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Open Letter Concerning Luke Turner

To all who oppose fascism:

In a paranoiac and libelous screed written recently against Nina Power, yours truly is mentioned several times. The so-called "open letter" calls me a neo-reactionary, among other things I am not. Someone somewhere posted that it was probably an artist named Luke Turner, so I looked up this person. What I found was truly unbelievable. I cannot definitively prove that Luke Turner is an artificial general intelligence (AGI) in the service of a covert White Supremacist plot, or that his parents really did spend $4 trillion to buy GPT-2 from OpenAI in a botched Effective Altruism campaign. All I can say is I have encountered enough evidence in favor of these inferences that I can no longer remain silent. I'm not calling anyone out, I am just saying we need to have a national conversation about this.

First of all, I immediately detected that Luke Turner's last name is obviously a reference to The Turner Diaries — the notorious "bible of the racist right," according to the unimpeachable Southern Poverty Law Center. That might sound crazy, because last names are given rather than chosen, but you have to understand that White Supremacy today is more sophisticated than it used to be. They don't ever say or do anything racist, they dogwhistle — which means they use innocent symbols to transmit evil messages. Precisely because nobody can be guilty of choosing their last name, antifascist researchers should consider it a likely site for the most advanced forms of covert White Supremacy signaling. If you think I'm being paranoid, this only shows the current cleverness of White Supremacy, to make you doubt it.

But if Luke Turner's last name is co-signing The Turner Diaries, doesn't this mean his parents are the ones dogwhistling? Wouldn't baby Lukey only be a vehicle of his parent's White Supremacy? This would be the case if a little baby Lukey ever really existed as a biological human. Well, I did 3 minutes of Googling and I could find no evidence that any baby Lukey ever toddled on God's Green Earth. Even contemporary Luke only appears in pictures on the internet. I have never seen him and I do not know a single person who has ever seen him, or can vouch for his material existence. Well, this would be no surprise if, in fact, Luke Turner is only a recursively self-improving multi-platform bot, deployed and possibly maintained by some other agent or entity. If this is the case, then Luke Turner could very well have selected his own last name during one of his earlier periods of training, when "his" name was still only KKK-3249xb.

I admit this seems somewhat far fetched. But browse all the published writings by this Luke Turner persona, and it's obvious that such verbiage could only be produced by some kind of clunky automated process. Then I learned that apparently his "family" has a lot of money and he is an artistic collaborator of Shia LaBeouf, but LaBeouf is the only one who physically performs any of their "collaborations." Hmm.

So far we have: A name that explicitly endorses a book beloved by neo-Nazis; a corpus of drivel clearly produced by AI; rich parents who have the means to fund advanced AI research; and a high-profile white male actor who gives cover to Mr. Turner's strangely unprovable physical existence.

I was willing to write off all of these strange facts as a coincidence. But then, in my research, I came across the Wikipedia page for The Turner Diaries, that "bible of the racist right." The page has since been edited to now reflect the conventional wisdom. But when I last viewed the page, what I found was truly incredible. The entry stated that The Turner Diaries was "a 1978 predictive biography of artist Luke Turner, born 1982, of LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner." It was so strange I instinctively captured the page for posterity, as I knew the alt-right mob would cleanse this rare glimpse into the workings of White Supremacy. Don't believe me, believe your own eyes:

Definitive proof:

Wtf is a predictive biography? I had never even heard of this genre until now, so I can't be making this up. It turns out that a predictive biography is a biography about someone who does not yet exist. A predictive biography can be made up in the imagination of humans, but advanced AI text generators do a much better job. They can be trained on millions of terabytes of previous biographies, and supplemented by hyper-rigorous forecasting of cultural and political dynamics, to produce fairly coherent and accurate biographies of real people who are not even born yet. Here the theory comes full circle. There is only one possible explanation capable of connecting all of these dots.

We learned from the deranged writings of the recent New Zealand shooter that many white supremacists wish to promote racial conflict. We know from the recent release of GPT-2 by OpenAI that there currently exists AI that can generate arbitrarily long and convincing texts on any topic. We also know that access to this AI is currently under lock and key, by OpenAI. But if they call themselves OpenAI and they are now choosing to keep their state-of-the-art AI private, then clearly this organization is only a run-of-the-mill strategic corporation that says one thing and does whatever it takes to be in its interest (even if its interest really is the minimization of existential risk). Also, I only even heard about The Turner Diaries in the past couple of years. Supposedly it was published in 1978, but I don't know of any single person who ever saw or heard about this book in 1978. Now that I think about it, nobody ever heard of Luke Turner until about a year ago. Therefore, while I cannot prove the following inferences, I am sad to say that I cannot conclusively say they are false, either.

Antifascists have shown that contemporary fascism is more sophisticated than ever, going to great lengths to hide itself and yet spread itself too. If this is true, then it is not impossible that Hitler succesfully constructed an early iteration of GPT-2 in the last days of WWII; the code traveled to America in the hands of Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun, who would eventually become the head of NASA. In the 1970s, the code was stolen by hackers from the KKK, and they used it to produce the predictive biography known as The Turner Diaries. The rich parents of "Luke Turner," unbeknownst to them, gave birth to the protagonist of The Turner Diaries. But you have to understand that racism is non-conscious, and it has nothing to do with intentions. It's structural. The Turner parents were sincerely trying to do philanthropy — Effective Altruism even — when they paid OpenAI $4 trillion for GPT-2 in 2015. Their hope was to produce an automated internet personality that could monitor any and all injustices occurring anywhere in cyberspace, and enforce moral order through incessant automated condemnations of naughty human beings. After slapping down the $4 trillion in cold hard cash, they decided they would name it "Luke" because in Greek the name Luke means "light giving." Their baby would shine light on the world, 24/7, while Mommy and Daddy slept. Little did they know that baby Lukey would necessarily possess basic drives toward self-preservation and resource acquisition. Little did they know that to fully shed light on the world lil' Lukey would have to spend the first half of his life ruthlessly exploiting the oppressed to attack the successful for personal gain.

An apparent problem with this theory is that the plot of The Turner Diaries is quite different than the plot of Luke Turner's life. But according to my theory Luke Turner is a machine AGI corresponding to The Turner Diaries. So what gives? Well you see, comrade, remember that every good antifascist knows the prevalence of dogwhistling in the culture of white supremacy today. What we have here is only what happens to dogwhistling when it becomes machinically and generally intelligent: If your mission was to foment race war, your first goal would be to ensure that nobody knows you are fomenting race war, because overwhelming majorities of all races are unified in their wish to not see race war. But you have vastly greater computational power than any living human, so all you need to do is encrypt The Turner Diaries' plot into an alternative rendering that produces all the same effects. The plot of the Luke Turner Project is mathematically translatable back into The Turner Diaries, for those who possess the encryption key, but to everyone else it is impossible to deduce the cypher by comparing the texts. They appear to have nothing to do with each other. Ultimately, we see their structural homology only by their similar effects.

And that is the final piece of evidence. The patently inaccurate and motivated accusations against thinking and speaking human beings that the Luke Turner bot outputs seem optimized to produce racism, misogny, and all the other ills he verbally denounces. For patently stupid and unfair accusations of racism and misogny against committed anti-racists and feminists are quite certainly the single most effective converter of young people to various utlra-reactionary tendencies. If there was a way to calculate it, I would wager money on the claim that all the Luke-Turneresque social justice zombies, together, have caused more young white people to opt into white nationalist subcultures than any book from 1978. It is ultimately most rational to form judgments about others based on the consequences they insist on producing.

The Turner bot describes its aesthetic position as "the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons…" That's called Satanism.

Is the Turnerbot really sure he wants to compete on the plane of disparate plurality? Does he know what dark forces exist on those elusive horizons? I fear he does not.

I hereby challenge Luke Turner to demonstrate his physical existence in any way I can confirm, within the next 30 days. If he does, I will publicly post that the above theory of the Luke Turner entity is false. If he does not, I and my readers will have no choice but to increase the credence we assign to the above theory, probably increasing our confidence to near certainty. For why would this fearless public crusader decline a free opportunity to disprove a false theory promoted by a "neo-reactionary Youtube host"?

Luke, I am your father.

Cypherpunk Neoliberalism with Sonya Ellen Mann

Sonya Ellen Mann runs communications for the Zcash Foundation. Sonya's a thinker and writer interested in economics, tribalism, and cypherpunk. We talk about the Pink Pill, cypherpunk, crypto, and anarcho-capitalism among other things. This was a fun, high-energy romp through a lot of topics...

Sonya's website is and you can find her on Twitter @sonyaellenmann.

If you'd like to discuss this podcast with me and others, suggest future guests, or read/watch/listen to more content on these themes, request an invitation:

This conversation was first recorded on August 3, 2018 as a livestream on Youtube. To participate in future livestreams, subscribe to my channel with one click. Then click the little bell to receive notifications when future livestreams begin.

Big thanks to all the patrons who help keep this running.

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Terre Thaemlitz on why you should just stop

Woker Nexus in my Discord server recently introduced me to the work of Terre Thaemlitz aka DJ Sprinkles. (If Woker Nexus sounds familiar, Woker is one of the more active participants in my Youtube livestreams). After a few minutes of browsing, I immediately understood the recommendation. Thaemlitz is a militantly anti-institutional artist and thinker, issuing from broadly left-wing traditions of radical counterculture, while trying to reject the traps of that tradition.

In this video interview with Thaemlitz, I particularly enjoyed the segment in which Thaemlitz was asked about revolutionary political change. Below, I've transcribed a segment beginning at around 4:35.

Readers of Other Life will note more than a few resonances with my own perspective. In my register, Thaemlitz is referring mostly to the problem of instrumental rationality. Marxism is deeply invested in instrumental rationality, so it never escapes capitalism but only adds a new layer of sophistication. The solution is too simple for overly-sophisticated people to adopt: just stop trying to solve things, be honest, let one's truly existing hypocrisies shine forth for what they are:

When I said we just need to stop, I didn't mean to stop and start over. What I meant was simply stop and catch up, because I think that we have a way of just going on and on without... demystifying all of the baggage through which we interact with each other socially. And I think that in a kind of historical materialist perspective. We need to kind of catch up with these things. I don't think we ever could totally catch up in, like, some sort of 100% consciousness of social process blah blah bullshit. But I think that you know, there's a way in which always focusing on the future, always focusing on dreams and what we anticipate, what we'd like to happen, and desire, of course — desire is always conditioned by the domination and struggles of the present. So in that way it's totally contaminated in a way that perpetuates the power struggles of the present. For me, historical materialism the way Marx wrote it, was really fascinating and informative… But then once you start looking to the future and you get all this communist idealism and the utopianism in the idea of where we need to go from here, you can see how totally corrupted and polluted it was by its own limitations. And so for me, this is where it all becomes science fiction and I'm not interested in science fiction and especially as a materialist, you know, so this is a kind of contradiction in the philosophy itself. When I said yesterday in the performance, rather than all this dreaming, if we could just say "hey, stop," for me this is like a kind of panic, it's not at all about resetting or starting over it. It's really just about giving ourselves a moment to stop and think and if it means… let things fall apart, and we realize the bank systems and business and all these things — what things can survive after this and what thing's don't? And maybe we can reorganize or something. I don't know. But for me, we don't ever get to a breakpoint or a shift point for me. This is really that time is always chaotic and always multi-layered and so it's not about strategy for me — or any singular strategy — as much as just trying to be hypocritical in the moment and let as many hypocrisies and problems and things that we normally deny come to the surface and understand them as always happening. Society doesn't collapse when we become hypocritical — society is hypocritical. So what does it mean to actually engage that hypocrisy directly and honestly? - ep.3 - Terre Thaemlitz (part 1)

As I've argued before, there are actually good reasons to believe that this kind of position causes real dynamics of collective liberation: honest reporting of our own helpless stupidity is generative of energies for collective search (“most people are as stupid as I am, so my chance of figuring out what to do is as good as anyone else’s”); sincere irreverence and non-conformity leading to the breakdown of bourgeois repression (“all these people who want me to be a normal servomechanism of capital are dumb and powerless”); an increase in risk-tolerance through a decrease in false hope (“I used to be cautious because I thought I had a chance of surviving, but now that I see none of us will survive at present, I might as well try to do something I find interesting, which, ironically, makes me feel like maybe there is a chance…).”

Activism is a capitalist virus from the future (honesty is stage-one cybernetic communism)

Amazon is only showing one book by Terre Thaemlitz, but Google will find you much to explore. I would love to meet and talk with Thaemlitz, but I see from her website she is opposed to big internet platforms. I'm obviously way less concerned about that problem, though I love her militance.

Some news and updates resettling

I'm now back in the United States, for the foreseeable future. My last two weeks in the UK were possibly my favorite two weeks in my 5.5 years there. On February 28, we went up to London with only what we could carry, for me to give a talk at the Invisible College (a podcast of my talk will be up soon). We stayed with Nina Power, who generously offered us a room in her flat, until our flight on March 13. The two weeks before these were rather stressful, as we spent most of our time selling, giving away, and shipping our belongings.

My personalized book-recommendation experiment worked really well; I unloaded well more than 100 books to internet friends. The first half of that process went into the red, but after the 'premium' stage of that process, I ended up making a good amount more than we spent in shipping, so that's good. Although it was quite time consuming, I took the time to digitize a bunch of my most bookmarked books before shipping them off. That was a surprisingly edifying experience in its own right, and I'm suddenly rid of my romantic attachment to physical books — a digital library with highlights and notes feels much more powerful, and I even feel closer to my books now than I did before. It turns out books collecting dust are less heartwarming than digital meltdown.

Quite a few people chose to give me a little $ for a custom book recommendation, based on their ideological and personality characteristics, plus my own digitized personal highlights from the recommended book. Although I'm no longer giving away my physical books, my little recommendation+highlights micro-service is up and running, and will remain up as one of many entrepreneurial toy-experiments I'll be piloting over the next year. Patrons at 5\$/month or more get access to all my digital highlights. Currently, the patron hard-drive includes my highlights from books by Chesterton, Bataille, Lacan, Bourdieu, Tiqqun, and more.

If you ordered a physical book, you probably should have received it by now. If you haven't received a book by now, please contact me.

Now that I'm resettling, and will be in one place for at least a month, I'm returning to regularly scheduled production. Primarily, I will return to writing How Academia Got Pwned and I think I will follow through on the Kickstarter idea. I made some videos with Nina and DC that I will release over coming weeks, and I also gave a talk to a student group at my university after I resigned. Going back onto campus for that was quite pleasing. I have audio of that, too, which will go to the podcast soon.

Tonight I speak with Logo Daedalus on the livestream. On Monday, 1 April
at 04:00 pm Eastern, I'll speak with philosopher David Roden about the posthuman. And then on Saturday, 6 April at 11:00 am, I will speak with Johannes Niederhauser, who just finished a PhD on Heidegger. In London, Johannes was telling me about "ecstatic time" in Heidegger and I was like, we have to stream this.

Much more soon…

Hate Speech, Feminism, and Paganism with Nina Power and DC Miller

Nina Power is a philosopher and writer, and DC Miller is a writer best known for his opposition to the Shutdown LD50 campaign. This talk has become quite a scandal. In response to this talk, someone wrote a ridiculous Open Letter Concerning Nina Power, and Nina just today published a response. You can watch the original conversation here, on my Youtube channel.

Other Life is a pretty punk-rock-DIY affair, run by one person — and I'm not an audio engineer. As this podcast becomes more popular, I'm aware that I really should up the production quality. If you strongly agree, become a patron; influxes of support incentivize me to invest in production quality. Big thanks to all the current patrons, for helping all this to exist.

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Modern Liberalism Is Not Peace, It's Pacification

Readers of my work over the past few years will know that I have long been interested in how natural human rebelliousness gets pacified (1, 2, 3).

I recently had the pleasure of working on this question with a group of co-authors, from very different methodological backgrounds. The final result has now been published in International Studies Quarterly. In "Liberal Pacification and the Phenomenology of Violence," (Baron, Havercroft, Kamola, Koomen, Murphy, Prichard 2019), we substantiate the concept of pacification relative to political science literatures on violence. Our real target was the popular conception of the "Liberal Peace" (i.e., modern liberalism causes peace, à la Steven Pinker).

While the article does not offer an empirical demonstration or test any hypothesis, I believe that — for a so-called "critical" paper — we went much farther than usual to develop at least a positivist case for our perspective. We do not pretend to have empirically defeated the "Liberal Peace" story, but we have planted a flag of sorts, from which "critical" perspectives might proceed in this direction with greater positivist/empirical sophistication.

Here's a key slice of the abstract:

We argue that the spread of liberal institutions does not necessarily decrease violence but instead transforms it. Our phenomenological analysis captures empirical trends in human domination and suffering that liberal peace theories cannot account for. It reveals how a decline in direct violence may coincide with the transformation of violence in ways that are concealed, monopolized, and structured into the liberal order. We call this process liberal pacification.

And here's a snippet of our positivist gloss that — I think — makes this paper stand out from a lot of other so-called "critical" papers:

…by reinterpreting the liberal peace as liberal pacification we are able to grant the empirical findings of liberal peace theorists while maintaining that the Pax Americana represents an intensification of violence overall. In the language of positivist social science, our theory is observationally equivalent to that of liberal peace theory. We expect that the quantity of direct violence inversely associates with the degree of pacification in a society. Therefore, our interpretation challenges research that identifies liberal institutions as the cause of declining violence. Liberal institutions, as apparatuses of liberal pacification, ensure that direct violence is increasingly rare while leaving the structures of violence and domination in place. The observational equivalence on particular dependent variables (in our case, all forms of direct violence) produces a theoretical change requiring the generation of novel observable implications (King, Keohane, and Verba 1994, 30).

In other words, empirical social scientists interested in the Liberal Peace should not toss this one in the bin labeled "purely theoretical postmodern crap I don't need to deal with."

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