Orwell’s Nightmare has Come True in China
The following is a transcript of my podcast/youtube — the Lifestyle Design Show.
Hello everyone, I’m Court Reinland, the author of the book, Aquarius — the Book of Lifestyle Design and this is the Lifestyle Design Show.
Today we’re going to talk about Orwell’s nightmare come true. Orwell’s nightmare has come true and it’s China’s social credit system.
Now people who are familiar with a book 1984 will know that Orwell described a society where people educated, people were trained in a certain way, in a very surveillance type state and they had all kinds of reinforcing mechanisms in society to get people to conform at all costs to a government program. You had the two minutes hate on TV, you had this mythical figure of Goldstein out there, you know, who was supposed to be some kind of terrorist, right? And you had re-education, you had the dumbing down of language and you had a lot of police presence in general and surveillance. You had a camera in every home — that’s the basis of that novel. But a few people, a lot of people feared it would come true, a lot of people thought of it as coming true in America, some people thought the UK, Germany, or other places… but the one place where it is, basically, already taken place and already is in effect right now is China.
And I think it should be every citizen’s duty around the world just like those brave citizens who spoke out against the the Nazis when they went after the Jews in the Second World War, to speak out against what China is doing because what they are doing is essentially abusing their own citizens to the Nth degree, to an inhuman degree, and the brainwashing has gotten so effective there that some citizens even accept that this is, you know, the government’s right or responsibility to to brainwash them and abuse them in such a way.
The Epoch Times has a an excellent series running you’re talking about all the ongoing crimes of the Communist Party including their first series of Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. A lot of those articles are very thorough about what has happened in China’s history to make it arrive at this terrible stage.
It didn’t just get there overnight, there was this whole period where communism infiltrated — of course, we know communism was something from the West, it’s from Marx. It went from France and then through Russia to China. And has had a horrible effect on the Chinese people.
The Chinese people before this time had a beautiful, wonderful cultural heritage, not at all Orwellian — a very diverse, educated, intellectual, beautiful artistic culture. But this kind of virus, this parasite, if you will, from the West, called communism, managed to implement itself in China, take root in China, infect the Chinese people, if you will, and since that time China has been running all kinds of programs of dictatorship whether that was their prison labor system, or the way they persecute a lot of minority ethnic groups over there, including the Uighurs, Tibetans, Falun Gong/Falun Dafa practitioners, house Christians, you name it… a lot of people have been persecuted under China very terribly but what I’m going to talk about today is not that whole history, which you can read about elsewhere, but this so-called social credit system.
Now a lot of people in the open design space and the Bitcoin space, the Ethereum space, the blockchain space, they talk about the need for credit or trustworthiness, right? You know, in the U.S., we have a credit score and it’s used to determine if we can get a loan.
So some kinds of credit or other things, of course, are normal in a society. People have to sort of know who’s trustworthy, right? Some forms of identification and other things are legitimate for people to understand who’s… you know, who could be trusted, right?
You have sites like the Web of Trust scoring websites on their trustworthiness in terms of cookies and privacy and all these things. So some of that is legitimate, but the degree to which China has taken this program is way beyond what it ever should be in a normal free society.
For instance, you know, if you have a low social credit score in China, you can be banned from taking public transit. You can be denied — your children can be denied access to school. You can be denied a job.
This is, mind you, this is not for people that have actually been convicted of any crime. This is not felons, these are not people who have actually done anything wrong.
These are people who whose data has shown — it’s almost like Minority Report, using pre-crime, right? They’re trying to figure out who’s like a social misfit, right? And it can be something like, you know, the system literally is a combination of algorithms and video cameras and other high tech pieces of technology, AI learning underneath it all, AI deep learning underneath it all, and it’s tracking traffic cameras in the grocery stores, and other forms of records, civil records and financial records and facial recognition, of course, and a person’s habits, you know, where they shop, how they go out to party at night or not, you know, whatever...
These are aggregated by the great AI of China to form this score — this social credit score, they’re called. And anything can blacklist a person, sometimes very mysteriously, maybe buying too much alcohol, or speaking out against a certain government policy on Weibo (the Reddit of China) — it can get you on this list. These are people who are, potentially, not at all criminal, there’s nothing that says they are criminal — it’s just that they’re blocked by this kind of thing.
I hope not only should any person be able to see how a government watching you that constantly is terrible and sets up a very bad precedent for tyranny, and dictatorship, and other things but just the fact that a person can essentially be convicted in the court of public opinion, or in this case, the court of government opinion without an actual trial, without actual evidence, without actual — you know, any kind of real merit involved.
It’s extremely scary and I would say that this is the worst kind of thing that could ever come to a society. When it reaches this level, people have no human essence left, they have no chance… for a person to be an alive, awake, spiritual person, an activated person, a true person, a free person — it’s entirely snuffed out, before the candle even has a chance to shine.
It’s snuffed out. And this is what China’s doing to all of their citizens — they’re smothering them under this kind of self-censorship blanket, where people are going through their day essentially in fear of this system scoring them poorly, and are trying to figure out what behavior it wants and conform to it. And this is just fundamentally anti-human. It’s anti-whatever kind of God you might believe in, whatever religion, or even if you’re an atheist you should be able to see that this is a totally terrible idea.
From any sense of freedom or human dignity — the worth of human life… Anyone should be able to see how screwed up this is. And it’s being implemented right now in China. It’s not fully rolled out it they say they’ll be fully rolled out in 2020. But it’s rolled out in some cities and a lot of people have already been affected by it.
You can read a bunch of stories if you just Google it — “China’s Social Credit System effects,” or whatever, and you’ll see people denied travel, families kicked out of school or work because of this thing. Again having not committed any crime, having not violated China’s constitution, which is kind of a joke at this point because they don’t even abide by the constitution themselves.
Of course, who knows in what ways people at the top are are gaming this thing and you know, putting points on their score for being a Communist Party member or whatever. You can just imagine the kind of abuse if you know about China’s recent history of politicians abusing this kind of system because all power is centralized.
There are no checks and balances like in the U.S. There’s no separation of power. There is no real constitution that’s actually enforced in the way that the US Constitution is enforced and it’s it’s just totally, totally Orwellian, totally wrong and everyone should step up and do something.
And this social credit system, it was implemented on a lot of technology that can be used to good effect — facial recognition, you know, these kinds of tracking technologies, they’re all in use in America as well in different ways. Some of them positive, some of them not positive. I would say that if a government finds someone who actually committed crime, a criminal, using this kind of technology, through it’s security cameras or something and tracks them down that’s an acceptable use, right?
When someone has committed an actual crime or when you put this technology in the hands of individual people, and they can use it to find information that they need, find people that they’re looking for, or whatever — there are positive uses of some surveillance and camera technology that are not totally nefarious. They’re already in use and the effects of them — well, you could argue are not that positive but at least they’re not totally deteriorating society.
Now, some people will say, “Well, Chinese people, you know, in their history have acted for the common good, they don’t place as much of an emphasis on individual liberty as in the West.” I would say that this is not really true in my pretty involved study of Chinese history I wouldn’t say that that actually describes the character of traditional China.
I think they did put a high value on individual freedom, going back to the Tang Dynasty, or other very prosperous, very good times in Chinese history and that conception of it that that’s how they think is something that essentially came about under communism. Now, of course good people anywhere are going to think of the common good, right?
It’s not to say that if you believe in freedom, you can’t have good common goods and can’t have a thriving commons or thriving public space.
People who read my book and and other things will know that I do believe in a good, strong common space and shared goals and harmony among people which if you want to say that those are Chinese values, you could also say that, but I think this conception that they have to give up personal liberty, give up rights to the government is a skewed, incorrect interpretation of Chinese history and culture. And I think it’s put that way because it serves the interest of the ruling Communist Party. And they have a whole lot to gain from spinning it that way rather than not.
So I encourage everyone listening to write about this, share about it with your friends. Try and help your Chinese friends who may be falling victim to this kind of system and and let’s see if we can, you know, as people coming together — like those brave people who resisted the Nazis — come together to resist this and hopefully bring about a better type of government, whatever that is, in China for those people.
Because they really are suffering a lot under it, to say nothing of the actual concentration camps, the horrendous crimes of organ harvesting and other things that are going on, but at least those most involved the technological space, intellectuals, looking at it can do something to help our Chinese friends who are basically being smothered, their little lights are being darkened by this cloud of the social credit system in China — Which in my opinion must go. It must be removed.
It’s a horrible thing, and it’s nothing but modern day enforced tyranny and everything that goes with it. It’s 1984, it’s George Orwell’s nightmare made real and it should be stopped. Absolutely. It must be stopped.
So this is Court Reinland and this is the Lifestyle Design Show. I hope you learned a little something today.