Had to happen: Democratic presidential candidate proposes China-style social credit system here
Leftists always insist that their proposals for socialism will be nothing like what's found in communist hellholes way down the rapids to the falls. But somehow, the opening ideas are always the same.
So here we have a well-meaning Democratic candidate for president in 2020, entrepreneur Andrew Wang, who's proposing an idea that's already being implemented in China and Venezuela.
According to the Daily Caller:
New York entrepreneur and Democratic 2020 candidate Andrew Yang wants to implement a system in which a government-run mobile app rewards Americans with “digital social credits” (DSCs) for good behavior.
Americans would receive DSCs under Yang’s system for things such as “participating in a town fair,” “fixing a neighbor’s appliance” or “tutoring a student,” his presidential campaign website explains.
“As individuals rack up DSCs, they would have both a permanent balance they’ve earned over their lifetime and a current balance. They could cash the points in for experiences, purchases with participating vendors, support for causes, and transfer points to others for special occasions,” Yang states on his website. “As their permanent balance gets higher, they might qualify for various perks like throwing a pitch at a local ballgame, an audience with their local Congressperson or meeting their state’s most civic-minded athlete or celebrity.”
Oh it won't be anything like China's, his flak tells the Caller, because there won't be a social punishment element to it. Over in China, if you rack up a bad social credit score, you can be denied access to a passport or a train ticket to get the heck out of there.
Which is pure baloney.
There are so many problems with this it defies belief that anyone would propose such a thing.
Who says an audience with a congressperson can't be used to shut people out? Punishment would be pretty easy to engineer with such a system, as China (and now Venezuela) have proven.
What's more, who determines what good and bad behavior is? How long before some Democrat finds a way to put 'attend a Democratic rally' as a social credit?
And how about the creepy potential to enforce conformity? Walking a little old lady across the street will be good for social credit, while walking a little old man across the street won't be listed as creditable, so it won't be long before only little old ladies will get walked across the street.
And wouldn't this corrode the very idea of doing charitible acts? Many people do nice things such a volunteer at schools, help old ladies cross the street or give change to bums precisely because they expect nothing in return. They are free of material considerations and that is why they are so nice. That is what sociologists call 'social capital.' To make it about getting something back in return suddenly transforms all charity a calculated business transaction, utterly debasing it.
Then there's the corruption potential. How does anyone prove you helped your neighbor mow his lawn? Can't a couple of bucks paid to the neighbor be used to get him to say he got the help so that the recipient can get that million-dollar facetime with that congressman? People look at their options and always game the system. Values vary - a meeting with a congressman might be a very prized thing to a rich lobbyist and utterly worthless to an illegal immigrant family that would like a bag of beans, so the corruption potential is amazing. Let's not even get into the potential for fake social credits and hacking to get them.
Yang argues it's not like China's nasty punitive social credit system, but more like 'time banking' as it's practiced in places like Vermont or frequent flyer miles, according to the Daily Caller. But try telling China it set up its system with 'nasty' in mind - its system is, after all, to encourage what the state determines is "good" behavior, too, so it's all good, because the state is always right, right? And surprise, surprise, that country has no social capital, precisely because of this kind of state meddling.
Maybe it's all as nice as claimed, as such an idea starts, but the bottom line is, the architecture will be in place for more coercive purposes as Democrats take power.
What's more, now that the idea is out there, it will gain traction with other Democrats. Yang is unlikely to make much impact due to his being an unknown, but the reality is, Democrats always glom onto the most extreme ideas out there among their own and make them mainstream. Rest assured, this will be Democratic Party line in time.
It sounds like the kind of gee-whiz social manipulation we saw a lot of during the Obama administration, when the latter's political allies, the tech giants reigned supreme.
Remember Cass Sunstein's "nudge"?
Remember the Obama surveillance state abuses?
Remember Google's bowing to Obamadom and manipulating its own product in Obama's favor?
Remember Michelle Obama's corruption-plagued, bad-tasting, coercive and skimpy school lunches forced down student athletes' throats?
Remember 'No Impact Man' and how his totally "voluntary" acts to reduce his carbon footprint progressively led to blue state legislation such as stealing people's straws at Starbucks?
That kind of 'for your own good' state planning always comes to a bad end. It starts out sounding nice, but then new applications get attached to them and suddenly, tech becomes surveillance and tyranny. Green stamps may be a great idea in the private sector, but one only need look at China to recognize that the government shouldn't be allowed to touch this stuff. It's amazing how Democrats just don't learn, or more likely, really want a China- and Cuba-style of socialist intrusion, but don't want to say so.
Image credit: Democracy Chronicles, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0