WASHINGTON: In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the theme is Man vs. Society. The writer uses the story of Winston Smith vs. the Party (Big Brother) to tell the story of Oceania. In this fictional land, individualism is virtually extinct. The Party controls every aspect of society. Orwell’s themes center on the risks of government overreach, totalitarianism and repressive regimentation of all persons and their behaviors within society.
For those who have not yet read it, “1984” is terrifying.
Examples of life following fiction include the Stasi in former East Berlin. Alternatively, Venezuela today. The weaponization of the U.S. security apparatus to wipe out political enemies, and countless other abuses of power worldwide. Past and present. 1984 is set in a then imagined future year of l984, when much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war,
There is omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism, and propaganda.
Elitist liberal power in America today is undeniable. For those the read the book prior to 1984, the march to bring Orwell’s dystopian reality to life is horrifying. To wit, the Russia investigation’s Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller bullied political players into jail.
Including having Paul Manfort who is being held in pre-trial in solitary confinement, over process crimes. The only reason for this physical and mental torture is to bring President Trump down by bringing Manafort down.
Last winter, Jessie Smollett, a black TV actor set up a racist hate attack on himself. The crime was to gain attention for a higher salary. To date, Smollett suffers little or no punishment for his crimes.
Moreover, now, we are seeing democrat presidential candidates looking to socialism as their standard of excellence. A dumbing down of liberals accepting the Socialist kool-aid even as we watch Venezuala crumble under the rule of the former bus driver, Nicolás Maduro Moros. In power since 2013, the country has crumbled under socialist/communist rule bolstered by both Russia and Cuba.
And yet, with evidence of the brutality of life under socialist rule, our youth merrily marches onto the train to ruin.
Fast Company – Government Power Unchained
The latest example of government power being let loose upon citizens is in the progressive, Fast Company, a magazine that concentrates on the tech world. Author Mike Elgan reports that America’s Silicon Valley is building a social credit system for China. China’s goal is to be able to keep track of and score citizens’ social media behavior.
One would think that to use surveillance to find appropriate speech and behavior would only take place in communist countries. Certainly never in America. Nonetheless, worse than facilitating China’s new level of surveillance, Elgan reports it’s also being used by some U.S. companies. Despite the illegality of doing so. (Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system)
According to Elgan, guess again. There has been a slippery slope developing in hopes of creating “equality.” New age socialists are looking for a utopia of sameness.
One of their tactics has been to censor speech and behavior through a system of Political Correctness.
Accusations of hate under every flat rock in America have fueled this Miss Nosy, Busy-Body-ness.
Today, the school-yard taunt, “RACIST!” fills America’s airwaves.
The poison of censorship has even hit the way we address each other. Some are demanding we all employ “gender-neutral” pronouns that don’t specify whether persons are female or male.
“‘They,’ for instance, is a third-person pronoun that is gender-neutral. Other gender-neutral pronouns include ‘them,’ ‘this person,’ ‘everyone,’ ‘Ze,’ or ‘Hir.’ “
High-tech firms such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook have become more powerful than the government. At their whim, they can and do delete those whom they dislike. Remove from the social discourse opinions they deem wrong.
Now, according to Elgan, they are teaming with one of the most censorious governments on the planet, China, to ascribe social credits to “the goods,” e.g., those who toe the party line.
According to the Chinese government, the ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”
But who is the decision-maker as to who is the discredited?
“In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score.
It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.”
“Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist.” Such is the look of “gamified authoritarianism.”
According to Elgan, even worse than the fact of such a system in place is:
“Some Western press reports imply that the Chinese populace is suffocating in a nationwide Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. However, some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approved of a social credit system.
It is happening in America
Elgan goes on to say such a system of social media surveillance already is in play in America.
“The New York State Department of Financial Services announced that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts.”
PatronScan, a subsidiary of a Canadian software company Servall Biometrics, is selling its social media scan products in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. A public list of objectionable people that may be given to bars, for example. What those establishments do with the data is up to them. (Patronscan wants cities to require bars to scan your ID with its service so it can maintain a secret, unaccountable blacklist)
Elgan offers additional ways Americans are being targeted as unworthy:
“Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that ‘This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.”
It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy: “If your average rating is ‘significantly below average,’ Uber will ban you from the service.”
Elgan ends with a chilling assessment:
“The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights.
In other words, in the future, law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements.”
Does America want to allow a slippery erosion of our laws to place us in such jeopardy? The so-called “Anti-Christ,” when thought of at all, will be an evil person emerging to make trouble for the world, a sort of Hitlerian on steroids.
What if the Anti-Christ is here now, and it’s not a person? What if it’s a system? A faceless, nameless, unidentifiable, and irretrievable path to punishment for anyone at any time?
It might be noted that such a system is in place, working against Americans. How long will it be before individual citizens, living their busy lives, unaware of their impending loss of freedoms, wake up? Will they be like the proverbial lobster in the pot of cold water?
Unaware as the heat slowly rises? Dead in the end?
Lead Image: Montage of images from George Orwell’s 1984 created by an unknown person; uploaded to Reddit.com – https://www.reddit.com/r/1984/comments/6vnh7p/this_is_a_background_that_i_made_for_1984_by/