'm looking for a good lawyer to sue the Government for listening to a totally unqualified charlatan, Sir Isaac Newton by name, and passing a deeply discriminatory 'Law of Gravitation'.
“Anti-racism supports ethnic self-assertion by minorities, as long as the minority in question is not European. This is justified by reference to largely imaginary, reified concepts such as ‘White Privilege.’”
'White Privilege' is a notion calculated to create a backlash. It isn't something endorsed by genuine African American economists, jurists, or legislators. There are statistical methods of checking for and tackling Institutional discrimination through the Courts. This improves allocative efficiency and is a Hicks/Kaldor efficient.
To take a final example, attacks against so-called cultural Marxism seem to have become mainstream within academia. But, as Yale University’s Samuel Moyn recently pointed out, the term itself is a recycled anti-Semitic trope that has been bouncing around on fascist message boards for years.
Just as Stanley's shite has been continually recycled since the time of the Popular Front, decades before I was born.
In reading Faye and Friberg and seeing the many overlaps with contemporary political discourse, it is difficult to avoid the thought that the fascists are winning the semantic war.
I recall the semantic wars. It was won, once and for all, by Buffy the Vampire slayer whose scripts are provably better than William Shakespeare's.

Stanley too has his chestful of stakes and crossbows, but he isn't connecting with any demons and making them go poof and dissolve into dust. Also, he isn't doing the somersaults and flying kicks de rigueur in such topoi.

What could be flabbier than this-
To be sure, many of the American and European liberals wringing their hands about the “far left” and gender studies would reject Nietzsche and be called, by the far right, “globalists.” These are not fascists. And yet, we should not forget how easy it has been for some thinkers and politicians – Germany’s FDP is our era’s Exhibit A – to drift there from neoliberalism.
Stanley forgets that Neoliberalism was previously equated with Fascism. Thus, with respect to his own availability cascade, there has been no drift, only a disrobing.

Similar slippages can occur in other areas.
So, there was no drift, just slippage- like your bathrobe slipping open as you open the door to the Pizza guy and suddenly you are on the sex offenders list.
For example, some anti-nationalist public intellectuals are increasingly pressing for a debate about IQ differences between racial groups, if only to signal their own commitment to the truth.
Science isn't about debates featuring posturing ninnies. It is about Structural Causal Models enable technological advances. We want ways to boost I.Q or make it more productive. If there are racial differences in how this can be done- that's cool. The thing isn't divisive. It is a win win.

What is needed is more and better umpires calling foul on pseudoscience and drive-by regressions. Debate can go hang.
And others are urging us to recognize the Enlightenment as the signal achievement of civilization, as if it was the Europeans who invented reason and bestowed it on the rest of humankind. As Gingrich understood when he included terms like “debate” and “listen” on the positive side of his ledger, appeals to reason can serve almost any end. Hence, Friberg assures us that reason is on the side of limited immigration.
Limiting immigration is perfectly sensible. Because of information asymmetry, Government's ought to set out criteria for migration and enforce such regulations I may believe, on the basis of my musical tastes, that America revers very dark skinned cop killers who aim to become pimps. I save money and jail time if the American Embassy denies me a Visa on the basis of, not my complexion (that has been illegal since 1965) but my previous convictions in those two fields.
Likewise, fascist ideologues constantly hold up and defend meritocracy as an ideal.
So does everybody else. No Political Party says 'we want more morons occupying top jobs'. Why? Everybody benefits if vital jobs are done by people capable of doing them. I want a meritorious Surgeon to operate on me. We want meritorious soldiers to defend our borders.

Stanley, alone, finds the thing reprehensible.
But so, too, do all of the “globalists,” as well as the libertarians in Silicon Valley. In the event of an environmental catastrophe, it is not difficult to imagine free marketeers opting for ultra-nationalism as the best survival strategy, or tech billionaires deciding that society should be run by the “winners” – that is, people like them.
If the thing is so obvious why mention it?
In its original usage, the term “alt-right” encapsulated somewhat distinct anti-democratic ideologies, among them the philosopher Nick Land’s “Dark Enlightenment.” According to Land, democracy is inevitably corrupting, and democratic states thus should be replaced by “Gov-Corps” that are run as corporations and managed by a CEO. The guiding principle would be “No voice, free exit,” meaning that citizens would have no say in policymaking, but could leave whenever they wanted (as if self-exile – one of the harshest punishments throughout antiquity – is cost-free). According to Quartz’s Olivia Goldhill, the Dark Enlightenment has attracted a number of prominent supporters in Silicon Valley, including, apparently, the venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who has been channeling some of its tenets in his speeches.
Well, the thing is silly. Economic theory explains why 'Voice' and 'Loyalty' are important for allocative and dynamic efficiency.

There is no need for a stupid Philosopher to get his knickers in a twist over something the STEM subjects have already clarified.
Scholars who write about the Dark Enlightenment
actually the European Enlightenment was 'Dark' precisely because it denied the Church's insistence that Black people are equal to Whites. Ben Johnson's 'Masque of Blackness' represents a moment of transition from 'natural reason'- which affirms this equality- to the 'artificial reason' of Trans-Atlantic Plantation Slavery.
have employed the term “fascism” to describe it. The danger now is that distinct far-right anti-democratic movements, from European and American ethno-nationalism to techno-corporatist strains like the Dark Enlightenment, are converging, albeit with supporters who have been drawn in for different reasons.
If these guys are 'scholars' then I should get a Nobel Prize in Physics for my experiments in carrying dishes on both sides of the tray.
It is Jason Stanley.
As we have seen, the objective of fascist metapolitical dictionaries (which can only exist if 'knowing how' is the same as 'knowing that') like Jason Stanley's is to insinuate innocent-sounding terms into public discourse in order to make once-acceptable democratic ideologies seem malign, thereby increasing Campus opposition to engaging with alethic, utile research. 

Arrow's theorem 70 years on

Preferences are not Decisions. Beliefs are not Knowledge- they have no conceptual tie to action because they need not be related to a coherent Structural Causal Model and thus gain no benefit by displaying consistency or meeting any other criteria of rationality.

Language clearly distinguishes between what one prefers and what one chooses and what one believes and what one knows or uses to motivate one's actions. It is easy to generate intensional 'paradoxes' and counterintuitive 'impossibility results' by abolishing distinctions which extensional pragmatics, that is natural language, has long found discovered to be useful.

Consider the opening sentence in  Arrow's famous paper-
In a capitalist democracy there are essentially two methods by which social choices can be made: voting, typically used to make "political" decisions, and the market mechanism, typically used to make "economic" decisions.
In a Capitalist democracy, voters don't make social choices, they elect representatives who have their own agendas and constraints. If voters could make 'political decisions' directly, the expectation would be that periodic redistribution of Wealth would occur and so Capitalism would disappear.

Similarly, Market mechanisms don't make economic decisions. We may say, metaphorically, that people 'vote with their money'. But that is merely a figurative expression. It is not the case that markets 'aggregate preferences'. Opinion polls may do that. All that markets can do is coordinate decisions involving constraints and contingent events of various types.

Arrow's next sentence shows extraordinary ignorance and prejudice. He says Britain, whose Labor Government, at that time, had created the National Health System and which had Nationalized various industries, was an 'emerging democracy'. Jim Crow riddled America, however, was not.
In the emerging democracies with mixed economic systems, Great Britain, France, and Scandinavia, the same two modes of making social choices prevail, though more scope is given to the method of voting and to decisions based directly or indirectly on it and less to the rule of the price mechanism.
This is a wildly inaccurate picture. 'Social choices'- stuff like deciding whether to build a Hospital or a battleship- were made by those authorized to do so on the basis of economic considerations and involved considerable discussion and negotiation. Voting, more often than not, had a symbolic, legitimating role. It was not the basis of any decision.
Elsewhere in the world, and even in smaller social units within the democracies, the social decisions are sometimes made by single individuals or small groups and sometimes (more and more rarely in this modern world) by a widely encompassing set of traditional rules for making the socia1 choice in any given situation, e.g., a religious code.
This is nonsense. All social or communal or even family decisions are made on the basis of authority which may be guided by habit, or expediency, or consultation, or anything else it pleases.
The last two methods of social choice, dictatorship and convention, have in their formal structure a certain definiteness absent from voting or the market mechanism.
Dictators make decisions in the same way as everybody else. They may legitimate their decisions by holding a referendum. What makes them different from Democratic leaders is that they may suspend the Rule of Law and incarcerate or kill those who oppose them.

Social Choice in 'Democratic Capitalism' is just as likely to be based on habit, or convention. Indeed, if transactions are more frequent, this is more, not less, likely to be the case.

Arrow's take on Dictatorship is equally cartoonish.
In an ideal dictatorship, there is but one will involved in choice;
Nonsense! The dictator may know his own will but he does not know what resources are available and how they can be combined so as to yield what he wants. There is still an information aggregation problem involving what people need in order to work the dictator's will.

Furthermore, since Rousseau, there was the notion that the ideal leader- Philosopher King or 'Enlightenment' Despot- was legitimate if he or she incarnated the 'General Will'.  A Democratically elected leader may make the same claim- perhaps by invoking some personal askesis or spiritual kenosis such that his or her own ego had been pulverized and the 'Spirit of People' has replaced it.

Arrow understood this. He writes-
in an ideal society ruled by convention, there is but the divine will or perhaps, by assumption, a common will of all individuals concerning social decisions, so that in either case no conflict of individual wills is involved.
This would also be the case in a relatively homogeneous Capitalist Democracy in a steady state.
If the Dictator, or the Convention, aims at the same outcome as the Capitalist Democracy, the two would be indistinguishable.
The methods of voting and of the market, on the other hand, are methods of amalgamating the tastes of many individuals in the making of social choices.
Yet, Enterprises and Governments do market research and conduct opinion polls and organize focus groups and so forth. Votes and Market mechanisms may validate or reinforce decisions made by Enterprises or Governments. However, they may be disregarded for perfectly rational reasons.
The methods of dictatorship and convention are, or can be, rational in the sense that any individual can be rational in his choice.
Nonsense! No individual can be rational in his choice, unless the thing is trivial or it isn't a choice at all. That's why people agonize over the thing and seek the advise of others and pray to God and consult fortune tellers and so forth. Under uncertainty, utility maximization is not rational. Something based on hindsight- on backward induction- like 'regret minimization' may evidence superior rationality. But 'Hannan consistency' or 'Muth rationality' involve interdependence and represent correlated, not competitive, equilibria. In other words, Public signals are needed to improve individual choices so that Social outcomes are better for everybody.

Arrow, writing 70 years ago, may be pardoned for taking a different view-
Can such consistency be attributed to collective modes of choice, where the wills of many people are involved?
We now know that the notion of Hannan Consistency enables us to see why we can get to optimal correlated equilibria without formal Public signals. But this type of Consistency is very different from the crude mechanical sort Arrow is invoking.
It should be emphasized here that the present study is concerned with the formal aspects of the foregoing question. That is, we ask if it is formally possible to construct a procedure passing from a set of individual tastes to a pattern of social decision making, the procedure in question being required to meet certain natural conditions. 
It is not possible to determine even one individual's tastes and relate that determination to that individual's choices in a consistent manner under any natural conditions.

Consider 'unrestricted domain'- if there is no constraint on how the individual formulates his preferences, and thus the set of preferences that he might have, then there is no consistent mechanism which will deterministically provide the same choices, if the preferences are presented the same way.

If this were not the case, we wouldn't have two different words to represent what we prefer and what we actually choose. A person who said 'I preferred wine but I chose juice' would be considered a lunatic if there really was some deterministic connection between preferences and choices.

In practice, we have internally inconsistent preferences which is why we suffer cognitive dissonance. But without that dissonance our ability to flourish- even as a Robinson Crusoe, let alone as a member of a complex civilization- would be severely compromised.

No doubt, there are a lot of preferences which we have which consistently map to choices- however this only happens if the thing doesn't matter very much or else there is no real choice. I prefer wine to juice, but I order juice at breakfast because I have work to do. It would matter a great deal to me if I got fired for being under the influence.
By contrast, at dinner, I may finish off the juice rather than open a bottle of wine precisely because I'm going to go to sleep anyway and so my choice of beverage doesn't matter very much one way or the other.

It is wholly unnatural to think 'consistency' in translating preferences to choices is desirable save if the domain of the former is restricted to stuff which doesn't matter very much at all.

Moving on to another of Arrow's conditions, we find 'non Dictatorship'.
Surely I would resent a Dictator making my choices for me? The answer is- no. If the Dictator knows me better than I do myself and cares even more than me about my well-being, I would prefer that my choices reflect this 'meta-preference' of mine. The Dictator need not be another person. It could be my own super-ego.

Let us now look at the crucial assumption Arrow makes in his paper.
It is assumed that each individual in the community has a definite ordering of all conceivable social states in terms of their desirability to him. It need not be assumed here that an individual's attitude toward different social states is determined exclusively by the commodity bundles which accrue to his lot under each. The individual may order all social states by whatever standards he deems relevant.
Suppose Arrow's assumption were true in the real world. What would happen if Robinson Crusoe, alone on his island, could know his preferences with respect to all conceivable social states? The answer is his life would be much easier. He'd know when to wake up and which tree to stand under to be rewarded with a ripe fruit dropping into his hands and where to throw his fishing net and when to hide in the forest when cannibals appear and so on and so forth. He would also be able to build a teleportation device, using conceivable technology, to travel the Universe. He wouldn't need to put any thought into any of these activities. He'd just need to do whatever he preferred to do at any given moment.

Arrow's assumption destroys the need for Economics or Politics or Scientific Education or even Human Language. We would all just do what we preferred and everything would work out wonderfully- provided that's what we really wanted.

Amartya Sen has suggested that Arrow misses a trick by not allowing 'interpersonal comparisons of utility'. However, so long as people wanted a perfect Benthamite Utopia, they'd be able to achieve it just by doing what they preferred. This is because they are magically endowed with a complete set of preferences over all conceivable social states including the one which would have been computed by an omniscient Benthamite deity.

I suppose, Arrow could say 'by conceivable social states', I mean those conceivable by the agent given his mental endowments. However, in that case, the 'commodity bundle' is still a constraint. It isn't really true that the agent can have any sort of preferences. There is an element of determinism built in.

Alternatively, Arrow can stipulate for 'common knowledge. Thus
A member of Veblen's leisure class might order the states solely on the criterion of his relative income standing in each;
but can't steal a march on his rivals because he gains no extra information. But, in that case, his choice is still constrained by his commodity bundle.

However, Arrow adds-
a believer in the equality of Man might order them in accordance with some measure of income equality.
If such a person does this it must be common knowledge that the thing is feasible. But that means there must be a common knowledge mechanism to bring it about. This in turn means that Democratic Capitalism would be an oxymoron. The proletarian majority would expropriate the plutocratic minority through the ballot box.
Indeed, since, as mentioned above, some of the components of the social state, considered as a vector, are collective activities, purely individualistic assumptions are useless in analyzing such problems as the division of the national income between public and private expenditure. The present notation permits perfect generality in this respect.
In other words, it allows people to choose the ideal cooperative equilibrium where all actions are coordinated not by the invisible, yet greasy, hand of the market but the prompting of the Holy Spirit within our bosom.
Needless to say, this generality is not without its price. More information would be available for analysis if the generality were restricted by a prior knowledge of the nature of individual orderings of social states. This problem will be touched on again.
No it won't. The moment it is touched this whole availability cascade collapses.
In general, then, there will be a difference between the ordering of social states according to the direct consumption of the individual and the ordering when the individual adds his general standards of equity (or perhaps his standards of pecuniary emulation) .We may refer to the former ordering as reflecting the tastes of the individual and the latter as reflecting his values. The distinction between the two is by no means clear cut. An individual with aesthetic feelings certainly derives pleasure from his neighbor's having a well-tended lawn. Under the system of a free market, such feelings play no direct part in social choice; yet, psychologically, they differ only slightly from the pleasure in one's own lawn.
Nonsense! The aesthete buys a house in a gated community where there are rules for things of this sort. Alternatively, he could pay to get his neighbor's lawn tended to. Externalities can be internalised in various Coasian ways.
Intuitively, of course, we feel that not all the possible preferences which an individual might have ought to count;
Common sense tells us that preferences count for nothing. Only deeds matter.
his preferences for matters which are "none of his business" should be irrelevant without  challenging this view, I should like to emphasize that the decision as to which preferences are relevant or not is itself a value judgment and cannot be settled on an a priori basis.
These value judgments count for nothing. We know that on an a priori basis. Only deeds matter.
From a formal point of view, one cannot distinguish between an individual's dislike of having his grounds ruined by factory smoke and his extreme distaste for the existence of heathenism in Central Africa.
Formal point of views involve stabbing oneself in the eyes. This may be useful if you have a fundamentally useless job, not otherwise.
There are probably not a few individuals in this country who would regard the former feeling as irrelevant for social policy and the latter as relevant, though the majority would probably reverse the judgment.
What is important is that everybody agrees that this shite is irrelevant.
I merely wish to emphasize here that we must look at the entire system of values, including values about values, in seeking for a truly general theory of social welfare.
Why must we? Social welfare does not depend on what 'values' people may or may not have. It depends on the outcome of decisions made about how to allocate scarce resources.

My Mum did not ask us what we wanted for dinner. Whatever she cooked- we ate. This raised Social Welfare. A Mum who panders to the preferences or values of her children and sex slaves may reduce Social Welfare.

A general theory of Social Welfare does not contribute to Social Welfare. The thing is a waste of resources.

We do spend money compiling various types of Statistics. Nobody has ever bothered to try to compute a Social Welfare Function. The reason is not far to seek-
It is the ordering according to values which takes into account all the desires of the individual, including the highly important socializing desires,
thus, it is pie-in-the-sky such that everybody is declared to be the sexiest, smartest, coolest person alive
and which is primarily relevant for the achievement of a social maximum.
Nonsense! It is primarily relevant for the achievement of wanking.
The market mechanism, however, takes into account only the ordering according to tastes.
Rubbish! The market mechanism has no access to 'orderings according to taste'. It may have access to 'orderings according to values' in that philanthropy and thrift can be mediated through the market. However, the information aggregated by markets has to do with decisions made under constraints arising from scarcity of various types.

The market does not forbid actions of a Coasian type which internalize externalities. Similarly, charitable institutions as well as enterprises which seek to pool risk, do trade-off 'values' as opposed to tastes such that external effects are taken into account. Thus, both for charity or insurance purposes, certain courses of action may be avoided as repugnant or involving moral hazard precisely for this reason.
This distinction is the analogue, on the side of consumption, of the divergence between social and private costs in production which has been developed by Professor Pigou.
In other words, just as the economic theory of externalities dispels any foolish notion that we might have that deterministic market mechanisms have some magical property, so too does it destroy our faith in deterministic voting mechanisms.

That's why the following is shite-
Just as for a single individual, the choice made by society from any given set of alternatives should be independent of the very existence of alternatives outside the given set.
This is nonsense. No alternative is irrelevant for Robinson Crusoe. It is either useful to contemplate or not useful at any given time. Deciding it is useless, however, may be useful because it illumines a whole class of decision problems.

One might as well say that 'alternatives' of the sort used in thought experiments should always be ruled out. But then Arrow's own work would be ruled out. Yet, by examining it and declaring it to be shite we can save ourselves a lot of time & tummy trouble because we learn to recognize a particular type of turd in the punch- bowl.
For example, suppose an election system has been devised whereby each individual lists all the candidates in order of his preference, and then, by a preassigned procedure, the winning candidate is derived from these lists. Suppose an election is held, with a certain number of candidates in the field, each individual filing his list of preferences, and then one of the candidates dies. Surely, the social choice should be made by taking each of the individual's preference lists, blotting out completely the dead candidate's name. and considering only the orderings of the remaining names in going through the procedure of determining the winner.
Nonsense! The knowledge that Rajiv Gandhi had been killed after the first polling day affected the over all outcome because voters used the new information to change their vote in the next two polling dates. This was perfectly rational. The information set had changed.

Alternatives which arise out of the same Structural Causal Model are going to exhibit interdependence. Thus no alternative can a priori be considered 'irrelevant'. However if the thing has an almost perfect substitute and no 'income effect'- i.e. doesn't matter very much- then we can ignore it. But, if that were true in general, regarding the alternatives considered by Social Choice, then we should ignore Social Choice as wholly inconsequential.

If you have an election slate of bland interchangeable nonentities, it doesn't matter if you don't vote or if some of the candidates die because as far as Social Choice was concerned there was no real Choice.
That is, the choice to be made among the set of surviving candidates should be independent of the preferences of individuals for the nonsurviving candidates. To assume otherwise would be to make the result of the election dependent on the obviously accidental circumstance of whether a candidate died before or after the date of polling.
Election results do depend, and should depend, on stuff like whether a candidate is dead or not. Such deaths increase the information set and the only reason they shouldn't be taken into account is if the decision doesn't matter very much. But if this were true of all decisions, then Social Choice theory doesn't matter at all.
Therefore, we may require of our social welfare function that the choice made by society from a given set of alternatives depend only on the orderings of individuals among those alternatives.
Individuals don't want their own existing ordering to be used but rather the one they'd prefer to have with hindsight. This could be a regret minimizing ordering. Alternatively it may be the one they'd have at the end of an almost infinite process of negotiation and bargaining so that everybody agreed they had the best possible preference profile and that it yielded the best possible result.

It only makes sense to focus only on individual orderings if there are no externalities, no concurrency type problems, no uncertainty, no information asymmetry and so forth. But, in that case, there is no point having a Society. There is no 'social' dimension to anything. It's like a dinner party where everybody brings their own food and converses only on topics of interest to themselves. Would we really consider it a 'social' event? The thing is more akin to a bunch of overlapping transactions. Nobody is really being 'sociable'. They may as well have stayed home, ordered takeaway, and tweeted to like minded assholes. By contrast, at a well conducted dinner party, agape has a mellowing effect, people modify their opinions and see that  the true virtue of cooperative solutions is that they create an incentive for building trust and mutuality not merely to create more cooperation but as things good in themselves.