The Invisible Shackles of America’s Social Credit System.

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  • 09/21/2022

The phrase “social credit system” or “social credit score” is relatively unknown to Americans. But in the People’s Republic of China, the communist government has been developing such a system for the last decade, and are looking to roll it out nationwide by 2020.

Americans needn't fear Big Brother but their fellow "well-intentioned" citizens who serve as the thought police in the cyberpunk dystopia of 2019.

The Chinese government intends to use social media data, surveillance, and purchasing trends to develop a “score” for its citizens to gauge their “buy-in” to the state. Presumably, the better the score, the more “benefits” citizens are entitled to receive from the government. Conversely, a bad score would severely handicap your life, punishing you for your socially maladaptive behavior, either real or perceived.

At its worst, this gives the Chinese government the ability to wield tech companies as a weapon to ultimately stifle the commerce, travel, and social interaction of those that are “blacklisted”—in other words, full dictatorial power. Of course, China has never been a pillar of freedom and liberty. It comes as no surprise that it is developing a sophisticated system to crush dissent. The Hong Kong protests have brought much of China’s reality to the forefront of international discussion.

What does come as a surprise, however, is the emergence of the similar—if not identical— modes of technologically-mediated social control and coercion in a democracy like the United States—but with a sinister twist. Here, this form of political control doesn’t emanate from a central government, as is the case with China, which can offer a rallying point for protest and public outcry. Here in the U.S., we’re facing a decentralized system that is much more difficult to pinpoint and fight.

Americans needn't fear Big Brother but their fellow "well-intentioned" citizens who serve as the thought police in the cyberpunk dystopia of 2019.

[caption id="attachment_180378" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Hong Kong Hong Kong[/caption]


In a country like China, the system is necessarily top-down. The Communist government can’t afford for their citizens to realize what individual freedom offers. The social credit system and the police state that implements it is designed to stifle that internal drive for democracy. That is why the stakes are so high for the Chinese Communist Party in the fight against Hong Kong; Beijing has to control the narrative—or risk mass dissent and protest on the mainland.

The social credit system and the police state that implements it is designed to stifle that internal drive for democracy.

The same technological infrastructure that facilitates censorship and ideological control by the Chinese government, however, allows for censorship and ideological control in the U.S. Only this time, it’s rule by a loud, virulent minority—not the state.

Here, there are those (primarily leftists) who actively call for the censoring of those they disagree with and the removal of those individuals from the marketplace (of both ideas and commerce), subsequently removing them from public life. They include groups like Antifa, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and your everyday social justice warrior. These are the people who, unfortunately, and unbelievably, drive the narrative and force action in this country—despite making up a small portion of the population.

The fault doesn’t just lie with social justice warriors, however. The majority of our citizens sit quietly and let this breach of liberty take place—like “good Germans,” as it were.

It isn’t merely ideological censorship. With the rise of the cashless society, we are almost wholly dependent on the central banking system, like it or not. Transactional companies like PayPal, Venmo, and Patreon are just as integral to our system of commerce as the nation’s largest banks (Chase, Bank of America, etc.). They have the power to take away your ability to participate in the marketplace at a moment’s notice.

In the age of Trump, we have seen countless citizens stripped of their access to this financial system. Joe Biggs, Alex Jones, and many other individuals have had financial accounts closed—often for ambiguous reasons. But almost all of those facing bans have been right-leaning voices speaking out against the mainstream narrative in the culture war. They have all-but been removed from the American financial system, crippling their primary means to make a living and continue their work.

How does this happen in a free society?

[caption id="attachment_180379" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Big Brother is Chinese surveillance Chinese surveillance[/caption]


Steadfast commitments to “rule of law” and “the Constitution” won President Trump the 2016 election. As an avid supporter of President Trump and his policies, I believe that he will go down as one of the greatest Presidents in our nation’s history. But the freedoms he campaigned for are under threat—so much so that sometimes, it feels like we lost the last election.

You have little-to-no real rights to free speech in today’s town square, and it is private agents, not the government, playing off the whims of a cadre of noxious Little Brothers.

The social credit system we’re entangled in isn’t easily identifiable. If this “system” were a government-based problem, much of it would likely be fixed already. President Trump is actively calling out Big Tech, the “fake news” media, and business entities that act against the interests of the American people, but he can only do so much with unilateral authority.

It is not enough for the left to hold disagreements. Instead, this loud minority actively calls for the censorship and banishment of conservative thought leaders from the social media landscape.

As has been pointed out previously on Human Events, platform access is a civil right. Social media platforms are the modern “town square,” a place where everyone comes to discover and share information and weigh-in with opinions. Everyone, regardless of their politics, class, or creed, should have access to this marketplace of ideas.

In contrast to common-sense expectations—and even their own bottom line—social media companies and tech giants are capitulating to the loud minority. For instance, Google is working with groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center to censor individuals’ content if it is deemed “problematic.”

It has become the norm for influencers (again, mostly right-leaning) to be banned from social media platforms for stepping out of the proverbial line. You have little-to-no real rights to free speech in today’s town square, and it is private agents, not the government, playing off the whims of a cadre of noxious Little Brothers.

Most of the issues we face can’t be tackled directly (outside of the silent majority standing up and demanding a change), but there are areas where legislation could protect our rights. A law at the state and federal level guaranteeing social platform access as a citizen’s civil rights would be one example of such legislation. This won’t be a total fix, but Congress has the power to curb much of what is taking place. Congress must act to protect our rights, but they are unlikely to do so until they feel the heat from their constituents—the people.

Ultimately, Congress can only act in response to public outrage. They effectively need public outrage to push legislation. That is why you always see a reinvigorated push for gun control right after mass shootings. True, the left is better at expressing outrage. The right has always been more interested in keeping to themselves, but we see where that has gotten us—to the cusp of social and economic tyranny. The electorate has to stand up and speak out against this erosion of our rights. We have to fight to prevent the establishment of our own opaque and amorphous version of the social credit score.

We cannot be enslaved by the technologies that are supposed to connect us. Enough is enough.



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