Wednesday, August 09, 2017

This ain't your father's 1984

Richard Fernandez makes an apt connection.
Chinese authorities have announced plans to create a national reputation index. Under the scheme everyone will receive a virtue score based on observable behavior. "The Chinese government has announced a new universal reputation score, tied to every person in the country's nation ID number and based on such factors as political compliance, hobbies, shopping, and whether you play video games." 
All scores are public to everyone, and high-scoring individuals will get privileges denied to their less fortunate peers, such as permits to visit (or live) in Singapore. 
Among the things that will hurt a citizen’s score are posting political opinions without prior permission, or posting information that the regime does not like ... It will hurt your score not only if you do these things, but if any of your friends do them. Imagine the social pressure against disobedience or dissent that this will create. Anybody can check anyone else’s score online. Among other things, this lets people find out which of their friends may be hurting their scores. 
There is already a similar Western system of shame and virtue rating. It is called Political Correctness and uses boycotts, doxing and ridicule etc to punish those with low ratings, and reward high scorers with talk show interviews, book contracts and such. How it works was illustrated by the experience of 9-year-old Dylan Harbin of California, who made headlines when Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read his letter saying Mr. Trump was his favorite president. After than unspeakable crime the child could not find a baker to make him a birthday cake.
Read more about the fun-loving Chinese here. And about American birthday cakes here.

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