Cultural Collapse Theory

Cultural Collapse Theory

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It was Joe’s first date with Mary. He asked her what she wanted in life and she replied, “I want to establish my career. That’s the most important thing to me right now.” Undeterred that she had no need for a man in her life, Joe entertained her with enough funny stories and cocky statements that she soon allowed him to lightly pet her forearm.

At the end of the date, he locked arms with her on the walk to the subway station, when two Middle Eastern men on scooter patrol accosted them and said they were forbidden to touch. “This is Sharia zone,” they said in heavily accented English, in front of a Halal butcher shop. Joe and Mary felt bad that they offended the two men, because they were trained in school to respect all religions but that of their ancestors. One of the first things they learned was that their white skin gave them extra privilege in life which must be consciously restrained at all times. Even if they happened to disagree with the two men, they could not verbally object because of anti-hate laws that would put them in jail for religious discrimination. They unlocked arms and maintained a distance of three feet from each other.

Unfortunately for Joe, Mary did not want to go out with him again, but seven years later he did receive a message from her on Facebook saying hello. She became vice president of a company, but could not find a man equal to her station since women now made 25% more than men on average. Joe had long left the country and moved to Thailand, where he married a young Thai girl and had three children. He had no plans on returning to his country, America.

If cultural collapse occurs in the way I will now describe, the above scenario will be the rule within a few decades. The Western world is being colonized in reverse, not by weapons or hard power, but through a combination of progressivism and low reproductive rates. These two factors will lead to a complete cultural collapse of many Western nations within the next 200 years. This theory will show the most likely mechanism that it will proceed in America, Canada, UK, Scandinavia, and Western Europe.

What Is A Cultural Collapse?

Cultural collapse is the decline, decay, or disappearance of a native population’s rituals, habits, interpersonal communication, relationships, art, and language. It coincides with a relative decline of population compared to outside groups. National identity and group identification will be lost while revisionist history will be applied to demonize or find fault with the native population. Cultural collapse is not to be confused with economic or state collapse. A nation that suffers from a cultural collapse can still be economically productive and have a working government.

First I will share a brief summary of the cultural collapse progression before explaining them in more detail. Then I will discuss where I see many countries along its path.

The Cultural Collapse Progression

1. Removal of religious narrative from people’s lives, replaced by a treadmill of scientific and technological “progress.”

2. Elimination of traditional sex roles through feminism, gender equality, political correctness, cultural ((((((Marxism)))))), and socialism.

3. Delay or abstainment of family formation by women to pursue careerist lifestyles while men wait in confused limbo.

4. Decreasing birth rate among native population.

5. Government enactment of open immigration policies to prevent economic collapse.

6. Immigrant refusal to fully acclimate, forcing host culture to adopt external rituals and beliefs while being out-reproduced.

7. Natives becoming marginalized in their own country.

1. Removal of religious narrative

Religion has been a powerful restraint for millennia in preventing humans from pursuing their base desires and narcissistic tendencies so that they satisfy a god. Family formation is the central unit of most religions, possibly because children increase membership at zero marginal cost to the church (i.e. they don’t need to be recruited).

Religion may promote scientific ignorance, but it facilitates reproduction by giving people a narrative that places family near the center of their existence.[1] [2] [3] After the Enlightenment, the rapid advance of science and its logical but nihilistic explanations into the universe have removed the religious narrative and replaced it with an empty narrative of scientific progress, knowledge, and technology, which act as a restraint and hindrance to family formation, allowing people to pursue individual goals of wealth accumulation or hedonistic pleasure seeking.[4] As of now, there has not been a single non-religious population that has been able to reproduce above the death rate.[5]

Even though many people today claim to believe in god, they may not step inside a church but once or twice a year for special holidays. Religion went from being a lifestyle, a manual for living, to something that is thought about in passing.

2. Elimination of traditional sex roles

Once religion no longer plays a role in people’s lives, the stage is set to fracture male-female bonding. It is collectively attacked by several ideologies stemming from the beliefs of Cultural Marxist theory, which serve to accomplish one common end: destruction of the family unit so that citizens are dependent on the state. They achieve this goal through the marginalization of men and their role in society under the banner of “equality.”[6] With feminism pushed to the forefront of this umbrella movement, the drive for equality ends up being a power grab by women.[7] This attack is performed on a range of fronts:

  • medicating boys from a young age with ADHD drugs to eradicate displays of masculinity[8]
  • shaming of men for having direct sexual interest in attractive and fertile women
  • criminalization of normal male behavior by redefining some instances of consensual sex as rape[9]
  • imprisonment of unemployed fathers for non-payment of child support, rendering them destitute and unable to be a part of their children’s lives[10]
  • taxation of men at higher rates for redistribution to women[11] [12]
  • promotion of single mother and homosexual lifestyles over that of the nuclear family[13] [14]

The end result is that men, confused about their identify and averse to state punishment from sexual harassment, “date rape,” and divorce proceedings, make a rational decision to wait on the sidelines.[15] Women, still not happy with the increased power given to them, continue their assault on men by instructing them to “man up” into what has become an unfair deal—marriage. The elevation of women above men is allowed by corporations, which adopt “girl power” marketing to expand their consumer base and increase profits.[16] [17] Governments also allow it because it increases their tax revenue. Because there is money to be made with women working and becoming consumers, there is no effort by the elite to halt this development.

3. Women begin to place career above family

At the same time men are emasculated as mere “sperm donors,” women are encouraged to adopt the career goals, mannerisms, and competitive lifestyles of men, inevitably causing them to delay marriage, often into an age where they can no longer find suitable husbands who have more resources than themselves. [18] [19] [20] [21] The average woman will find it exceedingly difficult to balance career and family, and since she has no concern of getting “fired” from her family, who she may see as a hindrance to her career goals, she will devote an increasing proportion of time into her job.

Female income, in aggregate, will soon match or exceed that of men.[22] [23] [24] A key reason that women historically got married was to be economically provided for, but this reason will no longer persist and women will feel less pressure or motivation to marry. The burgeoning spinster population will simply be a money-making opportunity for corporations to market to an increasing population of lonely women. Cat and small dog sales will rise.

Women succumb to their primal sexual and materialistic urges to live the “Sex and the City” lifestyle full of fine dining, casual sex, technological bliss, and general gluttony without learning traditional household skills or feminine qualities that would make them attractive wives.[25] [26] Men adapt to careerist women in a rational way by doing the following:

  • to sate their natural sexual desires, men allow their income to lower since economic stability no longer provides a draw to women in their prime[27]
  • they mimic “alpha male” social behavior to get laid with women who, without having an urgent need for a man’s monetary resources to survive, can choose men based on confidence, aesthetics, and general entertainment value[28]
  • they withdraw into a world of video games and the internet, satisfying their own base desires for play and simulated hunting[29] [30]

Careerist women who decide to marry will do so in a hurried rush around 30 because they fear growing old alone, but since they are well past their fertility peak[31], they may find it difficult to reproduce. In the event of successful reproduction at such a later age, fewer children can be born before biological infertility, limiting family size compared to the historical past.

4. Birth rates decrease among native population

The stage is now set for the death rate to outstrip the birth rate. This creates a demographic cliff where there is a growing population of non-working elderly relative to able-bodied younger workers. Two problems result:

  • Not enough tax revenue is supplied by the working population in order to provide for the elderly’s medical and social retirement needs.[32] Borrowing can only temporarily maintain these entitlements.
  • Decrease of economic activity since more people are dying than buying.[33]

No modern nation has figured out how to substantially raise birth rates among native populations. The most successful effort has been done in France, but that has still kept the birth rate among French-born women just under the replacement rate (2.08 vs 2.1).[34] The easiest and fastest way to solve this double-edged problem is to promote mass immigration of non-elderly individuals who will work, spend, and procreate at rates greater than natives.[35]

A replenishing supply of births are necessary to create taxpayers, workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers in order to maintain the nation’s economic development.[36] While many claim that the planet is suffering from “overpopulation,” an economic collapse is inevitable for those countries who do not increase their population at steady rates.

5. Large influx of immigration

An aging population without youthful refilling will cause a scarcity of labor, increasing that labor’s price. Corporate elites will now lobby governments for immigration reform to relieve this upward pressure on wages.[37] [38] At the same time, the modern mantra of sustained GDP growth puts pressure on politicians for dissemination of favorable economic growth data to aid in their re-elections. The simplest way to increase GDP without innovation or development of industry is to expand the population. Both corporate and political elites now have their goals in alignment where the easiest solution becomes immigration.[39] [40]

While politicians hem and haw about designing permanent immigration policies, immigrants continue to settle within the nation.[41] The national birth rate problem is essentially solved overnight, as it’s much easier to drain third-world nations of its starry-eyed population with enticements of living in the first-world than it is to encourage the native women to reproduce. (Lateral immigration from one first-world nation to another is so relatively insignificant that the niche term ‘expatriation’ has been developed to describe it). Native women will show a stubborn resistance at any suggestion they should create families, much preferring a relatively responsibility-free lifestyle of sexual variety, casual internet dating via mobile apps, consumer excess, and comfortable high-paying jobs in air conditioned offices.[42] [43]

Immigrants will almost always come from societies that are more religious and, in the case of Islam with regard to European immigration, far more scientifically primitive and rigid in its customs.[44]

6. Sanitization of host culture coincides with increase in immigrant power

While many adult immigrants will feel gracious at the opportunity to live in a more prosperous nation, others will soon feel resentment that they are forced to work menial jobs in a country that is far more expensive than their own.[45] [46] [47] [48] [49] The majority of them remain in lower economic classes, living in poor “immigrant communities” where they can speak their own language, find their own homeland foods, and follow their own customs or religion.

Instead of breaking out of their foreigner communities, immigrants seek to expand it by organizing. They form local groups and civic organizations to teach natives better ways to understand and serve immigrant populations. They will be eager to publicize cases where immigrants have been insulted by insensitive natives or treated unfairly by police authorities in the case of petty crime.[50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] School curriculums may be changed to promote diversity or multiculturalism, at great expense to the native culture.[56] Concessions will be made not to offend immigrants.[57] A continual stream of outrages will be found and this will feed the power of the organizations and create a state within a state where native elites become fearful of applying laws to immigrants.[58]

7. Destruction of native culture

This step has not yet happened in any first-world nation, so I will predict it based on logically extending known events I have already described.

Local elites will give lip service to immigrant groups for votes but will be slow to give them real state or economic power. Citizenship rules may even be tightened to prevent immigrants from being elected. The elites will be mostly insulated from the cultural crises in their isolated communities, private schools, and social clubs, where they can continue to incubate their own sub-culture without outside influence. At the same time, they will make speeches and enact polices to force native citizens to accept multiculturalism and blind immigration. Anti-hate and anti-discrimination laws will be more vigorously enforced than other more serious crimes. Police will monitor social networking to identify those who make statements against protected classes.

Cultural decline begins in earnest when the natives feel shame or guilt for who they are, their history, their way of life, and where their ancestors came from. They will let immigrant groups criticize their customs without protest, or they simply embrace immigrant customs instead with religious conversion and interethnic marriages. Nationalistic pride will be condemned as a “far-right” phenomenon and popular nationalistic politicians will be compared to Hitler. Natives learn the art of self-censorship, limiting the range of their speech and expressions, and soon only the elderly can speak the truths of the cultural decline while a younger multiculturalist within earshot attributes such frankness to senility or racist nostalgia.

With the already entrenched environment of political correctness (see stage 2), the local culture becomes a sort of “world” culture that can be declared tolerant and progressive as long as there is a lack of criticism against immigrants, multiculturalism, and their combined influence. All cultural identity will eventually be lost, and to be “American” or “British,” for example, will no longer have modern meaning from a sociological perspective. Native traditions will be eradicated and a cultural mixing will take place where citizens from one world nation will be nearly identical in behavior, thought, and consumer tastes to citizens of another. Once a collapse occurs, it cannot be reversed. The nation’s cultural heritage will be forever lost.

I want to now take a brief look at six different countries and see where they are along the cultural collapse progression…

Russia

This is an interesting case because, up to recently, we saw very low birth rates not due to progressive ideals but from a rough transition to capitalism in the 1990’s and a high male mortality from alcoholism.[59] [60] To help sustain its population, Russia is readily accepting immigrants from Central Asian regions, treating them like second-class citizens and refusing to make any accommodations away from the ethnic Russian way of life. Even police authorities turn a blind eye when local skinhead groups attack immigrants.[61] In addition, Russia has also shown no tolerance to homosexual or progressive groups,[62] stunting their negative effects upon the culture. The birth rate has risen in recent years to levels seen in Western Europe but it’s still not above the death rate. Russia will see a population collapse before a cultural one.

Likelihood of 50-year cultural collapse: Very low

Brazil

We’re seeing rapid movement through stages 2 and 3, where progressive ideology based on the American model is becoming adopted and a large poor population ensure progressive politicians will continue to remain in power with promises of economic redistribution.[63] [64] [65] Within 15 years we should see a sharp drop in birth rates and a relaxation of immigration laws.

Likelihood of 50-year cultural collapse: Moderate

America

Some could argue that America is currently experiencing a cultural collapse. It always had a fragile culture because of its immigrant foundings, but immigrants of the past (including my own parents) rapidly acclimated into the host culture to create a sense of national pride around an ethic of hard work and shared democratic values. This is being eroded as a fem-centric culture rises in its place, with its focus on trends, celebrities, homosexuality, multiculturalism, and male-bashing. Natives have become pleasure seekers with little inclination to reproduction during their years of peak fertility.[66]

Likelihood of 50-year cultural collapse: Very high

England

While America always had high amounts of immigration, and therefore a system of integration, England is newer to the game. In the past 20 years, they have massively ramped up their immigration efforts.[67] A visit to London will confirm that the native British are slowly becoming minorities, with their iconic red telephone booths left undisturbed purely for tourist photo opportunities. Approximately 5% of the English population is now Muslim.[68] Instead of acclimatizing, they are achieving early success in creating zones with Sharia law.[69] The English elite, in response, is jailing natives under stringent anti-race laws.[70] England had a highly successful immigration story with Polish immigrants who eagerly acclimated to English culture, but have opened the doors to other peoples who don’t want to integrate.[71]

Likelihood of 50-year cultural collapse: Very high

Sweden

Sweden is experiencing a similar immigration situation to England, but they possess a higher amount of self-shame and white guilt. Instead of allowing immigrants who could work in the Swedish economy, they are encouraging migration of asylum seekers who have been made destitute by war. These immigrants enter Sweden and immediately receive social benefits. In effect, Sweden is welcoming the least economically productive people in the world.[72] The immigrants will produce little or no economic benefit, and may even worsen Sweden’s economy. Immigrants are turning some parts of Sweden, such as the Rosengard area of Malmo, into a ghetto.[73]

Likelihood of 50-year cultural collapse: Very high

Poland

From my one and half years of living in Poland, I have seen a moderate level of progressive ideological creep, careerism among women, hedonism, and idolation of Western values, particularly out of England, where a large percentage of the Polish population have emigrated for work. Younger Poles may not act much different from their Western counterparts in their party lifestyle behavior, but there nonetheless remains a tenuous maintenance of traditional sex roles. Women of fertile age are pursuing relationships over one-night stands, but careerism is causing them to stall family formation. This puts a downward pressure on birth rates, which stems from significant numbers of fertile young women emigrating to countries like the UK and USA, along with continued economic uncertainties faced from transitioning to capitalism[74]. As Europe’s “least multicultural” nation, Poland has long been hesitant to accept immigrants, but this has recently changed and they are encouraging migrants.[75]  To its credit, it is seeking first-world entrepreneurs instead of low skilled laborers or asylum seekers. Its cultural fate will be an interesting development in the years to come, but the prognosis will be more negative as long as its young people are eager to leave the homeland.

Likelihood of 50-year cultural collapse: Possible

Poland and Russia show the limitations of Cultural Collapse Theory in that it best applies to first-world nations with highly developed economies. They have low birth rates but not through the mechanism I described, though if they adopt a more Western ideological track like Brazil, I expect to see the same outcome that is befalling England or Sweden.

There can be many paths to cultural destruction, and those nations with the most similarities will gravitate towards the same path, just like how Eastern European nations are suffering low birth rates because of mass emigration due to being introduced into the European Union.

How To Stop Cultural Collapse

Maintaining native birth rates while preventing the elite from allowing immigrant labor is the most effective means at preventing cultural collapse. Since multiculturalism is an experiment with no proven efficacy, a culture can only be maintained by a relatively homogenous group who identify with each other. When that homogeneity breaks down and one citizen looks to the next and does not see a person with the same values as himself, the culture falls in dis-repair as native citizens begin to lose a shared means of communication and identity. Once the percentage of the immigrant population crosses a certain threshold (perhaps 15%), the decline will pick up in pace and cultural breakdown will be readily apparent to all observers.

Current policies to solve low birth rates through immigration is a short-term fix with dire long-term consequences. In effect, it’s a Trojan-horse prescription of irreversible cultural destruction. A state must prevent itself from entering the position where mass immigration is considered a solution by blocking progressive ideologies from taking hold. One way this can be done is through the promotion of a state-sponsored religion which encourages the nuclear family instead of single motherhood and homosexuality. However, introducing religion as a mainstay of citizen life in the post-enlightenment era may be impossible.

We must consider that the scientific era is an evolutionary maladaptive feature of humanity that natural selection will accordingly punish (i.e. those who are anti-religious and pro-science will simply breed less). It must also be considered that with religion in permanent decline, cultural collapse may be a certainty that eventually occurs in all developed nations. Religion, it may turn out, was evolutionary beneficial to the human race.

Another possible solution is to foster a patriarchal society where men serve as strong providers. If you encourage the development of successful men who possess indispensable skills and therefore resources that are lacked by females, there will be women below their station who want to marry and procreate with them, but if strong women are produced instead, marriage and procreation is unlikely to take place at levels above the death rate.

A gap between the sexes should always exist in the favor of men if procreation is to occur at high rates, or else you’ll have something similar to the situation in America where urban professional women cannot find “good men” to begin a family with (i.e., men who are significantly more financially successful than them). They instead remain single and barren, only used occasionally by cads for exciting casual sex.

One issue that I purposefully ignored is the effect of technology and consumerism on lowering birth rates. How much influence does video games, internet, and smartphones contribute to a birth decline? How much of an effect does Western-style consumerism have in delaying marriage? I suspect they have more of an amplification effect than being an outright cause. If a country is proceeding through the cultural collapse model, technology will simply hurry the collapse, but giving internet access to a traditionally religious group of people may not cause them to flip overnight. Research will have to be done in these areas to say for sure.

Conclusion

The first iteration of any theory is sure to create as many questions as answers, but I hope that by proposing this model, it becomes more clear why some cultures seem so quick to degrade while others display a sort of immunity. Some countries may be too far down the wrong path to be saved, but I hope the information presented gives concerned readers ideas on protecting their own culture by allowing them to connect how progressive ideologies that may seem innocent or benign on the surface can eventually lead to an outright collapse of their nation’s culture.

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Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory – Coming west sooner than you think!

China’s Social Credit system: Coming west sooner than you think!

 

The party’s massive experiment in ranking and monitoring Chinese citizens has already started.

 

RONGCHENG, CHINA — Rongcheng was built for the future. Its broad streets and suburban communities were constructed with an eye to future expansion, as the city sprawls on the eastern tip of China’s Shandong province overlooking the Yellow Sea. Colorful billboards depicting swans bank on the birds — one of the city’s tourist attractions — returning there every winter to escape the Siberian cold.

In an attempt to ease bureaucracy, the city hall, a glass building that resembles a flying saucer, has been fashioned as a one-stop shop for most permits. Instead of driving from one office to another to get their paperwork in order, residents simply cross the gleaming corridors to talk to officials seated at desks in the open-space area.

At one of these stations, Rongcheng residents can pick up their social credit score.

In what it calls an attempt to promote “trustworthiness” in its economy and society, China is experimenting with a social credit system that mixes familiar Western-style credit scores with more expansive — and intrusive — measures. It includes everything from rankings calculated by online payment providers to scores doled out by neighborhoods or companies. High-flyers receive perks such as discounts on heating bills and favorable bank loans, while bad debtors cannot buy high-speed train or plane tickets.

By 2020, the government has promised to roll out a national social credit system. According to the system’s founding document, released by the State Council in 2014, the scheme should “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” But at a time when the Chinese Communist Party is aggressively advancing its presence across town hall offices and company boardrooms, this move has sparked fears that it is another step in the tightening of China’s already scant freedoms.

But it has been hard to distinguish future promises — or threats — from the realities of how social credit is being implemented. Rongcheng is one place where that future is visible. Three dozen pilot systems have been rolled out in cities across the country, and Rongcheng is one of them. According to Chinese officials and researchers, it’s the best example of the system working as intended. But it also illustrates those intentions may not be as straightforward as they like to claim.

Top and above: Roncheng’s “civilized families” are displayed on public noticeboards like these. (Simina Mistreanu)

The system is the brainchild of city hall staff, says He Junning, the deputy director of the Rongcheng Social Credit Management Office.

The bureaucrat, wearing square glasses and a black checkered sweater, shares the social credit department with seven other employees on the second floor of the city hall. The system they have devised assigns 1,000 points at the beginning to each of Rongcheng’s 740,000 adult residents. From there, the math begins.

Get a traffic ticket; you lose five points. Earn a city-level award, such as for committing a heroic act, doing exemplary business, or helping your family in unusual tough circumstances, and your score gets boosted by 30 points. For a department-level award, you earn five points. You can also earn credit by donating to charity or volunteering in the city’s program.

He stresses that “anything that influences your points needs to be backed by official facts with official documents.” That reduces subjectivity and limits penalties to mainly breaking laws and regulations.

Depending on their score bracket, residents hold a grade ranging from A+++ to D. Some offenses can hurt the score pretty badly. For drunk driving, for example, one’s score plummets straight to a C. On the other hand, triple As are rewarded with perks such as being able to rent public bikes without paying a deposit (and riding them for free for an hour and a half), receiving a $50 heating discount every winter, and obtaining more advantageous terms on bank loans.

Companies are also included in the gauntlet of social credit. They can remain in good standing if they pay taxes on time and avoid fines for things such as substandard or unsanitary products — a sore point for Chinese people, who tend to mistrust firms and service providers due to frequent scams and food safety scandals. High-scoring businesses pass through fewer hoops in public tenders and get better loan conditions.

But even though the system, established in late 2013, theoretically extends to every part of people’s lives, many of the city’s residents don’t even know it exists yet. Sometimes people only realize it when their big life plans — buying a home, applying for a government position or an academic title — take them to the bright hallways of the city hall.

Yu Guanqing sports black Nike sneakers as he rushes from one counter to another, his wife by his side. The 30-year-old company employee needs his social credit score among other documents to apply for a house loan.

“This is making me do extra work! It’s too troublesome,” Yu says while walking, his documents in hand. He hasn’t given the social credit too much thought but says it might help improve people’s behavior. When asked, he checks his score. “I’m an A,” he says — just like 90 percent of Rongcheng’s population.

Oversized pictures depicting the heroes of this brave new world are displayed outside the city hall. They include Bi Haoran, a 24-year-old policeman, who saved some students one evening by pushing them out of the way of a car that crashed into the crowd. Yuan Suoping, a 55-year-old villager, is also there. After her husband’s death, she took care of her bedbound mother-in-law, and when she remarried years later, her only condition for her new husband was that the old woman come live with them.

High-scoring residents are shown outside the public library and in residential communities and villages, which are already operating their own trial social credit systems. Boards explaining how you can win or lose points and showing pictures of the best scorers are a common sight in Rongcheng; passersby talk about them with pride.

But the most startling thing is that cars yield to pedestrians at the crosswalk — a sight I’ve never seen in another Chinese city.

“I feel like in the past six months, people’s behavior has gotten better and better,” says Chen, a 32-year-old entrepreneur who only wanted to give his last name. “For example, when we drive, now we always stop in front of crosswalks. If you don’t stop, you will lose your points. At first, we just worried about losing points, but now we got used to it.”

Inside the Citizens’ Office in Rongcheng, China, in Nov. 2017. (Aurelien Foucault/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP)

Rongcheng is a microcosm of what is to come. The national credit system planned for 2020 will be an “ecosystem” made up of schemes of various sizes and reaches, run by cities, government ministries, online payment providers, down to neighborhoods, libraries, and businesses, say Chinese researchers who are designing the national scheme. It will all be interconnected by an invisible web of information.

But contrary to some Western press accounts, which often confuse existing private credit systems with the future schemes, it will not be a unified platform where one can type in his or her ID and get a single three-digit score that will decide their lives. This caricature of a system that doles out unique scores to 1.4 billion people could not work technically nor politically, says Rogier Creemers, a scholar of Chinese law at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies in the Netherlands. The system would instead expand and automatize existing forms of bureaucratic control, formalizing the existing controls and monitoring of Chinese citizens.

“The social credit system is just really adding technology and adding a formality to the way the party already operates,” says Samantha Hoffman, a consultant at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) who researches Chinese social management.

The Communist Party has experimented with forms of social control ever since it came to power in 1949, though China’s self-policing tradition stretches back to the Song dynasty. An 11th-century emperor instituted a grid system where groups of five to 25 households kept tabs on each other and were empowered to arrest delinquents.

But previous efforts largely focused on groups, not individuals. As early as the 1950s, during Mao Zedong’s rule, rural Chinese were forced into communes that farmed collectively — to disastrous effect — and had their status measured as a group. Similarly, danwei were work units whose members were apportioned public goods and were ranked based on their “good” or “bad” political standing. Such groups were supposed to police their own members — efforts inevitably tied to the violent political struggles of the Maoist era.

Post-1980s, the state relied on hukou, or housing registration, to keep tabs on where people lived, worked, and sent their children to school. But the hukou system often broke down when confronted with China’s mass urbanization in recent decades, which saw hundreds of millions of migrant workers move into metropolises despite poor access to housing and social services.

Along with society at large, the Communist Party has always monitored its own members for both ideological and personal loyalties. E-government projects that started in the 1990s, such as the Golden Shield, which connected public security bureaus across the country through an online network, have been aimed at both efficiency and control.

Former President Jiang Zemin in 1995 called for “the informatization, automation, and intelligentization of economic and social management.” In the early 2000s, his successor, Hu Jintao, attempted to automate social surveillance through modern grid policing projects in cities such as Shanghai. Hu, with his minister of public security, Zhou Yongkang, dreamed up a monitoring system capable of functioning automatically, with the end goal being to keep the Communist Party in power.

The result of decades of control, however, is that Chinese society suffers from a lack of trust, says veteran sociologist Zhang Lifan. People often expect to be cheated or to get in trouble without having done anything. This anxiety, Zhang says, stems from the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), when friends and family members were pitted against one another and millions of Chinese were killed in political struggles.

“It’s a problem the ruling party itself has created,” Zhang says, “and now it wants to solve it.”

But around Rongcheng, nobody wants to talk to foreign journalists about the difficult times. “Life in our village has always been good,” says Mu Linming, a 62-year-old resident of Daxunjiangjia Village. “After introducing the system, it’s gotten even better.”

The retiree and his wife treat visitors the way people used to in the old days: They invite us into their home, insist that we have some noodles, and practically force bags of apples and nuts into our hands before we depart. The orderly village, where some rooftops are covered with seaweed, has its own social credit system that’s separate from Rongcheng’s. Here, the criteria boil down to whether you take care of your parents and treat your neighbors nicely.

Most people’s scores are middle of the road, Mu says, though the top rankers are displayed on a board near the village center.

“We are all good, and we can all encourage bad people to be good,” he says.

Pictures of Rongcheng’s ‘civic heroes’ are displayed around city hall. (Simina Mistreanu)

In Beijing, Zhang Lili is one of the researchers designing the national social credit system. She works at Peking University’s China Credit Research Center, which was established more than 15 years ago for this purpose.

Zhang, wearing her hair in a ponytail, talks about how the idea for the system originated in China’s rapid economic expansion. It’s a narrative commonly put forward in China: Because the Chinese market economy didn’t take centuries to expand like in the West, people need the government to keep companies and businesspeople in check, as well as to ensure a smooth urbanization.

The Peking University credit center started in the early 2000s with social credit projects for tourism agencies, the Ministry of Commerce, and academic researchers. The rankings were based on criteria such as permits and professional qualifications.

“But now with the inclusion of personal information, because there’s more debate about it, [the government] is more cautious,” Zhang says.

The experience of an early citywide experiment might explain why. In 2010, authorities in Suining, a county in Jiangsu province near Shanghai, launched a pilot project that included criteria such as residents’ education level, online behavior, and compliance with traffic laws. Locals would earn points for looking after elderly family members or helping the poor and lose them for minor traffic offenses or if they illegally petitioned higher authorities for help. High scorers were fast-tracked for job promotions and gained access to top schools, while those at the bottom were restricted from some permits and social services.

The scheme was a disaster. Both residents and state media blasted it for its seemingly unfair and arbitrary criteria, with one state-run newspaper comparing the system to the “good citizen” certificates issued by Japan during its wartime occupation of China. The Suining pilot was canceled but not before teaching the government some lessons about what is palatable to the public.

The reason why Rongcheng has the most successful social credit system so far is that the community has embraced it, Zhang says. And that has happened because the scheme basically only deducts points for breaking the law. It is precise in its punishment and generous in its rewards.

As a result, schools, hospitals, and neighborhoods are independently running versions of it. “It’s not because the government has asked them to do it,” Zhang says. “It’s because they feel it’s better for their own administration.”

One such microsystem has been built by residents of First Morning Light, a neighborhood of 5,100 families a stone’s throw from Rongcheng city hall. The spacious, modern-looking community has been divided into grids of 300 families, each grid overseen by a management team. Residents have even taken the official Rongcheng credit system a few steps further by adding penalties for illegally spreading religion — echoing recent countrywide crackdowns on religious practice — abusing or abandoning family members, and defaming others online.

The effects have been positive, says Yang Lihong, a resident in her 30s who uses a pseudonym. Quality of life in First Morning Light has shot up — along with property prices. Yang, who asked that her real name not be used, says she sees no downsides to the social credit system and has no privacy-related concerns.

“I trust the government,” she says. “Who else can you trust if not them?”

China needs a “very delicate” type of administration, Zhang adds.

He Junning, deputy director of the Rongcheng Social Credit Management Office, explains how citizens get rewarded for responsible behavior and penalized for breaking the rules in Nov. 2017. (Aurelien Foucault/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP)

As Rongcheng shows, enforcing the law is a priority of the social credit system. Chinese courts struggle to enforce their judgments, especially civil ones. They’re hampered by their relatively low status in the political system, the country’s sheer size and scale, and the varied and often contentious levels of law enforcement.

On the one hand, the scheme wants to address real problems that Chinese society is confronting, such as financial scams, counterfeit products, and unsanitary restaurants, which amount to a “lack of trust in the market,” says Creemers of the Leiden Institute.

“Yes, the social credit system is connected with maintaining the integrity and stability of the political regime,” he says. “It is also the case that it tries to do so by addressing legitimate concerns. And that complicates the criticism.”

Perhaps the most controversial initiative so far is a supreme court blacklist of 170,000 defaulters who are barred from buying high-speed train or airplane tickets or staying at luxury hotels as a means to pressure them to repay their debt.

The public blacklist has been incorporated by another incarnation of the social credit system — Zhima Credit, a service of the mobile payment provider Alipay. China has a huge mobile payment market, with transactions totaling $5.5 trillion in 2016, compared with $112 billion in the United States. Alipay, owned by Ant Financial, and WeChat Pay dominate the still-growing Chinese market.

Zhima Credit is an optional service embedded in Alipay that calculates users’ personal credit based on data such as spending history, friends on Alipay’s social network, and other types of consumer behavior. Zhima Credit’s technology director controversially told the Chinese magazine Caixin in 2015 that buying diapers, for example, would be considered “responsible” behavior, while playing video games for hours could be counted against you.

Hu Tao, Zhima Credit’s general manager, paints a different picture now. She says the app doesn’t monitor social media posts “nor does it attempt to measure qualitative characteristics like character, honesty, or moral value.” Zhima Credit is not a pilot for the social credit system and doesn’t share data with the government without users’ consent, she says.

However, the company is blending into the invisible web of China’s upcoming social credit system. Ant Financial has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Rongcheng, whose residents will be able to pay their utility bills using Alipay and show their Zhima Credit score — if high enough — to obtain better health insurance and borrow library books and rent public bikes without a deposit.

There’s no single institution in command of the social credit system. Instead, the web made of various schemes stretches and blends, inching from the more popular restrictions for breaking laws to new, grayer areas. The National Development and Reform Commission, a powerful central body, said in March that it would extend train and flight travel restrictions for actions such as spreading false information about terrorism and using expired tickets.

The government will in the end have inordinate amounts of data at its disposal to control and intervene in society, politics, and the economy. This strategy is deliberate and well thought out, argues Sebastian Heilmann of the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin. “With the help of Big Data, China’s leadership strives to eliminate the flaws of Communist systems,” he wrote in a Financial Times op-ed. China’s troves of data will help the government allocate resources, solve problems, and squelch dissent — or so, at least, the government hopes.

Lu Qunying, a hospital employee, checks in at the counter of the social credit system at the Citizens’ Office in Rongcheng in Nov. 2017. (Aurelien Foucault/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP)

Some people already feel trapped in China’s social credit web. Investigative reporter Liu Hu in 2013 published an article alleging someone was an extortionist. The man sued Liu for defamation and won. The court ordered the journalist to pay a fine, which he says he did. However, when Liu next tried to book a plane ticket using a travel app, he was notified that the transaction couldn’t go through because he had been included on the supreme court’s blacklist.

He contacted the local court and learned he had transferred the money to the wrong account. He hurried to repay the fine and sent the judge a picture of his transfer. He didn’t hear back. Later, through connections, he managed to meet the judge and plead with him to be removed from the blacklist, but so far nothing has happened. Through a loophole, Liu can buy plane tickets using his passport, but he feels like there’s nothing he can do to get himself off the blacklist. “It’s helpless,” he says.

The unified social credit system will rally all sectors of society against those deemed untrustworthy, says author Murong Xuecun, who has had run-ins with the Chinese government because of his writings. Murong believes dissidents will experience a “multifaceted punishment,” and more and more people will become cautious about their remarks.

“The Chinese government is increasingly inclined to use high tech to monitor ordinary people, turning China into a police state, a big prison,” says Zhang Lifan, the sociologist.

Zhang and Murong’s voices, however, are so far exceptions. If people have doubts, they’re not voicing them. In Rongcheng, at least, the social credit system has been embraced. If that continues elsewhere, the system will be a success. And the government will see to it that it does.

In the larger picture, the Communist Party is trying to stay in power “by making China a pleasant and acceptable place for people to live in order to not get angry,” Creemers says. “It doesn’t mean it’s benevolent. Keeping people happy is a much more effective means than employing force.”

The party is using both coercion and cooperation to integrate the scheme into people’s lives and have it bring benefits to them. “To me, that’s what makes it Orwellian,” says Hoffman of IISS. The social credit system provides incentives for people to not want to be on a blacklist. “It’s a preemptive way of shaping the way people think and shaping the way people act,” she says. And to the extent that people believe they can benefit socially and economically from the Communist Party staying in power, the system is working.

Cai Yinan and Wu Xiaoxi contributed reporting.

Simina Mistreanu is a Beijing-based journalist. (@SiminaMistreanu)

Chinese government continues to mould citizen behaviour with a Social Credit System

Chinese authorities are expanding the use of an unprecedented technological strategy that gives the government almost complete control over society.

Surveillance, citizen profiling and a Social Credit System combine for a cocktail that is as fascinating as it is terrifying.

The nationwide credit system is scheduled to be launched in 2020, but several pilot systems have already been trialled in smaller cities throughout the country. The idea is to give each citizen a “social score” that will rise and fall depending on the person’s behaviour.

Around 1.4 billion Chinese nationals will be incorporated in a point system that rewards the “trustworthy” and punishes the “disobedient”.

Low scores can significantly impact the life of a person, with penalties including bans from flights with national carriers, ineligibility for public universities and even frozen assets.

Things like dodging transport fares, jaywalking and cheating in video games are considered transgressions that can impact your social score. On the other hand, donating blood or doing volunteer work boosts your points.

The National Development and Reform Commission claims the initiative has already allowed the government to ban more than 7 million people from boarding flights and close to 3 million others from riding on high-speed trains. That’s almost the whole population of Sydney and Melbourne combined.

Authorities in Shenzhen recently implemented facial recognition tech and online shaming to counter petty crime.

In Xiamen, where the Social Credit System has been working since 2004, local authorities play a voice message whenever you call someone with a low score.

“The person you’re calling is dishonest,” the caller hears before their call is connected.

Private companies have also noticed the potential for such technology and have run their own trial programs to profile their customers. Alibaba-affiliated company Ant Financial has developed “Sesame Credit”, a private credit system that rates people according to their consumption behaviour and preferences.

“Someone who plays video games for 10 hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person,” Li Yingyun, Sesame Credit’s technology director, told local press.

“Someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility,” he said.

Not creeped out yet? In some areas, China is using something called Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), an Orwellian mass surveillance system that pools information on anyone from legal databases, internet presence and bank records.

Combine that with these Terminator-like smart glasses and things are getting pretty grim.

China to bar people with bad ‘social credit’ from planes, trains

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.

Passengers wait to board trains ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, at Nanjing Railway Station in Jiangsu province, China January 31, 2018. China Daily via REUTERS

People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on Friday.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated March 2.

It added that the rules would come into effect on May 1.

 

The move is in line with President’s Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted”, said one of the notices which was signed by eight ministries, including the country’s aviation regulator and the Supreme People’s Court.

China has flagged plans to roll out a system that will allow government bodies to share information on its citizens’ trustworthiness and issue penalties based on a so-called social credit score.

However, there are signs that the use of social credit scoring on domestic transport could have started years ago. In early 2017, the country’s Supreme People’s Court said during a press conference that 6.15 million Chinese citizens had been banned from taking flights for social misdeeds.

Reporting by SHANGHAI Newsroom and Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens

The Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents

On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System”. In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?

Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It’s not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school – or even just your chances of getting a date.

A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it’s already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The Chinese government is pitching the system as a desirable way to measure and enhance “trust” nationwide and to build a culture of “sincerity”. As the policy states, “It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility.”

Others are less sanguine about its wider purpose. “It is very ambitious in both depth and scope, including scrutinising individual behaviour and what books people are reading. It’s Amazon’s consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist,” is how Johan Lagerkvist, a Chinese internet specialist at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, described the social credit system. Rogier Creemers, a post-doctoral scholar specialising in Chinese law and governance at the Van Vollenhoven Institute at Leiden University, who published a comprehensive translation of the plan, compared it to “Yelp reviews with the nanny state watching over your shoulder”.

For now, technically, participating in China’s Citizen Scores is voluntary. But by 2020 it will be mandatory. The behaviour of every single citizen and legal person (which includes every company or other entity)in China will be rated and ranked, whether they like it or not.

Kevin Hong

Prior to its national roll-out in 2020, the Chinese government is taking a watch-and-learn approach. In this marriage between communist oversight and capitalist can-do, the government has given a licence to eight private companies to come up with systems and algorithms for social credit scores. Predictably, data giants currently run two of the best-known projects.

The first is with China Rapid Finance, a partner of the social-network behemoth Tencent and developer of the messaging app WeChat with more than 850 million active users. The other, Sesame Credit, is run by the Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG), an affiliate company of Alibaba. Ant Financial sells insurance products and provides loans to small- to medium-sized businesses. However, the real star of Ant is AliPay, its payments arm that people use not only to buy things online, but also for restaurants, taxis, school fees, cinema tickets and even to transfer money to each other.

Sesame Credit has also teamed up with other data-generating platforms, such as Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing company that was Uber’s main competitor in China before it acquired the American company’s Chinese operations in 2016, and Baihe, the country’s largest online matchmaking service. It’s not hard to see how that all adds up to gargantuan amounts of big data that Sesame Credit can tap into to assess how people behave and rate them accordingly.

So just how are people rated? Individuals on Sesame Credit are measured by a score ranging between 350 and 950 points. Alibaba does not divulge the “complex algorithm” it uses to calculate the number but they do reveal the five factors taken into account. The first is credit history. For example, does the citizen pay their electricity or phone bill on time? Next is fulfilment capacity, which it defines in its guidelines as “a user’s ability to fulfil his/her contract obligations”. The third factor is personal characteristics, verifying personal information such as someone’s mobile phone number and address. But the fourth category, behaviour and preference, is where it gets interesting.

Under this system, something as innocuous as a person’s shopping habits become a measure of character. Alibaba admits it judges people by the types of products they buy. “Someone who plays video games for ten hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person,” says Li Yingyun, Sesame’s Technology Director. “Someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility.” So the system not only investigates behaviour – it shapes it. It “nudges” citizens away from purchases and behaviours the government does not like.

Friends matter, too. The fifth category is interpersonal relationships. What does their choice of online friends and their interactions say about the person being assessed? Sharing what Sesame Credit refers to as “positive energy” online, nice messages about the government or how well the country’s economy is doing, will make your score go up.

Alibaba is adamant that, currently, anything negative posted on social media does not affect scores (we don’t know if this is true or not because the algorithm is secret). But you can see how this might play out when the government’s own citizen score system officially launches in 2020. Even though there is no suggestion yet that any of the eight private companies involved in the ongoing pilot scheme will be ultimately responsible for running the government’s own system, it’s hard to believe that the government will not want to extract the maximum amount of data for its SCS, from the pilots. If that happens, and continues as the new normal under the government’s own SCS it will result in private platforms acting essentially as spy agencies for the government. They may have no choice.

Posting dissenting political opinions or links mentioning Tiananmen Square has never been wise in China, but now it could directly hurt a citizen’s rating. But here’s the real kicker: a person’s own score will also be affected by what their online friends say and do, beyond their own contact with them. If someone they are connected to online posts a negative comment, their own score will also be dragged down.

So why have millions of people already signed up to what amounts to a trial run for a publicly endorsed government surveillance system? There may be darker, unstated reasons – fear of reprisals, for instance, for those who don’t put their hand up – but there is also a lure, in the form of rewards and “special privileges” for those citizens who prove themselves to be “trustworthy” on Sesame Credit.

If their score reaches 600, they can take out a Just Spend loan of up to 5,000 yuan (around £565) to use to shop online, as long as it’s on an Alibaba site. Reach 650 points, they may rent a car without leaving a deposit. They are also entitled to faster check-in at hotels and use of the VIP check-in at Beijing Capital International Airport. Those with more than 666 points can get a cash loan of up to 50,000 yuan (£5,700), obviously from Ant Financial Services. Get above 700 and they can apply for Singapore travel without supporting documents such as an employee letter. And at 750, they get fast-tracked application to a coveted pan-European Schengen visa. “I think the best way to understand the system is as a sort of bastard love child of a loyalty scheme,” says Creemers.

Higher scores have already become a status symbol, with almost 100,000 people bragging about their scores on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) within months of launch. A citizen’s score can even affect their odds of getting a date, or a marriage partner, because the higher their Sesame rating, the more prominent their dating profile is on Baihe.

Sesame Credit already offers tips to help individuals improve their ranking, including warning about the downsides of friending someone who has a low score. This might lead to the rise of score advisers, who will share tips on how to gain points, or reputation consultants willing to offer expert advice on how to strategically improve a ranking or get off the trust-breaking blacklist.

Indeed, the government’s Social Credit System is basically a big data gamified version of the Communist Party’s surveillance methods; the disquieting dang’an. The regime kept a dossier on every individual that tracked political and personal transgressions. A citizen’s dang’an followed them for life, from schools to jobs. People started reporting on friends and even family members, raising suspicion and lowering social trust in China. The same thing will happen with digital dossiers. People will have an incentive to say to their friends and family, “Don’t post that. I don’t want you to hurt your score but I also don’t want you to hurt mine.”

We’re also bound to see the birth of reputation black markets selling under-the-counter ways to boost trustworthiness. In the same way that Facebook Likes and Twitter followers can be bought, individuals will pay to manipulate their score. What about keeping the system secure? Hackers (some even state-backed) could change or steal the digitally stored information.

The new system reflects a cunning paradigm shift. As we’ve noted, instead of trying to enforce stability or conformity with a big stick and a good dose of top-down fear, the government is attempting to make obedience feel like gaming. It is a method of social control dressed up in some points-reward system. It’s gamified obedience.

In a trendy neighbourhood in downtown Beijing, the BBC news services hit the streets in October 2015 to ask people about their Sesame Credit ratings. Most spoke about the upsides. But then, who would publicly criticise the system? Ding, your score might go down. Alarmingly, few people understood that a bad score could hurt them in the future. Even more concerning was how many people had no idea that they were being rated.

Currently, Sesame Credit does not directly penalise people for being “untrustworthy” – it’s more effective to lock people in with treats for good behaviour. But Hu Tao, Sesame Credit’s chief manager, warns people that the system is designed so that “untrustworthy people can’t rent a car, can’t borrow money or even can’t find a job”. She has even disclosed that Sesame Credit has approached China’s Education Bureau about sharing a list of its students who cheated on national examinations, in order to make them pay into the future for their dishonesty.

Penalties are set to change dramatically when the government system becomes mandatory in 2020. Indeed, on September 25, 2016, the State Council General Office updated its policy entitled “Warning and Punishment Mechanisms for Persons Subject to Enforcement for Trust-Breaking”. The overriding principle is simple: “If trust is broken in one place, restrictions are imposed everywhere,” the policy document states.

For instance, people with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants, nightclubs or golf courses; and the removal of the right to travel freely abroad with, I quote, “restrictive control on consumption within holiday areas or travel businesses”. Scores will influence a person’s rental applications, their ability to get insurance or a loan and even social-security benefits. Citizens with low scores will not be hired by certain employers and will be forbidden from obtaining some jobs, including in the civil service, journalism and legal fields, where of course you must be deemed trustworthy. Low-rating citizens will also be restricted when it comes to enrolling themselves or their children in high-paying private schools. I am not fabricating this list of punishments. It’s the reality Chinese citizens will face. As the government document states, the social credit system will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.

According to Luciano Floridi, a professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford and the director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, there have been three critical “de-centering shifts” that have altered our view in self-understanding: Copernicus’s model of the Earth orbiting the Sun; Darwin’s theory of natural selection; and ((((((Freud))))))’s claim that our daily actions are controlled by the unconscious mind.

Floridi believes we are now entering the fourth shift, as what we do online and offline merge into an onlife. He asserts that, as our society increasingly becomes an infosphere, a mixture of physical and virtual experiences, we are acquiring an onlife personality – different from who we innately are in the “real world” alone. We see this writ large on Facebook, where people present an edited or idealised portrait of their lives. Think about your Uber experiences. Are you just a little bit nicer to the driver because you know you will be rated? But Uber ratings are nothing compared to Peeple, an app launched in March 2016, which is like a Yelp for humans. It allows you to assign ratings and reviews to everyone you know – your spouse, neighbour, boss and even your ex. A profile displays a “Peeple Number”, a score based on all the feedback and recommendations you receive. Worryingly, once your name is in the Peeple system, it’s there for good. You can’t opt out.

Peeple has forbidden certain bad behaviours including mentioning private health conditions, making profanities or being sexist (however you objectively assess that). But there are few rules on how people are graded or standards about transparency.

China’s trust system might be voluntary as yet, but it’s already having consequences. In February 2017, the country’s Supreme People’s Court announced that 6.15 million of its citizens had been banned from taking flights over the past four years for social misdeeds. The ban is being pointed to as a step toward blacklisting in the SCS. “We have signed a memorandum… [with over] 44 government departments in order to limit ‘discredited’ people on multiple levels,” says Meng Xiang, head of the executive department of the Supreme Court. Another 1.65 million blacklisted people cannot take trains.

Where these systems really descend into nightmarish territory is that the trust algorithms used are unfairly reductive. They don’t take into account context. For instance, one person might miss paying a bill or a fine because they were in hospital; another may simply be a freeloader. And therein lies the challenge facing all of us in the digital world, and not just the Chinese. If life-determining algorithms are here to stay, we need to figure out how they can embrace the nuances, inconsistencies and contradictions inherent in human beings and how they can reflect real life.

Kevin Hong

You could see China’s so-called trust plan as Orwell’s 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs. Act like a good citizen, be rewarded and be made to think you’re having fun. It’s worth remembering, however, that personal scoring systems have been present in the west for decades.

More than 70 years ago, two men called Bill Fair and Earl Isaac invented credit scores. Today, companies use FICO scores to determine many financial decisions, including the interest rate on our mortgage or whether we should be given a loan.

For the majority of Chinese people, they have never had credit scores and so they can’t get credit. “Many people don’t own houses, cars or credit cards in China, so that kind of information isn’t available to measure,” explains Wen Quan, an influential blogger who writes about technology and finance. “The central bank has the financial data from 800 million people, but only 320 million have a traditional credit history.” According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the annual economic loss caused by lack of credit information is more than 600 billion yuan (£68bn).

China’s lack of a national credit system is why the government is adamant that Citizen Scores are long overdue and badly needed to fix what they refer to as a “trust deficit”. In a poorly regulated market, the sale of counterfeit and substandard products is a massive problem. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 63 per cent of all fake goods, from watches to handbags to baby food, originate from China. “The level of micro corruption is enormous,” Creemers says. “So if this particular scheme results in more effective oversight and accountability, it will likely be warmly welcomed.”

The government also argues that the system is a way to bring in those people left out of traditional credit systems, such as students and low-income households. Professor Wang Shuqin from the Office of Philosophy and Social Science at Capital Normal University in China recently won the bid to help the government develop the system that she refers to as “China’s Social Faithful System”. Without such a mechanism, doing business in China is risky, she stresses, as about half of the signed contracts are not kept. “Given the speed of the digital economy it’s crucial that people can quickly verify each other’s credit worthiness,” she says. “The behaviour of the majority is determined by their world of thoughts. A person who believes in socialist core values is behaving more decently.” She regards the “moral standards” the system assesses, as well as financial data, as a bonus.

Indeed, the State Council’s aim is to raise the “honest mentality and credit levels of the entire society” in order to improve “the overall competitiveness of the country”. Is it possible that the SCS is in fact a more desirably transparent approach to surveillance in a country that has a long history of watching its citizens? “As a Chinese person, knowing that everything I do online is being tracked, would I rather be aware of the details of what is being monitored and use this information to teach myself how to abide by the rules?” says Rasul Majid, a Chinese blogger based in Shanghai who writes about behavioural design and gaming psychology. “Or would I rather live in ignorance and hope/wish/dream that personal privacy still exists and that our ruling bodies respect us enough not to take advantage?” Put simply, Majid thinks the system gives him a tiny bit more control over his data.

Kevin Hong

When I tell westerners about the Social Credit System in China, their responses are fervent and visceral. Yet we already rate restaurants, movies, books and even doctors. Facebook, meanwhile, is now capable of identifying you in pictures without seeing your face; it only needs your clothes, hair and body type to tag you in an image with 83 per cent accuracy.

In 2015, the OECD published a study revealing that in the US there are at least 24.9 connected devices per 100 inhabitants. All kinds of companies scrutinise the “big data” emitted from these devices to understand our lives and desires, and to predict our actions in ways that we couldn’t even predict ourselves.

Governments around the world are already in the business of monitoring and rating. In the US, the National Security Agency (NSA) is not the only official digital eye following the movements of its citizens. In 2015, the US Transportation Security Administration proposed the idea of expanding the PreCheck background checks to include social-media records, location data and purchase history. The idea was scrapped after heavy criticism, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. We already live in a world of predictive algorithms that determine if we are a threat, a risk, a good citizen and even if we are trustworthy. We’re getting closer to the Chinese system – the expansion of credit scoring into life scoring – even if we don’t know we are.

So are we heading for a future where we will all be branded online and data-mined? It’s certainly trending that way. Barring some kind of mass citizen revolt to wrench back privacy, we are entering an age where an individual’s actions will be judged by standards they can’t control and where that judgement can’t be erased. The consequences are not only troubling; they’re permanent. Forget the right to delete or to be forgotten, to be young and foolish.

While it might be too late to stop this new era, we do have choices and rights we can exert now. For one thing, we need to be able rate the raters. In his book The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly describes a future where the watchers and the watched will transparently track each other. “Our central choice now is whether this surveillance is a secret, one-way panopticon – or a mutual, transparent kind of ‘coveillance’ that involves watching the watchers,” he writes.

Our trust should start with individuals within government (or whoever is controlling the system). We need trustworthy mechanisms to make sure ratings and data are used responsibly and with our permission. To trust the system, we need to reduce the unknowns. That means taking steps to reduce the opacity of the algorithms. The argument against mandatory disclosures is that if you know what happens under the hood, the system could become rigged or hacked. But if humans are being reduced to a rating that could significantly impact their lives, there must be transparency in how the scoring works.

In China, certain citizens, such as government officials, will likely be deemed above the system. What will be the public reaction when their unfavourable actions don’t affect their score? We could see a Panama Papers 3.0 for reputation fraud.

It is still too early to know how a culture of constant monitoring plus rating will turn out. What will happen when these systems, charting the social, moral and financial history of an entire population, come into full force? How much further will privacy and freedom of speech (long under siege in China) be eroded? Who will decide which way the system goes? These are questions we all need to consider, and soon. Today China, tomorrow a place near you. The real questions about the future of trust are not technological or economic; they are ethical.

If we are not vigilant, distributed trust could become networked shame. Life will become an endless popularity contest, with us all vying for the highest rating that only a few can attain.

This is an extract from Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart (Penguin Portfolio) by Rachel Botsman, published on October 4. Since this piece was written, The People’s Bank of China delayed the licences to the eight companies conducting social credit pilots. The government’s plans to launch the Social Credit System in 2020 remain unchanged

Updated 28.11.17: An amendment has been made to clarify a comparison between the Chinese government’s Social Credit System and Communist Party surveillance methods.

American Unrest Proves China Got the Internet Right

Beijing has been criticized for its Great Firewall and online censorship. Now it’s looking prescient.

BERKELEY, CA - FEBRUARY 1: People protesting controversial Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos take to the streets on February 1, 2017 in Berkeley, California. A scheduled speech by Yiannopoulos was cancelled after protesters and police engaged in violent skirmishes. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

BERKELEY, CA – FEBRUARY 1: People protesting controversial Breitbart writer ((((((Milo Yiannopoulos)))))) take to the streets on February 1, 2017 in Berkeley, California. A scheduled speech by Yiannopoulos was cancelled after protesters and police engaged in violent skirmishes. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

In 2016, social media dominated the internet and the world. On November 8, Republican Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States, in some ways because of his social media support. At the same time, the internet in which Americans take such pride has been beset with social crises. It has become ever more extreme, filled with an endless stream of fake news. By contrast, the Chinese internet, long mocked by the Western world, has entered a period of peace and calm. China’s system of internet management, it’s now clear, has worked; and the West’s model of free speech is showing cracks in a new media era.

The internet has generally been a global good, rapidly and profoundly changing modern life, with massive effects on thought, ideology, and even industry. But the seemingly omnipotent web has also bred new problems in world governance. Private citizens have shown themselves poor stewards of the internet; their collective sense of rules and laws is rather weak. Instead, the web is based on the expression of moods and the airing of grievances, and is characterized by unreasonableness and a lack of order. Recently, the internet has also become a place where America’s ever-more-extreme social conflicts find a voice. The web has become polarized and social rifts have grown deeper, posing a huge challenge to modern American society.

What should the United States do? One view of the web, which the United States often seems to support, is that the internet is sui generis, both part of yet removed from the real world, and requires an entirely new and bespoke system to govern it. Another view holds that some lessons learned from the past, and from the physical world, can be adapted and deployed to govern online behavior. That’s China’s view. 

Although China’s internet is often accused of being highly regulated, that honor actually belongs to the U.S. web. Partly because of its long head start, the United States has the more numerous and comprehensive set of laws governing internet safety. Starting in 1977, the United States began to lay down one law after another aimed at strengthening online information security and network security, which ultimately shaped the rules of the game for everyone. The Privacy Act promulgated in 1974 and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in 1998 are but two of many examples.

Just as with traditional governance, the U.S. internet was restrained by two main principles: the rule of law and the market. In these spaces, nations, corporations, and society each exercised some measure of control over the other. Big telecom companies worked with government to create a Pax-Americana internet. Internet uses saw their informational freedoms expand in step with the development of U.S. telecommunications.

That was before the shock of “PRISM-gate,” which suggested the expansion of internet freedom was coming, or had already come, to an end. In an age of sharp social conflicts, American officials learned, it was not enough to depend on industry self-regulation or individual discipline.

In an age of sharp social conflicts, American officials learned, it was not enough to depend on industry self-regulation or individual discipline.

Where the information industry is regarded as an economic actor, and not a public servant, social media extremism and the spread of falsehoods is an inevitable symptom.Contrast the U.S. system with the development of Chinese internet governance. Whereas the United States has a system focusing on freedom to produce and share content, China has taken an opposite, more authoritarian approach. The government in particular takes the lead, which is in keeping with China’s social contract, which prioritizes stability and economic growth. Nurtured by its traditional political heritage, the Chinese government seeks to reduce the likelihood of marginal dissatisfaction escalating to public crisis. China has so far been very successful in regulating online space by encouraging public discussions, providing outlets for public grievances, but restricting ill-meant rumors and information that might impact negatively social stability or incur social panic. This approach is suitable and wise for China in an era of massive social transformation.

China now has a bevy of laws regulating its web, but its most potent governance tools are the Great Firewall, which filters out some foreign content seen as hazardous to China’s information security, and an internal system that screens out keywords determined to be disadvantageous to social stability. The concepts behind them reflect two broad judgments: First, the collapse of the Soviet Union happened partly because in its final stages, the Soviet Republic lost sovereignty over information within its borders, allowing false U.S. propaganda to flood in, defeating the USSR on the ideological front; and second, information on the internet comes from complex sources, and so false and manipulated information is rampant.

China has always regulated information from the top down, but from 2003 to 2008, with the Beijing Olympics approaching, Chinese internet regulation was comparatively laissez-faire, part of an effort to spur sector growth and the development of big Chinese internet companies. Starting in the second half of 2008, which saw violent terrorist attacks in the western region of Xinjiang that left multiple deaths and the beginning of global unrest powered by the internet, the Chinese government became more aware of the serious repercussions resulting from internet rumors and the web’s huge power to mobilize people, and tightened its regulation accordingly. Maintaining social stability became even more important, and the government gradually became more conservative on this score.

One enduring problem is the lack of media literacy among Chinese netizens. They aren’t familiar with the basic operating mode in Western speech, where all ideas contend; when faced with unfiltered information, average Chinese web users often have no way to discern truth from falsehoods. China’s response is pragmatic: it does not block VPNs wholesale (which allow users to “hop” the Great Firewall), nor does China block all outside information. Some sites, such as Cankao Xiaoxi, even sometimes translate Western criticisms of China, and can be freely shared. But if China set aside all information barriers, it would be the equivalent of handing over its information sovereignty.

Because it draws upon lessons from information management in the pre-internet age, China treats cyberspace much as it does physical space. Just as Beijing regulates speech deemed as jeopardizing social stability and monitors large gatherings in order to promote social harmony and cohesion in the real world, so does it regulate speech and “gatherings” in the virtual world.

Just as Beijing regulates speech deemed as jeopardizing social stability and monitors large gatherings in order to promote social harmony and cohesion in the real world, so does it regulate speech and “gatherings” in the virtual world.

It’s okay to complain about Chinese politics over dinner, just not at an organized street rally; similarly, China’s regulatory bodies tolerate social criticisms from average netizens, even those directed at political leaders, and generally only target some opinion leaders who, in the government’s view, instigate social turmoil. Meanwhile, both offline and online, Chinese official media continue to act as the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, aiming primarily to promote social consensus.

The United States has a different history, one in which different opinions compete for public attention. For generations, this model has worked. But the social contract underpinning free speech in the United States appears to be fraying.

China’s government is well aware that the internet is a powerful agent for social change. The question is how much of this change is positive. Beijing has hedged its bets, showing itself rather tolerant of grassroots criticism on social networks while regulating opinion-makers, state media, and outside information. The social stability China has enjoyed so far in this new age suggests the approach is working. But the state will remain vigilant against potential risks that may crop up. The internet teems with opportunities, but also challenges to governance and social cohesion. China is no exception — and neither is America.

Image: Elijah Nouvelage/Stringer/Getty

The left is coming for your ability to defend yourself from Tyranny.

Vermont moving to ban high cap magazines and raise legal age limit to 21.

So you can literally be drafted to go and die for jews in the middle east, but can’t buy a fucking gun to defend your wife and young family. Fuck this government, Civil War Now!

This is only going to end when we put a round in every liberals skull,  literally, its them or us people. Wake the Fuck up to your own genocide. 

Thoughts of the Day: If Whites Become a Minority – GL 030618

gl 030618

Another week has gone by already, which means it’s time once again for Grandpa Lampshade’s Thoughts of the Day and we have a lot to cover this week so we’re not going to spend much time beating around the bush.

Sometimes the way we relate to one another in this movement is much like the way you may relate to someone in a personal relationship. I don’t care how good a match you are, you are not going to see eye to eye 100% of the time, it’s just not going to happen. This seems like common sense, right? Yet in this movement we have a lot of different people with a lot of different ideas and yet, we seem to be shocked when all these different people don’t agree with us 100% of the time. Too often this winds up devolving into name calling and worse, accusations of secret Jewyness or other such things. The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes to an end goal, 88% (lol) of us want the same thing, we simply have different ideas on how to get there. In the end, the one who is correct will be shown to be correct and the one who is wrong will at some point either fail miserably or will be forced to admit they were wrong and alter their tactics. When we inevitably have these differences, I say let us work together where it’s practical and part ways when it is not. It’s as simple as that. No need for anger and name calling and accusations of being a secret Jew or whatever.

Along this same line, one of the points of disagreement I’ve observed as of late is American Nationalism. Is promoting ‘Murica! and American flags selling out and going soft or a sly political strategy? Well, my answer is both and it depends. The thing that’s hard to accept is the America I grew up in is long gone. It’s sad to accept but that’s the reality. America is gone and it’s not coming back. The struggle now is to see who will be in power and what will they establish. I truly believe that when we build something new there are quite a few National Socialist principles that would be very beneficial in moving forward. I also acknowledge that you’re not going to actually call those principles “National Socialism” but I don’t really care about what you call it. What I care about is the end result and that should be your concern as well.

Most of us are quite aware of the plight of White people in South Africa but I want to devote a segment to discussing South Africa once again. This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the country and it won’t be the last. The important thing that people must understand when it comes to South Africa is that it is the prototype for what the Jew wants to happen to all our societies. Yes, we want to raise awareness of the plight of white South Africans and hopefully do something to help them, but at the same time we need to use this to make the masses understand that this is their future and not that far down the road either. We will of course discuss this in much greater detail but know this: once you are the minority and once you have given up your power advantage, the mask of “equality and justice” that the enemy wears will quickly come off and the hideous monster will bare it’s fangs.

In case you haven’t noticed, Cold War 2.0 is now full on. In this Cold War sequel the U.S. plays the part of global villain. Russia has reached out it’s hand in a gesture of peace time and time again and time and time again the U.S. has swatted that hand away and spit in their face. Putin, it would appear, has now had enough. He’s upped his game on Russia’s nuclear arsenal and says he’s not bluffing. I believe him. 50 years ago, we could have confidence that perhaps saner and calmer voices would prevail. Today, not so much. Could we ultimately wind up in a nuclear war that sees millions and millions of people wiped off the face of the planet? I believe we could and I also believe the reason why is quite simple: the Jew.

For this week’s sermon in the Church of the Lampshade, we’re going to discuss the topic of pre-tribulation rapture. Evangelicals are really big on this one. I had a listener ask my opinion on this earlier this past week and I thought it was an excellent topic to do a sermon on. So what about this idea that if you are a special snowflake then Jesus isn’t going to make you go through the really bad stuff but instead, he will swoop you up to heaven so you can sit on the sidelines? Is it biblical? We’ll explore this in great depth this week and put this silly idea to rest.

As always, I hope that you enjoy this week’s show as I know I enjoyed the pleasure of sitting down with all of you once again for this visit. It seems like the weeks are flying by faster and faster, perhaps that’s an age thing. Either way, you can bet that we plan to gather up once again right here next week, for Grandpa Lampshade’s Thoughts of the Day.

***I neglected to mention it in the show but outro music this week comes to us courtesy of Filbert Applebag!***

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Thoughts of the Day: If Whites Become a Minority – GL 030618

https://archive.org/embed/GL030618

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Leftist terrorists attack trumps family. 

From: Foxnews.com

Vanessa Trump hospitalized after opening suspicious envelope

Donald Trump Jr.’s wife Vanessa Trump and two others were taken to a New York City hospital for evaluation after opening a suspicious envelope containing an unidentified substance.

Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa Trump, was taken to the hospital Monday after receiving a letter containing white powder that was later deemed to be non-hazardous, New York City police told Fox News.

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, file photo, Donald Trump Jr., far second right, his wife Vanessa Trump, center, and their family, watch performances during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington. New York police said Donald Trump Jr.'s wife, Vanessa Trump, opened an envelope, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, that contained white powder, felt ill and was taken to New York City hospital as a precaution. They said Vanessa Trump called 911 Monday morning after opening a letter addressed to Donald Trump Jr. at their midtown Manhattan apartment. Police said she said she was coughing and felt nauseous. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Vanessa Trump, center, was taken to a hospital in New York City Monday after opening a letter containing white powder.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Vanessa Trump was taken to the hospital as a precaution, police said. Two other people who were also exposed to the powder were taken to the hospital. 

Trump Jr. tweeted of the “scary situation” on Monday afternoon, and blamed the incident on people with “opposing views.”

“Thankful that Vanessa & my children are safe and unharmed after the incredibly scary situation that occurred this morning,” Trump Jr. said. “Truly disgusting that certain individuals choose to express their opposing views with such disturbing behavior.”

The U.S. Secret Service said in a statement: “The Secret Service and our law enforcement partners in New York City are investigating a suspicious package addressed to one of our protectees received today in New York, New York. This is an active investigation and we cannot comment any further.” 

Ivanka Trump, Vanessa’s sister-in-law, tweeted Monday afternoon, “No one deserves to be frightened this way. There is no excuse.”

Leftist terrorism no doubt. Anyone who gets in the way of the left and their globalist masters, (the people of the lie) find out quickly why they have been expelled from every nation they have ever parasitized from.

Trump Identifies The Actual Opposing Force To America

by Brett Stevens on February 1, 2018

In international politics, you do not have enemies so much as opposition or more gently stated, competition. This occurs because everybody wants to rule the world, mainly because only when one is on top can goals be realized; otherwise, any effort spent on reaching goals is effort taken away from necessary defense.

Diversity fails for the same reason. Every group wants its people in charge, its rules to predominate, society to be shaped after its preferences and aesthetics, and the sense of being in command of its future. It cannot do this when it shares any space with other groups, so conflicts arise. The only solution is for one group to be supreme in each area, and even then, if they are not separated by large bodies of water or mountain ranges, they tend to engage in constant jockeying for who is on top. Anyone who has seen a wolf pack, plate tectonics in action, or even streams of water acting on rock knows this: everything wants to be in the position of effortless power.

When the Soviet Union fell, the United States and Western Europe went into calm oblivion because they had eliminated the last threat that they recognized. At that point, they turned entirely toward internal disputes and ignored the possibility that someone else might be scheming to dethrone them, even though they had fought two wars against this power and suffered historical invasions by its race. They even lulled themselves to sleep on easy wealth based on its labor, and then, easy debt purchased from the people we had just finished enriching with our lust for cheap consumer goods.

Then rumors began to move like shapes in murky air. Hollywood seemed to be being bought up, bit by bit, by a new group. This same group was also investing heavily in real estate in America and Europe, especially the UK, and sending most of its students to our universities. Members of this group seemed to get caught spying and awful lot, especially around military contractors. Their companies began blocking ours overseas, and regulating our products out of existence, while making steady inroads in our market. Still we slept, in part because those in power — the Obama-Clinton gang — seem to have been receiving funds from this group. The Clintons in particular were always known to be friendly with them and even gave them military technology.

The experts tell us that we are entering a multipolar world where instead of having two big superpowers and then only one after the Soviets fizzled, there will be many powers each ruling over the areas around their continents. The Leftist narrative, always one to delight in the failure of anything good so that the failed can feel better about themselves, points out that much of this involves former “developing” nation-states like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa rising to become new powers. What few will say is that this situation has happened before and always resolves itself the same way: some rise above the rest, and those become the new superpowers.

What the West might tell these people is that being a superpower is a kind of a trap, a slaves-and-masters paradox. When you are a superpower, you can pursue your visions of power without restriction, but at the same time, this converts you from being a country focused on its own health to a country being used as a means-to-the-end of power itself. By being masters, you become servants of power, and this leads you to treat your people, customs, values, history, and even existence as secondary to financial, political, and ideological objectives. America for example was happier before it became the guardian of the world, and Europe was glad to relinquish colonialism because of the high cost of maintaining overseas bases and the destructive social effects that it had. In the end, the lesson of power is that it is a lot like alcohol: too little is frustrating, but too much can be lethal, all ensconced within the same warm feeling of fuzzy anesthesia that makes the danger invisible until the next morning, when everything is destroyed and you have to peer through a hangover to realize the growing dread.

China finds itself in the grip of both thymos, or a desire to be recognized for excellence in a natural hierarchy, and hubris, or the compulsion to rise above its station despite the negative externalities that are generated. It has many internal instabilities that will need to be rectified before it can become a stable power, and lacks the time to fix those, so instead it will become increasingly repressive, which will backfire the same way it did for the Soviets. Speaking the Russians, they are — as they were during the Cold War — allies of the Chinese and yet always scheming against them, much as the Chinese are doing in return. The American Left is fanatical about blaming the Russians in order to take the heat off the Chinese, and Russia aims to both sabotage America/Europe and destabilize China by goading them into radicalism much as the USA used military programs like SDI to goad the Soviet Union into over-extending its unstable and incapable system.

If the Chinese stay true to form, their approach will be to do as much damage indirectly as possible, then humiliate the West in some conflict like the Vietnam war, which despite being a win — Chinese expansion stopped — was quite a PR hit for the otherwise previously undefeated West, not least of all because of the social instability it created through anti-war protests and the quivering neurotic paranoia it unleashed in our political system. If they can buy up enough of the West to influence it, spread destructive habits throughout the society, and then lure it into over-extending itself and getting clobbered in another Asian land war, then the Chinese will consider themselves to have risen above the West as a superpower, even though their own internal disorder will prevent them from being anything like the stable society needed to be powerful without consuming itself. Part of this advance manipulation has come through buying the allegiance of the Left and certain key industries so that the 1960s scenario can be replayed with every newspaper shouting the same message of pacifism, disarmament, and focus on nonsensical social issues in order to weaken the West.

Unlike the stumblingly incompetent Obama administration, Team Trump has tackled the Chinese problem head on with hard negotiation on trade while strengthening both infrastructure and industry. At the same time, Trump is now signaling that the Chinese Cold War (via /.) is entering its final stages before it potentially becomes “hot”:

“Trump national security officials are considering an unprecedented federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile network to guard against China, according to sensitive documents obtained by Axios.” This is based on a PowerPoint presentation Axios has in their possession. Two options are described — a national 5G network funded and built by the Federal government, or a mix of 5G networks built by existing wireless providers. A source suggests the first option is preferred and essential to protect against competition from China and “bad actors”. The presentation suggests that a government-built network would then be leased out to carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

The PowerPoint presentation was produced by a senior National Security Council official, and argues that the move is necessary because “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” and “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.”

It also suggests America could export its secure 5G technology to protect its allies, and “Eventually this effort could help inoculate developing countries against Chinese neo-colonial behavior.”

If you read between the lines, the point here is clear: China is a national security threat, they are using industry as their vanguard, and they are attempting to subvert former colonial nations so that they can spread their system and mobilize allies against us. Basically, the old Communist plan is the new Communist plan, mainly because Communist like dysentery is eternally unchanging.

And look, it gets even more explicit as Team Trump acts against Chinese embedded spyware (via /.):

Huawei devices still work on both companies’ networks, but direct sales would’ve allowed them to reach more consumers than they can through third parties. The government’s renewed concern about Chinese spying is creating a potential roadblock in the race between Verizon and AT&T to offer 5G, the next generation of super-fast mobile service. Huawei is pushing to be among the first to offer 5G-capable phone, but the device may be considered off-limits to U.S. carriers who are beginning to offer the next-generation service this year in a few cities. U.S. security agencies and some lawmakers fear that 5G phones made by companies that may have close ties to the Chinese government could pose a security risk.

This is point two of the message above, reiterated. China is not just the government, but its industry. The two are one and the same as in Communism or fascism, and they are working against us much as the “deep state” Establishment spanning government, media, academia, and industry is working against us here. The point is to cut them off and also savage their economic lead, forcing them to fund their ambitions through state funds instead of American product dollars.

Right now, Trump and the Democrats are playing a long dance. They demand something; he offers a compromise; they reject it and blame him. This benefits both sides. Trump gets to keep peeling back layers of the last seventy years of Leftist insanity. The Left gets to escape being blamed for not doing what they promised their coalition.

Why are both sides okay with this? Once the Obama fog lifted, it became clear that China was moving aggressively against the West. Then China formalized that with a slow reveal of its plans for world domination that scared the heck out of the West. This meant that the West has to get out from under China’s thumb, which remains reducing our debt because China is our biggest creditor and if they stop buying our debt, they can crush us. That means they can manipulate us by regulating their buying, and sabotage our markets by simply announcing that they plan to stop buying.

Trump and the Left are seeing eye-to-eye on this, behind the scenes. America and Europe have to get free from their creditors. The only way to do this is to remove the 60% of our budget that goes to entitlement payments and get competitive again. That means making our own car parts, computers, televisions, phones, and basic life gadgets. We will have to starve the Chinese of our consumer dollars and radically cut our spending, or they will own us.

And the Russians? They continue to sabotage us with psyops that emphasize our internal division not on the basis of race, but politics:

There is a third possibility, namely that the dossier was part of a Russian espionage disinformation plot targeting both parties and America’s political process. This is what seems most likely to me, having spent much of my 30-year government career, including with the CIA, observing Soviet and then Russian intelligence operations. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that Vladimir Putin continues in the Soviet tradition of using disinformation and espionage as foreign-policy tools.

…The pattern of such Russian operations is to sprinkle false information, designed to degrade the enemy’s social and political infrastructure, among true statements that enhance the veracity of the overall report. In 2009 the FSB wanted to soil the reputation of a U.S. diplomat responsible for reporting on human rights. So it fabricated a video, in part using real surveillance footage of the diplomat, that purported to show him with a prostitute in Moscow.

…The FSB probably believed that Mrs. Clinton would win the election, and that once the dossier became public Mr. Trump would vociferously argue that she had played dirty. Thus the dossier would have had dual benefits: The salacious portions would undermine the Republican candidate, and then his attacks would delegitimize the eventual Democratic administration. The 2017 ODNI report says that pro-Russia bloggers even prepared an election-night Twitter campaign, #DemocracyRIP, designed to question the election’s validity after a Clinton victory.

For Russia, the winning move is for both China and the US/EU to fall, which will enable Russia to occupy Europe and subjugate China. To that end, it would be best if the American society became unstable and paranoid at the same time China was emboldened by Russian support, guaranteeing war between America and China in which Europe would join. Afterwards, Russia would attack and conquer the victor, who would be almost certainly massively weakened by that great contest. That is Machiavellian realism.

In the meantime, China faces an uncertain future. Its hybrid economic system requires intense state control by a state that is notoriously slow to respond to change. Its people are mostly peasants, and its economic growth is based on a boom in consumer electronics that may not last. Even more, its quality seems to have issues as many of its products are low-quality, leading to a question of how well its own infrastructure and technology will work. The tiger may be partially a paper tiger, and that may make them as unstable as the Mongols, who were able to conquer vast swathes of territory but not administrate it.

China probably needs — in parallel to Hitler’s Germany — several generations to begin recovering from the chaos of the past three thousand years. But, like Russia, China sees the solution to internal instability in external conquest. Russia wants to own Western Europe for its wealth, forgetting that under Russian management, that will likely be paltry much as it is in Russia now despite massive reserves of natural resources. These countries need solutions that are part structural, and part eugenics, in that they are bottom-heavy with peasant laborers and short on actual visionaries.

For reasons unknown, America and Europe have decided to follow that lead by making their already slightly bottom-heavy societies really bottom-heavy through the importation of large numbers of third world laborers who will take more from the welfare benefits state than they will put into it, guaranteeing a systemic crash on economic and political levels.

Despite that, the Trump/Brexit years show us the West re-awakening to a need for a general direction other than further into the ghetto of Leftism. Instead of bowing to China, Trump has challenged China. Instead of indulging in pity politics as the Left does, he encourages growth through competition and excellence. And now, by identifying China as the force that is historically and in the present day most likely to attempt to overthrow us, he has changed the dialogue on the Western future entirely.