Poor villagers live in the shadow of a mountain, scratching... | News | Coagulopath
Poor villagers live in the shadow of a mountain, scratching a living from the ribs of the earth. Inside the mountain is an immense quantity of gold, protected by a dragon.
An adventurer arrives. In the dead of night he scales the mountain, kills the dragon, and returns with a single gold piece to prove his deed. The villagers regard it with awe and suspicion, as though it might dissolve in his hand.
“There’s more inside,” the dragonslayer says. “The wyrm is dead, and you are all rich.”
Villagers cautiously enter the mountain and take handfuls of gold from around the dragon’s cooling body. It’s as the adventurer said – there’s nearly limitless amounts of it. Soon men are hauling goldfrom the mountain by the wagonload, each believing that they have become rich.
The local economy instantly crashes. Gold is so common that it’s useless as a means of exchange – might as well barter with air or dirt. Nobody will accept it as payment for any good or service.
The dragonslayer is astonished. He thought he’d killed a dragon. Instead, he’d really killed gold.
AI generated-art is fascinating and should be closely watched by anyone in any creative field.
The speed at which technological breakthroughs are occurring is a little alarming. Lenin said “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”. 2022 is shaping up to be fifty-two Lenin-weeks back to back to back.
In the space of a few months this has gone from being a niche interest to a rapidly-growing commercial concern. A wave of consumer-facing products and services now exist, of which Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2. and Craiyon (the last two are based on OpenAI’s GPT-3) have received the most media attention.
It’s hard to know just how capable these things are. Once, it was claimed that DALL-E 2 couldn’t create an image of a horse riding an astronaut…but it could. You just had to ask it right. As someone once noted, it’s often like neural nets have the ability to do things but not the motivation, and can be tricked into performing well via cleverly-worded prompts. For example, prompting with “trending on Artstation” seems to increase the quality of DALL-E 2’s output. And none of the things that could possibly be bottlenecking GPT-3 in its current form (corpus size, or parameter count, or whatever) are close to a theoretical limit, meaning there is likely a massive amount of headroom still to be explored. OpenAI recently slashed the price of GPT-3 by 66%, which could be a sign that GPT-4 is nearing release.
Most commentary has focused on the job displacement issue. Will artists now be out of work now?
A valid concern. AI-generated art has potential to create the same kind of industry shifts that mp3 piracy did twenty-five years ago.
A basic economics concept: any product has a mixture of fixed costs and marginal costs. Fixed costs do not vary with the number of products, while marginal costs do. In practice, the fixed costs of a Metallica album are whatever it costs them to write and perform the music, and the marginal costs of a Metallica album are the pressing, distribution, shelving, and so on. The fixed costs get you one of a thing. The marginal costs get you the second.
At the start of the millenium, digital filesharing caused the marginal costs of music to crash to near zero. Suddenly, no shelf space was required to stock music, and no trucks were needed to ship it. You could fill an entire hard drive with Metallica songs for free if you wanted.
This famously crunched the record industry and did great damage to other fields. But through it all, artists had a lifeline: piracy didn’t affect their fixed costs. “Someone still has to pay us to create art, right? You can’t pirate art if nobody makes it.” Thanks to AI, this is no longer necessarily true. Now artists are hammered at both sides: in the 00’s Digital filesharing disrupted the distribution of art, and in the 20s neural nets will disrupt the creation of it.
But if this was the only consequence, I’d probably feel quite well disposed to AI art.
Technology has always displaced employment. We generally consider this to be a net positive. Yes, it sucks that wheelwrights don’t exist anymore, but now we have cars.
There’s an anti-technology attitude among artists that’s a little frustrating. We’re now standing at the threshold of an age of wonder. A day where you can just imagine something and get a photorealistic image of it. I think it’s honestly amazing, and if a porn artist has to get a day job because neural nets can create better rule 34 of Dora the Explorer shitting into CatDog’s mouth than he can, then so be it.
And as patio11 notes, all artists are reliant on technology themselves. They just don’t realize it. When a writer uses a thesaurus to look up a different word for brown, that’s normal. When a writer uses NovelAI to workshop a scene…well, that’s just wrong.
But there’s something far more disquietening going on: AI-generated art almost seems like an axe aimed at the concept of art itself.
Art won’t die, but it’s likely that over the next twenty years (or sooner), it will cease to exist in its current form. What the next evolution of art looks like remains to be seen. But it now must evolve.
What is art?
An academic would tell you that it’s an artist’s aesthetic experience trapped inside a medium.
An evolutionary psychologist would tell you it’s a peacock’s tail: a form of social signaling designed to attract a mate.
But for the average person, it’s probably fair to say “art is the world made special”.
What’s the difference between an empty wall, and a wall with a painting on it? The second wall is special.
Art adds uniqueness to the world. However poor or hackish an individual piece of art might be, collectively, art enriches our experience of living.
Art’s specialness stems, in part, from its rareness. Few men can paint like Da Vinci, few sculpters can shape marble like Michelangelo could. When you look at the Sistene Chapel, you are gazing upon the apex of human achievement.
(Modern and contemporary art is a slightly different story. Obviously Duchamp’s Fountain isn’t particularly rare – there’s urinals in every public place – but it’s “rare” in the sense that it was a bold statement, a founding work in a new movement, was seen as opening new avenues of discussion about everyday objects elevated to art, blah blah. Not every urinal is a work of art.)
…all of this goes away when a neural net can fire out a firehose of Da Vincis. When everything is special, nothing is.
The permanent debasing of art is a difficult idea to get your head around. In a sense, it’s actually worse than art disappearing. Imagine if every art gallery was suddenly empty. Yes, the world would be much the poorer, but we would create new art to replace it.
But imagine if the concept of art ceased to exist. But imagine if those artworks…but through sheer commonality, we lost our ability to appreciate them.
This has happened before. We stand on the bones of many past dragons.
No, Youtube’s player didn’t break. You saw the whole thing. This is Fred Ott’s Sneeze, from 1896. It’s Thomas Edison’s assistant sneezing, shot on a kinetograph.
It wasn’t the first film, but it was the first to be copyrighted. People used to pay money to watch things like this, in traveling road shows. The new technology amazed people.
What feeling does it produce in you now?
I’ll tell you what I feel: absolutely nothing. It’s just a grainy video of a man sneezing. We’ve had this technology for well over a century and the novelty is gone, along with the emotional response that it once triggered. The thing exists but its soul has departed, exorcised by technology and time.
Even more “legitimate” art isn’t safe. An Aboriginal cave painting provokes scientific interest…but I doubt I’m feeling what the person who painted it felt. A lot of art from centuries past feels quaint and odd, because it was baked in a fire of religious fervor that modern audiences don’t share.
Even if you look at the paintings in this book so closely that your nose touches the paper, you’re still looking at them across a vast distance: the centuries that separate the highly religious, proto-scientific age of Jan Van Eyck (c. 1390-1441) from our own post-Christian, science-saturated age. We can’t see them as Van Eyck meant them to be seen and his contemporaries did see them, because the old beliefs and certainties have vanished or changed. Perhaps the portraits – including his own shrewd, thin-lipped and highly intelligent face, watching with careful, observant eyes beneath a red turban – have best ridden out the centuries. But what do the Madonnas and Annunciations mean now? Not what they meant once: Protestantism and secularism have trampled on Van Eyck’s Catholic world.https://papyrocentricperformativity.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/eycks-eyes/
What he means is that although Van Eyck’s paintings remain, the context that allowed us to appreciate them has vanished (unless you’re Catholic). For art in general, the Reformation is here, and the Enlightenment soon.
Heap of Broken Images
But maybe this sort of jeremiad comes years too late.
I largely agree with nostalgebraist’s thoughts here. AI is just an A-bomb falling on a city already blown to rubble. It almost doesn’t matter. There’s too much art already.
Every year, there are thousands of new books that nobody reads, millions of new photos whose fate is to sit on page 214 of an instagram feed, hundreds of albums that clog Bandcamp’s servers, etc.
Even huge cultural moments (such as massive Hollywood movies underpinned by hundred million dollar ad spends) no longer seem to mean what they did. Massive studios spend a quarter of a billion dollars making a movie…and after a few years, it’s like it never existed. It’s frequently joked that James Cameron’s Avatar grossed $2.847 billion at the box office…and yet nobody can remember a single thing about it.
There’s so much stuff now. Great news for the consumer, but for the artist it feels like pouring endless smoke into a black sky. The novelty has gone, and no matter what you do, there’s someone out there doing it better.
The most reliable way to establish yourself as an artist is to find a “scene” that’s small enough for a name to stand out, exploit that scene as much as possible, and pray it doesn’t collapse. You can’t realistically be the best writer, but maybe you can be the best Post-Futurist LGTB Afropunk writer. Be a big fish in a small pond. But soon (possibly very soon), AI-generated art will be able to instantly fill any niche you point it at.
I think art will re-emerge in a new form. The beauty and rareness-seeking impulse hasn’t gone away.
But what will that new form look like?
We might see a concerted pushback toward human-generated art. “Created by a person” might become the next hot marketing buzzword, the way Queen albums used to be advertised as having no synthesisers.
Or art might rally around performance. Computers have beaten humans at chess for a long time, but chess between two humans is still fascinating to watch. And someone like DrDisrespect is doing far more than playing a videogame: an aimbot can easily defeat him in raw technical skill…but nobody wants to watch an aimbot stream a game. Already, Art and Music are among the top-viewed categories on Twitch. There seems to be demand for this kind of connection, and insight into the creative process.
Lastly, art might coalesce around intentionality, meaning, and context.
I appreciated Bruno Schulz’s prose and George Trakl’s poetry more when I knew the circumstances under which they made it. I appreciated Black Sabbath more when I knew about the pain in Tony Iommi’s amputated fingertips. That sense of human connection is very important, or at least it is to me. “This isn’t just a random shard of beauty and horror, it was forged by a mind.”
Can GPT-3 offer that? Here’s the circumstances under which it makes art.
But regardless of what happens, I think we’re heading into a world where art has no intrinsic value, in and of itself. It only has conditional value due to the circumstances attached to it. This was probably always at least partially true, and will now become fully true. It is the Total Eclipse of the Art.
Years pass at the village. Everyone uses paper money now. Mountains of gold are left lying in the street. Its value now stands at negative. You pay to have it carted away.
It still glitters, just as it did. Occasionally someone notices the shine, and thinks that it’s pretty. Then they understand, a little, why their ancestors prized it so highly.
But that world has gone away. The shine is everywhere. Gold means nothing.
…except in one household.
The dragonslayer has kept the original piece he took. It’s on his mantlepiece. He cannot say why, but he can’t bear to throw it away. He looks on that tiny scrap of worthless metal and sees anew the dragon: the heaving scales, the flaming breath. Remembers the blood pounding in his ears, the terror wrapped like a claw around his heart. Remembers how he felt in the moment after he drove a sword through the monster’s breast, and knew that it was all over.
I’ve had it with this dump. We got no food, we got no jobs, our pets’ heads are falling off, and now it’s time to talk about the prose of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
They are two of the highest-selling authors of our time. They’ve sold thousands of books, maybe tens of thousands. You might not like either them, but clearly they’re doing something that works.
The word that captures King’s prose is “conversational”. His writing has the relaxed, chatty quality of a neighbour telling you about his day.
“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspapers floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
That’s the opening sentence of It. Note the elliptic, rambling style. The way it’s loaded with clauses. The self-conscious hedging of “so far as I know” and “if it ever did end“.
This is how people talk in real life. They don’t move in a straight line toward the point: they wander, they misspeak, and they double back and have to correct themselves. Record yourself talking sometime.
The stumbling “if it ever did end” is especially good: it’s like the guy’s still getting the story straight in his head. It perfectly suggests the dark, turbulent glass of a human mind, and grounds the story in reality.
Why does this work? Remember that stories were communicated orally for the majority of human history. We’re the odd ones out by reading books in the third millennium. “Pulped trees imprinted with thousands of black letters” is not a particularly natural way to consume stories, and it forces the reader to do several awkward deciphering acts. Black letters must be decoded into images, and those images unpackaged into setting, tone, characters, subtext, and so forth. Anything that can shortcut this process – making the images bloom faster, or shine brighter – is a mitzvah. King hardwires his story directly into your subconscious by making it sound like it’s coming out of a living person’s someone’s mouth.
Furthermore, King is a horror author, and horror isn’t about scary clowns and haunted cars, it’s about the contrast of states – normal against abnormal, sane against mad, dead against alive. A dead body starting to walk is only disturbing in a universe where that isn’t supposed to happen. A character’s descent into madness is only meaningful in a world that presupposes sanity. A lot of bad horror fails because it plunges you into the deep end too quickly. Everyone’s dead, everyone’s insane. We don’t get a sense of normalcy being ruptured.
As King understood forty years ago, “Monster in a little town” isn’t spooky because of the monster, it’s spooky because of the little town – the idea that normal, wholesome life has gone wrong.
And so he’s starting the story in the most normal way he can: a chatty, avuncular older relative, telling you about a sheet of newspaper floating into a gutter.
Dean Koontz is often regarded as Stephen King’s peer. They are shelved together, read by the same people, their parents conspired to have their surnames both start with K, etc. King/Koontz are potentially the world’s most famous duo in the world where neither member has ever had anything to do with the other.
I work 10- and 11-hour days because in long sessions I fall away more completely into story and characters than I would in, say, a six-hour day. On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page. Even five or six is not a high rate of production for a 10- or 11-hour day, but there are more good days than bad. And the secret is doing it day after day, committing to it and avoiding distractions. A month–perhaps 22 to 25 work days–goes by and, as a slow drip of water can fill a huge cauldron in a month, so you discover that you have 75 polished pages. The process is slow, but that’s a good thing. Because I don’t do a quick first draft and then revise it, I have plenty of time to let the subconscious work; therefore, I am led to surprise after surprise that enriches story and deepens character. I have a low boredom threshold, and in part I suspect I fell into this method of working in order to keep myself mystified about the direction of the piece–and therefore entertained. A very long novel, like FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE can take a year. A book like THE GOOD GUY, six months.
And he revises heavily. He uses a computer now, but once used a typewriter, and piled up fearsome amounts of wastepaper. If pages were people, Dean Koontz would be eating his last meal on death row right now.
My wife, Gerda, had been urging me to trade my typewriter for a computer. When I finished WHISPERS, she informed me that she had tracked our office supplies, and that for every page in the final manuscript, I had used thirty-two pages of typing paper, which meant that I had done thirty-one discarded drafts of every page, typing eight hundred pages of text again and again to polish it. Although I was aware of my obsessive-compulsive rewriting, I hadn’t realized quite how many revisions I usually undertook.
Here are the results of that [excerpts from the first few pages of The Taking].
A few minutes past one o’clock in the morning, a hard rain fell without warning. No thunder preceded the deluge, no wind.
The abruptness and the ferocity of the downpour had the urgent quality of a perilous storm in a dream.
Lying in bed beside her husband, Molly Sloan had been restless before the sudden cloudburst. She grew increasingly fidgety as she listened to the rush of rain.
The voices of the tempest were legion, like an angry crowd chanting in a lost language. […] Beside her, Neil snored softly, oblivious of the storm.
Sleep always found him within a minute of the moment when he put his head on the pillow and closed his eyes. He seldom stirred during the night; after eight hours, he woke in the same position in which he had gone to sleep–rested, invigorated.
Neil claimed that only the innocent enjoyed such perfect sleep.
Molly called it the sleep of the slacker.
Throughout their seven years of marriage, they had conducted their lives by different clocks.
She dwelled as much in the future as in the present, envisioning where she wished to go, relentlessly mapping the path that ought to lead to her high goals. Her strong mainspring was wound tight.
Neil lived in the moment. To him, the far future was next week, and he trusted time to take him there whether or not he planned the journey.
They were as different as mice and moonbeams.
You’re watching condensed sweat when you read his prose. It’s sparse and best-sellery, but every word choice was labored over.
Koontz’s prose has a lyrical aspect. It’s full of assonance and alliteration – notice that Koontz runs words with similar sounds or syllables close together (lost language…sleep of the slacker…mice andmoonbeams). This consonance triggers the phonological loop that helps anchor phrases in memory, which is why it’s so common in advertising slogans (“Heinz means beans”). It might seem strange that Koontz’s Flannery O’Connor-inspired prose would share a link to advertising culture, but there it is.
Yes, it’s purple, sometimes excessively so. “Mice and moonbeams” is maybe too far. But it’s also fascinating in just how…labored it looks. Koontz uses the English language like a gymnasium. Every single word seems to be slotted into place with the perfection of the stones at Sacsayhuaman.
So when does it fail?
In technology it’s sometimes said that there are no bad products, only bad prices. Likewise, there might be no bad prose styles, just bad uses of them.
King’s prose often misfires, usually for the reason that he’s applying his “chatty neighbor” style to something that should not be written in the voice of a chatty neighbor.
For instance, here’s a later passage from King’s It. It’s from the POV of Pennywise the Clown (whom we now know is the mask of an incomprehensibly ancient being).
Something new had happened.
For the first time in forever, something new.
Before the universe there had been only two things. One was Itself and the other was the Turtle. The Turtle was a stupid old thing that never came out of its shell. It thought that maybe the Turtle was dead, had been dead for the last billion years or so. Even if it wasn’t, it was still a stupid old thing, and even if the Turtle had vomited the universe out whole, that didn’t change the fact of its stupidity.
It had come here long after the Turtle withdrew into its shell, here to Earth, and It had discovered a depth of imagination here that was almost new, almost of concern. This quality of imagination made the food very rich. Its teeth rent flesh gone stiff with exotic terrors and voluptuous fears: they dreamed of nightbeasts and moving muds; against their will they contemplated endless gulphs.
Upon this rich food It existed in a simple cycle of waking to eat and sleeping to dream. It had created a place in Its own image, and It looked upon this place with favor from the deadlights which were Its eyes. Derry was Its killing-pen, the people of Derry Its sheep. Things had gone on.
Then… these children.
For the first time in forever.
Most of it is okay. Even the technical issues (like the dangling participle in the fourth ‘graf) don’t detract from its fun, jagged energy. Gulph is a good word (an antiquated and obscure spelling of gulf), emphasising Its age.
But King keeps slipping into his homespun jus’ folks style, with comical results. “stupid old thing…dead for the last billion years or so.” King makes this unholy nightmare sound like a grumpy old man with a transmission that won’t start.
And remember, Pennywise existed before the universe did. Would it really think of people as “sheep” in a “killing pen”? That’s pure anthropomorphization. That’s like writing “Derry was Its Pallet Town, the people of Derry Its Pokemon.”
Think of how King’s inspirations – HP Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Richard Matheson – would have handled a passage like this. Better. Perhaps far better. Whenever their weaknesses in other areas, they understood that when the sidewalk ends and the bug parade begins (to paraphrase White Zombie) the writing has to change to match.
What about Koontz?
His shortcomings become obvious when you read more than five or six of his books. He keeps coming back to the same images. Birds fluttering. Rain falling. Sun striking fire against waves. This ends up deadening instead of vivifying his prose, because you can see the merry-go-round of his mind turning around and around, cycling through the same few stock images.
Remember the opening scene of The Taking?
A few minutes past one o’clock in the morning, a hard rain fell without warning. No thunder preceded the deluge, no wind.
Here’s the first chapter of Dark Rivers of the Heart.
Without thunder or lightning, without wind, the storm had come in from the Pacific at the end of a somber February twilight.
…and the first chapter of False Memory:
[…] rotten weather in southern California was seldom accompanied by thunder. Usually, rain fell unannounced, hissing on the streets, whispering through the foliage […]
…and a middle chapter of Twilight Eyes:
Tuesday morning, the sky was without sun, and the storm was without lightning, and the rain was without wind.
Koontz is a magician with a small bag of tricks, and the more you read him, the more (over)familiar his writing becomes.
And it’s often too heavy handed, too forced, too obviously written. Sometimes it works, other times it just gets in the way of the story. Koontz can have a show-offy quality: he wants you to know he’s rewritten every sentence fifty times. Here is a particularly annoying moment from Odd Hours. (The hero has just knocked a man unconscious with a flashlight.)
The cracked lens cast a thin jagged shadow on his face. But as I peeled back one of his eyelids to be sure that I had not given him a concussion, I could see him well enough to know that I had never seen him before and that I preferred never to see him again.
Eye of newt. Wool-of-bat hair. Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips. A lolling tongue like a fillet of fenny snake. He was not exactly ugly, but he looked peculiar, as if he’d been conjured in a cauldron by Macbeth’s coven of witches.
The “eye of newt” part was kind of cute. But Koontz can’t resist explaining the joke. “Look, everyone! I’m quoting Macbeth!”
While we’re dropping quotes, here’s another one: “Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane”. George Orwell said that. At its worst, Koontz’s writing is like a stained glass window. Impressive and admirable, but it poisons your view of what’s on the other side.
Koontz and King could both be considered masters. Study their books: you’ll learn a lot. But the final lesson any master can teach is that there are no masters, that by copying another author we copy their limitations, and that the student must someday leave the sensei’s path behind and walk their own.
I enjoy reading Paul “the Internet’s impact on the economy... | News | Coagulopath
I enjoy reading Paul “the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine” Krugman’s opinions on things. I learn so much from his large and abundantly folded brain. For example, here he argues that conservatives are mostly incapable of modeling the thought processes of liberals.
[…] if you ask a liberal or a saltwater economist, “What would somebody on the other side of this divide say here? What would their version of it be?” A liberal can do that. A liberal can talk coherently about what the conservative view is because people like me actually do listen. We don’t think it’s right, but we pay enough attention to see what the other person is trying to get at. The reverse is not true.
You try to get someone who is fiercely anti-Keynesian to even explain what a Keynesian economic argument is, they can’t do it. They can’t get it remotely right. Or if you ask a conservative, “What do liberals want?” You get this bizarre stuff – for example, that liberals want everybody to ride trains, because it makes people more susceptible to collectivism. You just have to look at the realities of the way each side talks and what they know. One side of the picture is open-minded and sceptical. We have views that are different, but we arrive at them through paying attention. The other side has dogmatic views.
What do you think? Yes, it’s smug and a bit self-congratulatory. Paul Krugman has identified as one side of the political divide as wise and open-minded, and by complete coincidence it’s the side he belongs to.
But maybe there’s something to what he says. I’ve long felt that conservatives often do a poor job of understanding the liberal view of things, and that liberals typically do a better job of understanding their opposition.
The repeal of Roe v. Wade in the United States has proven that I was wrong. American liberals, on this issue, have no idea why conservatives believe the things they do, attributing to them instead cartoon villain motives and implausible conspiracy theories that make George F Will’s “trains = collectivism” theory seem the rarified heights of sanity.
On the day the news was announced, perhaps 10-20% of Twitter changed their avatar to either a coathanger or a Handmaiden outfit. This was the start of an attack on civil rights that is solely motivated by oppressing women. Reddit had some kind of psychotic break. Many of the posts below had hundreds or thousands of upvotes.
How to turn women into “breeding cows”?
Overturn Roe v. Wade
Criminalize any attempt to get an abortion out of State
Try making it these applied all over the country
These religious crazies are spiraling down and trying to create an american white christian Theocracy!
The white supremacists are trying to force breed more white supremacists…and yes, I said it!!!
It’s a forced-breeding program. Women are chattel to these people.
In a 6-3 decision, women are now brood mares for the state.
I wonder if there’s any correlation between RvW being overturned and the U.S have consistently declining birth rates for years. If people stop having children, there’s no more generations of workers to exploit and propagandize through the school system.
No. Call it what it ultimately is.
In general pumping the birthrate will be good for the economy in the long run, if traditional economics stays true, but it’s hard to imagine that the GOP is thinking more than 2 elections ahead.
That’s what this discussion has always been about. Are women people or are they incubators?
But the pro forced birthers are unwilling go actually come out and say that because then their obvious misogyny will become apparent.
Gotta keep the poors churning out more exploitable youths to feed the military, prison and labor industrial complexes.
What they’re hoping for is more republican voters. They know they’re becoming the minority and they need more kids born in the US to attempt it.
No one would ever willingly fuck a republican and carry it’s gross little fucking monster seed to term, so they gotta boost those rape baby numbers.
Republikkklans envision a world where they can rape a woman and force her child into slavery, meanwhile everyone else is too distracted all the goddamned bullets to focus on their legion of evil.
It’s slavery with extra steps. Lots of these kids will eventually end up in jail and using Prisoners as free slaves has been a thing for a long time in the US.
Basically, how do you know what’s on a person’s mind? You really can’t. The fastest way to get an idea is to ask them why they believe what they believe: sometimes they lie, but you can’t assume that as a default explanation. Anti-abortion activists claim to be motivated by the idea that a fetus’s life has some kind of moral value. Absent other evidence, they should be believed.
George Carlin may have been patient zero for this kind of “Christians oppose abortion because they want more soldiers” stuff (though here’s an earlier version by Marge Piercey). He was a cynic. A small amount of cynicism can be healthy, just like a small amount of wine can be healthy. George Carlin was a falling-down drunk on the verge of liver failure.
Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. Pro-life… pro-life… These people aren’t pro-life, they’re killing doctors! What kind of pro-life is that? What, they’ll do anything they can to save a fetus but if it grows up to be a doctor they just might have to kill it? They’re not pro-life. You know what they are? They’re anti-woman. Simple as it gets, anti-woman. They don’t like them. They don’t like women. They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a brood mare for the state.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDzs0gY1cTA
How does he know that this is what they believe? He doesn’t, and also probably doesn’t care. There might be seven words you can’t say on TV, but the market for lazy caricatures of one’s political opponents is as wide and as deep as the ocean.
Speaking of lazy caricatures, this is another one. But at least it’s funny.