The Next Totalitarian Gov’t Won’t Need Secret Police & Won’t Be Defeated With Small Arms

Social Scoring, Emotional Monitoring & UBI Payments Will Control People Far More Effectively Than Any Gestapo Ever Could

By David Grace (

Fighting Future Battles With Yesterday’s Tactics

Humans are famous for looking at what happened in the past in order plan what to do in the future, a tactic that can lead to disastrous results.

France prepared for WW II by studying what happened in WW I and the result was the Maginot Line. Preparing to re-fight the last war was a very bad way to prepare for the next one.

The libertarians and the gun people are now looking at governments like Communist Russia and Nazi Germany to make their plans on how to stop the rise of a totalitarian American government — stockpile a lot of small arms and be prepared to mount an armed insurrection.

That is the American equivalent of France’s Maginot Line. A total mistake.

The Next Totalitarian State

The next totalitarian state will not come from a some coup or invasion. It won’t be some sort of an armed takeover where elections are cancelled and an army of secret police agents round up the citizens. It will be much smarter, more subtle and more effective than that.

The next totalitarian state will be founded on the establishment of social systems that unregistered AR-15s will be completely impotent to stop.

Defeating the new totalitarian state with small arms will be as effective as trying to kill a swarm of bees with a shotgun.

If you want to understand how the next iteration of the totalitarian state will work, take a look at the tools China is developing today.

Tool Number 1: The Social Score

The Chinese government has begun giving every citizen a constantly changing Social Score. Do the kinds of things the government likes and your Social Score will go up. Piss off the government and your Social Score will go down. Support the right people and express the right ideas — Up. Be friends with the wrong people and voice the wrong ideas — Down.

A higher Social Score will get you a bonus at work, a discount on your taxes, a higher rank on a school admissions list, lower interest on a loan.

A lower Social Score will do just the opposite.

An “enemy of the people” Social Score will result in your being barred from buying a house, boarding a plane or a train, getting a loan, getting credit, longer waits for medical care, and a thousand other things.

Every day in every way the all-important higher Social Score will nudge citizens into doing things that the government wants them to do and avoiding things that the government doesn’t want them to do.

The Social Score is both a carrot and a stick.

Ten years after the Social Score system is first put in place no one will be willing to open their mouths to say anything that might piss off the government, and there won’t have been any guns or torture or secret police involved.

The Chinese government has already implemented a Social Score program for millions of its people. They plan to establish a Social Score for every citizen.

For more details about the Social Score, see my column:

Breakthrough Chinese Program Enables Hugely Effective State Control Of Everyone

UPDATE: On May 21, 2018 Business Insider published this article:

China’s social credit system has blocked people from taking 11 million flights and 4 million train trips

From the Business Insider story:

The [Supreme People’s] court publishes the names and ID numbers of debtors on its website. They are banned from plane and high-speed train travel, and can’t stay at four and five star hotels, send their children to expensive schools, book cheap hire cars, or make luxury purchases online.

Some provinces play a recorded message when someone tries to call a blacklisted debtor, informing the caller that the person they want to speak with has outstanding debts. And in May, a short cartoon with the photographs of debtors’ faces began playing at movie theatres, on buses, and on public noticeboards with a voiceover that said: “Come, come, look at these [debtors]. It’s a person who borrows money and doesn’t pay it back.”

The list of debtors launched in late 2013 with 31,259 names and within two weeks had been visited 180,000 times. By December 2017, 8.8 million debtors had been added to the list, preventing 8.7 million flights and 3.4 million high-speed train trips.

UPDATE 2: On June 14, 2018 the Wall Street Journal reported:

“China is establishing an electronic identification system to track cars nationwide…. a radio-frequency identification chip for vehicle tracking will be installed on cars when they are registered.”


China is now installing Mantis, a surveillance camera with 19 lenses that can “see you sneeze at 4,000 feet.”

Good to know.

Tool Number 2: Emotional Monitoring

There are already tens of thousands of Emotional Monitors in operation in China. Soon there will be millions. The Emotional Monitor is an electronic device that fits under your cap and uses your brain waves to read the intensity and type of your emotions. The raw readings are transmitted to an AI program which decodes, interprets, and monitors each person’s emotional state in real time.

You think I’m making this up? You think I’m telling you the plot from some science-fiction movie. I’m not. This is real and it’s happening in China right now.

As bad as this sounds, the technology at work here is really an order of magnitude more dangerous than that.

Let’s assume that in the next five years the AI’s ability to accurately interpret the subject’s emotions only doubles. Given the massive increases we’re seeing in AI effectiveness, I suspect that we will see far more than just a doubling.

Let’s say that the government of some country is concerned with terrorism. Who isn’t? It becomes a national priority to stop terrorist attacks before they happen. France, Belgium and the U.S. are going to be very interested in doing this.

New laws will be passed, emergency laws which the courts will accept because of the grave threat terrorists pose to public safety.

The police may target a specific neighborhood or mosque as a hotbed of potential terrorists. The residents will be required to go through a “screening” process to weed out the “bad people.” Painless, they assure them. No big deal.

The police set up a tent with several hundred cubicles with video monitors and they make everyone watch a five minute video while wearing an Emotional Monitor on their head. The output is streamed to the AI.

The video consists of pictures of ISIS flags and terrorist promotional videos and police officers and judges, the Israeli flag, and other images and music that will either excite or upset a terrorist sympathizer.

The AI will measure each person’s emotional state at each point in the video and at the end it will assign each person a Terrorist Sympathizer numerical score between 1 and 10, where 1 is a thoroughly reliable citizen and 10 is suicide bomber just waiting to get his vest.

Depending on the country, the 9s and 10s will find themselves someplace between having to take a “re-education” course and pass a new screening, preventative detention, revocation of citizenship and deportation, and execution.

It Might Happen Here

Before you say that something like that couldn’t happen in the United States, consider the Supreme Court’s approval of the internment of American citizens of Japanese heritage at the beginning of WW II. Consider the federal courts’ approval of the incarceration of “dangerous” American citizens in military prisons without trial shortly after 9/11.

If we have another 9/11-like event and the tech sector tells Congress that its system can identify terrorist supporters with 95% accuracy, don’t you think the government will listen?

Suppose the proposal is that anyone who scores a 9 or a 10 will be interred in a “camp” like the Japanese Americans were at the start of WW II. There they will receive anti-terrorist counseling and once they pass a new screening test they will be released. Won’t that be like putting a dangerously mentally ill person in a hospital until his condition can be cured? That’s legal, isn’t it?

So, don’t tell me it couldn’t happen here.

We are one or two successful, big domestic terrorist events away from the U.S. government seriously considering something like that. In countries like the Philippines, they would do it tomorrow if they could get their hands on the hardware.

Moving Beyond Catching Terrorists

Of course, terrorists don’t have to be the only target. What if the Mexican government decided to round up tens of thousands of people suspected of being members of or cooperating with drug cartels?

If I were in charge of something like that, I would use Emotional Monitors to first weed out the cartel sympathizers amongst government employees and police officers and then I’d move on to the civilian population.

The Emotional Monitor coupled with a sophisticated AI could be effective in discovering out all kinds of “undesirables.” Begin with the pedophiles, psychopaths, and terrorists then work your way down to the disloyals and enemies of the state.

All you would really need is the properly designed audio/video stimulus and a good enough AI. You wouldn’t need it to be totally accurate. God knows there’s isn’t perfect accuracy in the No-Fly list, but people don’t care. It just has to be good enough.

Once these kinds of programs get started, how long will it take the government to make your screening an annual event? Five years? Ten years?

At some point, every year you’ll go down to City Hall and get screened for terrorist sympathies, sexual deviance, criminal tendencies, you name it.

Tying Your Screening Score To Your Social Score

Your Screening Score would be linked with your Social Score. If you do great on the screening your Social Score goes up. If your results are a bit iffy, your Social Score takes a hit.

Of course if your Social Score gets too low, you’re not going to be allowed to vote anymore. We don’t want Social Criminals electing our government now do we?

Sure, maybe this won’t happen in the U.S. or it won’t be this extreme, but what about Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, France, Russia, most of Africa, China for sure? If it works there, will we be able to resist it, especially after a couple more successful terrorist attacks?

Have you ever heard the phrase “National Security” coupled with “Terrorist Threat”?

Tool Number 3: Monthly Government Payments

I think that the people proposing a Guaranteed Minimum Income are politically naive. People who control your money potentially control your life. Money is power. When you earn your own money you have the power. When your survival depends on money someone else gives you, they have the power.

When that money flows from a government program that has to be renewed every few years and which can be modified at any time the government wants, you are at risk. If your parents are paying your bills, how free are you to live your life the way you want instead of the way they want?

People who rely on a government handout to survive are not more free. They are less free.

The government limits the control your employer can exercise over your private life. Congress and the bureaucracy will have to limit themselves when it comes to the rules they can tie to your Basic Income check. Do you trust the politicians to limit themselves?

When The Gov’t Controls Your Money, The Gov’t Controls You

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has already proposed that everyone who uses food stamps will have to pass a drug test. If the government supplies fifty or sixty percent of the annual income for thirty or forty percent of the population don’t you think it’s going to use that money to make those people to do what it wants or at least not do what it doesn’t want?

Drink or take drugs, lose your check. Get caught participating in an illegal demonstration, lose your check. Get arrested, lose your check. Fail to vote, lose your check. Insult the President, lose your check.

“Since the government is giving you this money, shouldn’t you give something back to society in return?” they’ll say. Maybe you should be required to “volunteer” for community service for ten hours a month. That’s not unreasonable, is it?

And then the Mayor can tell the nice people at the retirement home that he is the one who got you there to help them and won’t they please vote for him. And wouldn’t you like to volunteer to work on some of the Mayor’s other pet projects?

Keep your nose clean, stay in line, don’t make waves and you’ll get your government check. If not, find another way to pay your rent.

The Next Stage In Totalitarian Government

Are you starting to get it? The next stage of totalitarian government isn’t going to be shuttered voting booths, squads of secret police and rubber hoses in basements. It isn’t going to be: “Do this or we’ll grab you in the middle of the night and send you off to a secret prison.”

It’s going to be death by a thousand cuts.

Criticize the government and you’ll lose 10 points on your Social Score. Pay your taxes early and gain ten points on your Social Score. Start thinking bad thoughts about the government and you’ll find yourself a big step closer to having to pass an Anger Management Re-Education class.

Guns Won’t Stop These Systems

These aren’t systems that you’re going to beat with some guns out of your closet.

If there were any physical uprising or sabotage the police would just round up the whole neighborhood and run everyone through a new screening. You and your sympathizers wouldn’t have to say or do anything. Your own involuntary emotional responses as interpreted by the Emotional Monitor would betray you and everyone who helped you or would have liked to have helped you.

Planning on beating this kind of a Big Brother government with AR-15s is like the French planning to defeat a German invasion by building the Maginot Line. It’s a loser’s game.

— David Grace (



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David Grace

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 16 novels and over 400 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.