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

An Argument for #Exitaly Being the Official Name for Italian EU Exit

Andrew Anglin

Daily Stormer
March 5, 2018

We did good in Italy yesterday.

Very, very good.

BBC:

Italy’s voters have turned to right-wing and populist parties in an election that is set to leave the country with a hung parliament.

The Eurosceptic, anti-establishment Five Star Movement was the biggest party with almost a third of the vote.

But a coalition of the far-right League and centre-right of ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is set to win most seats in the lower house of parliament.

Forming a government may now take weeks of negotiation and coalition-building.

One of the biggest winners was League leader Matteo Salvini who declared his party had the “right and duty” to govern at the head of a right-wing coalition.

Results showed the League conquering broad swathes of Italy’s north, while Five Star saw its strongest show of support in the south.

Latest results show Five Star garnering 32.3% of the vote, while the League received 17.6% of the vote and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia 14%.

The ruling centre left lost ground, with Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) securing only 18.9% of the vote. La Repubblica newspaper described its failure to win a fifth of the votes as a psychological blow.

Voter turnout was estimated at 73% on Monday morning, according to interior ministry figures.

This article isn’t going to break down all of those various factions, but here’s the basic thing:

  • Five Star Movement: Not racist necessarily, but anti-EU and anti-mass immigration. Calls for expulsion of all illegal immigrants.
  • League of the North: Basically white nationalist. But with a muddy position on the EU.
  • Forza: Equivalent to the GOP in a lot of ways, cucked but still rightish and ostensibly anti-immigrant.
  • PD: Pro-immigrant, but not insane leftist extremist. Recently promoted more conservative immigration policies to get their 19% in this election.

But basically, there officially is no more centrism in Italy. It is all a bunch of formerly fringe groups becoming the mainstream and pushing what was the mainstream – centrism has been the mainstream in every Western country since Hitler died – into the fringe.

And the driving factor behind that is IMMIGRATION.

Ain’t nobody likes a boat full of niggers.

Ain’t nobody likes an uppity niggerbitch lecturing you on how you need to serve her.

The great thing about Italy is that they don’t really have a left that has ever gained any traction. So there isn’t polarization like what you see in other countries with a far-left competing with a far-right. There is just the center trying to hold ground, and losing it to the right.

Everything is going in the correct direction these days, the world over. It’s sometimes hard to see that, because we’re being gaslit by Jews, and in response to the fact everything is going our way, the Jews are ratcheting up the pressure on us, which we see and feel more intensely than the slow victory.

But understand it: we are winning.

Yids Flipping Lids

The filthy Jew media is losing their shit.

The New York Times AKA the Jew York Times AKA the Kiketown Post-Gazette said:  “the results were not just a disconcerting measure of Italy’s mood but also a harbinger of the troubles that may yet lay ahead for Europe.”

The Hebrew people know that the world’s eyes are always on foreign elections these days because we are all dealing with the same kikery: most prominently, the immigration invasion, but also trannies, economic kikery, feminism and other weird shit Jews do.

Every country’s elections are now a huge international event, because we are looking to our sister nations to see how they deal with their issues. That is one of the reasons Trump’s election was so important – because despite the fact that europoors are always bitching about America, we are very solidly in the center of their thoughts and they always take cues from us. I have maintained that Donald Trump’s candidacy is a big part of what gave the British the courage to vote Brexit. And I think in Italy, it is the same thing.

We are all in the process of signaling to each other: “yes, it is okay. It is okay to be white, it is okay to have your country, it is okay to not want to be buried in the genetic waste of the entire planet.”

And that makes Jews nuts. They want to isolate the goyim, back them into their own corners, and attack them individually. They do not want an international goyim liberation front – and that is very clearly what is emerging.

But the Point Here, The Real Point Here

I do not believe that #Italexit is a good name, at all.

So I am pushing for a radical new approach to anti-EU portmanteaus: I think we need to go straight-up #Exitaly.

Not only does it sound better and roll straight off the tongue – unlike “Italexit,” which confusing to try to say – it also breaths freshness into the anti-EU portmanosphere. It is a new spin on an old tradition.

The time is now to switch up the game.

Words are powerful. Changing this portmanteau could be the clincher on getting Italy out of the EU, which will trigger an avalanche.

Diversity Drives A Consolidation Of National Culture

When diversity first came about, people — being prone to react to what they experienced, not how they could analyze its causes — focused on criticizing the groups that formed the diversity. They had some points, but they were off the mark in that the real problem is diversity itself.

Whether or not the invading groups are nice or mean, or nearly like us or barely like us, the point of diversity is that it breaks up the majority culture, forces a lowest common denominator standard, empowers government against its citizens, throws society into a loop of trying to “accommodate” those who hate it, and finally, genetically erases the founding population. Diversity is a death spiral.

Across Europe, people are finding that political promises are not reality. Politicians, knowing that the voters will reward them, always preach pacifism, helping the poor, and tolerance to others. These are socially popular ideas. However, people find out that in real life, politicians have little influence when a policy fails.

When nations decide to make themselves healthy, the first thing they do usually involves consolidating the actual group and excluding outsiders. In other words, they choose the people who can be part of the group, and want the others gone. This is not related to who those groups are, but the only way they can express it is racism.

Poland is experiencing this as it reacts to criticism over anti-Semitism coupled with its need to keep Poland Polish and exclude all who are not Polish. This is misread as anti-Semitism, when really the anti-Semitism — in this case, although perhaps not before — is a reaction to diversity, and is designed to drive all Other groups away:

Yet anxieties have been creeping in amid a global rise in xenophobia that was also felt in Poland.

A conservative party, Law and Justice, won power in Poland vowing to restore national greatness while also stressing an anti-Muslim, anti-migrant message. Jews — whose presence in Poland goes back centuries — were increasingly the targets of verbal hate on social media.

…The current wave of discrimination comes just weeks before the 50th anniversary of an anti-Semitic campaign orchestrated by Poland’s communist regime in March 1968. That campaign began with rhetoric eerily similar to the things being said today and ended up with 20,000 Jews forced to relinquish their possessions and their Polish citizenship and flee the country.

We have to decide, in our analysis of these events, which is the cause and which is the effect. If the cause is xenophobia, then anti-Semitism is the effect; if the cause is anti-Semitism, why is there general xenophobia? More likely people are discovering that diversity itself is to blame.

Consider the plight of an average Polish family. They live in a small town, and they know a Jewish family and a Muslim family. They like these people; as individuals, they think, these are good people. But the presence of Muslims and Jews as groups means a dilution of Polishness, which is bad, even if the individuals are good.

What a paradox! How to resolve this? The simple human mind opts for a compromise: they will continue to support their neighbors, but they will also support an increase in negative rhetoric about the groups involved. This is, in their view, a gentle way to tell non-Polish people that it is not personal, but it is time to leave!

This is part of a pincer strategy: they simultaneously reduce incentives to be in a place while raising costs. One way of raising costs is to integrate heavily around the national group and its practices, which makes other groups feel like outsiders, which sweetens the idea of emigration. From Hungary:

Hungary’s prime minister says that “Christianity is Europe’s last hope” and that politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris favoring migration have “opened the way to the decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam.”

Viktor Orban said Sunday during his 20th annual state of the nation speech that his government will oppose efforts by the United Nations or the European Union to make migration acceptable to the world.

He conjured the image of a Western Europe overtaken by Muslims, saying that “born Germans are being forced back from most large German cities, as migrants always occupy big cities first.”

He combines a strong signal in favor of Christianity, a move which rejects other religions, alongside the idea of nativism, or support of those who are from the founding ethnic group. Then he ties this to rejection of migration itself which implies a rejection of immigration and thus, diversity.

When migrants thought they were going to foreign countries where they would be accepted, the risk and costs were low and the benefits high. Now that they know they will be surrounded by a potentially hostile population, the risk is higher and the benefits are lower in comparison, plus will likely be reduced directly in the future.

All this means that we are ending the immigration arc. This arc began when democratic governments, looking for ways to implement policy, decided to use immigration as a tool. They ignored the consequences beyond the immediate in doing so, sewing the seeds of future discontent as the effects were revealed:

Much of the real-life opposition derives from a deeply held belief in the evocative poetry at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

But does this all-welcoming poetry align with our national interest?

It did when ((((((Emma Lazarus)))))) wrote it in 1883. National policy was Manifest Destiny, which aimed to expand the United States and to settle an unpopulated continent. Indeed, six years later, in 1889, we launched the Oklahoma land rush, offering up to 160 acres to anyone who staked a claim and committed to occupy and cultivate it. The nation needed all the citizens it could attract.

In Europe, the idea behind immigration was that taxes needed to be paid. Socialist policies — “and it’s all free!” type thinking — are perpetually popular with voters, who think that they will get something for nothing. These policies however have secondary effects and unintended consequences.

First, they flood the country with idiots who could not otherwise survive. Second, they ensure that bureaucracy and red tape have a stranglehold over the people. Then they make daily life into a process of dodging idiots who are protected by government. Finally, they encourage people to isolate themselves to avoid the failed society.

At that point, people stop reproducing. Politicians — the type of people who are good at school but cannot boil an egg — then look at the balance sheet and realize that they will not have enough people in the future to be taxed to death to pay for all those nice social programs. In their non-wisdom, they look for a new group.

European and American politicians sold immigration on the idea that it had no effects past the immediate. Immigrants will come in and take the dirty jobs, they said, and then pay taxes so that native inhabitants of the country can retire comfortable with their free pensions, healthcare, education, and insurance intact.

As it turns out, this does not work. Diversity does not work, so the problems of socialist programs are intensified. It turns out that the vast majority of the immigrants cannot do what the natives can. And the immigrants, realizing they are imported labor, refuse to work and therefore, pay net negative taxes because they still use all those free social benefits.

Over the years, every time politicians said, “Diversity is our strength!” people nodded, thinking that it meant they could retire and die without addressing the fundamental misery of their society and could enjoy the wealth it seemed to have in abundance. As if they had minds of their own, the immigrants resisted this.

In fact, immigrants resisted assimilation — which could not happen anyway, as it would require them to give up their identity and serve as a conquered people and low-paid near-slave labor — by instead clinging to their identities, giving rise to identity politics. In fact, they were only acting in self-interest.

When confronted with a majority population, minorities have two options: they can assimilate and serve against their own interests, or embrace their interests, which puts them in conflict with the majority. But look, the majority has tied its own hands with doctrines of human rights! From this comes constant ethnic conflict:

You are are rarity in the corner office in America and it is something that so many people want to see change. Not only are you a female CEO; you’re a minority CEO. Where do you fall on who has to make the change and how it is going to happen so that there are more women like you represented in the top echelons of corporate America?

…Just today we met with a supplier, and the entire other side of the table was all Caucasian males. That was interesting. I decided not to talk about it directly with [the supplier’s] folks in the room because there were actually no females, like, levels down. So I’m going to place a call to him.

Their interest lies in advancing their people and simultaneously crushing the majority. The majority interest lies in maintaining itself, which is harder for it because unlike minority groups, it does not have the question of identity thrust upon it. And so a low-grade, cold civil war results, and finally heats up as it did in 2016.

Diversity inevitably makes enemies of us all. In the beginning of its arc, when minority groups are small, they assimilate because they have no other options. As they gain power, the conflict expands, and eventually becomes explicit as it did in the statement by the Sam’s Club CEO above.

Poland and Hungary possess less innate wealth than the West, so they are most concerned with ending diversity because they have fewer options to subsidize it. The bloated and lazy West, drunk on human rights from its caste revolt against its natural leaders, keeps the money flowing for now so it does not have to abandon equality as a doctrine.

As with all things, however, time shows the truth of human actions. Diversity does not work because it cannot work; it is inherently paradoxical. If people are really equal, there is no need to do anything to make them have equal rights or social status; if people are not equal, then it makes no sense to choose those from the lower strata.

While right now this discontent musters itself as anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic comments, those are an attempt to achieve what must be done for our nations to survive: to declare that we are xenophobic, not racist, and simply want everyone else gone so that we can focus on fixing ourselves and restoring our civilizations.

Responding to the Cult of Sargon

Andrew Anglin

Daily Stormer
January 11, 2017

Sargon bringing a friend home to meet his wife, colorized 2018

As we reported yesterday, Sargon of Akkad has declared himself the leader of a cult – “The Liberalists,” he’s called it – and declared that one of the main purposes of his cult is to fight us, the Alt-Right.

I don’t have to tell you what comes next.

I am going to lay down some basic points to cut through this gibberish he is pushing. Not that you don’t all already see through it. But I want to catalog it together for you, so you’ve got all the angles you need when addressing Sargon or the members of his new cult.

Individualism vs. Collectivism

He appears to be hinging his entire cult doctrine on some sort of as-of-yet undefined form of radical individualism.

This is not something that most people actually even comprehend – and I am one of those people.

He’s doing an emperor’s new clothes thing here, acting like there is some fundamental distinction between his beliefs about the individual and our beliefs about the individual, but he doesn’t break that down into any detail, because the only thing he is actually saying is that he believes that nonwhites should be treated as individuals and we do not.

In an all-white country, we wouldn’t infringe on people’s rights or outlaw private property. In fact, people would have a lot more rights than they have now. The only rights that would be curtailed are the new rights that have been given to people by the Jews over the last few decades, such as homosexuality and miscegenation – and the reason we would be curtailing these rights is that giving individuals these rights infringes on the rights of other individuals to not have to deal with the consequences of these actions.

In a white America, individual families would have the right to go out in public and not have to see men kissing one another.

Because the idea that an no individual’s decisions affect other individuals in harmful ways is nonsensical. It is just a goofy, dumb claim.

Beyond sexual things, I don’t really have any idea what he is on about. The only form of extreme “collectivism” that I can really imagine is a Marxist collective, where hierarchy is removed through economic scheming. We do not want to ban the free market (nationally, obviously globalism is negative), we don’t want to take away private property.

We want people to be able to think freely, we just don’t want foreign groups in our countries aggressively pushing for the interests of a foreign people.

Furthermore, the concept of a “collective” is basic human nature and the idea of an “individualist” is really a myth. Every individual person exists as a part of a society, short of a hermit living alone in a cave. Everyone is in a collective now. Sargon just formed a new one. What happens when you use multiculturalism and sexual deviancy to remove the main collective of a cohesive dominant culture is that people form new, smaller collectives, and society atomizes.

Churches, universities, hobbies, etc. are all collectives.

We all remember high school, where the kids who made a point to be different tended to all be similar to one another. When I was in high school at the turn of the millennium, there were gothics – they all claimed to want to be different, yet they all dressed alike and were interested in the same things.

This goes back to our basic biology, which is tribal in nature. Our brains are hardwired to come together with a group and to adopt the same symbols, beliefs and behaviors of that group. You cannot disprove that, because it is an obvious fact. And again: the hilarious thing here is that Sargon’s own “scene” (now an official cult) proves this point. What were called the “skeptics,” which he is now calling “the Liberalists,” all think the same things.

“What if the Child Consents?”

Sargon made a name for himself by deconstruction what SJWs were saying. He was simply attacking them, breaking down why everything they are saying is stupid.

Picking apart something someone else is saying – in particular when it is something as stupid as what SJWs say – is very different than advocating FOR something.

It appears as though he hadn’t really put too much thought into what he was advocating for until he realized that the Alt-Right was advocating for something and that in order to address what we are saying he has to be advocating for something. He had vague ideas relating to the philosophy of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, but even though I have my disagreements with this particular philosophy, it doesn’t even really work in the way he is trying to use it. These were white men who would appalled at the idea of a multi-racial society.

All of these men he cites were a product of white society and formed their philosophy in that context.

So, in order to fill-in the blanks of his advocacy position, he simply decided to adopt modern extremist libertarian positions – specifically because that critique can be used against any system whatsoever. In his debate with Richard Spencer, he was asking him to solve problems that have existed for centuries in relation to the structure of governments, the social order and the management of economies.

But how far is he willing to go with “freedom of the individual”?

For instance, does he believe in legalizing hard drugs? Voluntary indentured servitude?

That parents have a right to starve their children to death?

Does he want to eliminate all social safety nets?

Most importantly: what if the child consents?

Of course, he will claim he is not an anarcho-capitalist, but that is the line of argument he is using when he claims that the Alt-Right can’t work because no ordered system ever can work.

The reason he can’t use the purely classical liberal line against the Alt-Right is that any of those arguments can be easily addressed. Again: we have a position on individual rights, private property and free markets that is very easy to grasp and very difficult to argue against, so he’s started using arguments from a system he claims he doesn’t even support just to give his critique the illusion of substance.

Pointing this out demonstrates that he is not actually proposing anything – that his only concern is with not being a racist. And it is easy to point out by simply forcing him to address the extremist libertarian positions he is arguing from.

No One Wants to Die for an Abstract Concept

Sargon seems to underestimate just how serious the state of the world is for most people. Our society has effectively already collapsed.

And the last thing anyone wants to fight for is some weird abstract idea that no one really even understands.

Sargon is saying “yes, race exists and yes, multiculturalism has had a negative effect on white people – but we can’t address that issue because of this abstract concept. Instead, we have to fight to preserve the abstract concept.”

Well, fighting for abstract concepts is for people who are not backed up against the wall. It is simply the realm of the hobby to go to war over a philosophical ideal.

In the 1960s, people fought for all of this “liberation” that Sargon is defending because there was no risk. The baby boomers lived very comfortably, so fighting for “freedom” was just like a game.

Things have changed. We are now in an extreme situation, where people are very alienated, they are struggling just to survive. People are ready to put their entire being into a fight for a better future.

The only things that are actually worth giving your entire being to fight for are things that exist in real life.

At one point in his recent stream with Mister Metokur, Sargon did mention along with his desire to fight for an abstraction that he doesn’t want trannies teaching his kid to cut his dick off. That is the only real life thing he mentioned. The rest of it was vague abstractions, which again, he hasn’t defined.

Presumably, he also wouldn’t want a daughter to be sex trafficked by a Pakistani rape-gang. He doesn’t want his house burned down by a roving pack of Africans. He doesn’t want to be forced into third-world living conditions. He doesn’t want to feel like a stranger in his own home, being surrounded by people that speak hundreds of different languages. He doesn’t want Britain to become an Islamic state. And he doesn’t want to be arrested for talking about any of these things.

So even if you eliminate race from your perception entirely, the effects of race do not just magically disappear. And the idea that vague notions of “individual liberty” and other abstract ideas are going to hold this multiracial circus show together is utterly nonsensical. We are dealing with real life problems that require real life solutions.

And when you are living with real life, reality is the only thing that matters.

What is the Point of Multiculturalism?

Sargon still has failed to explain the positive of why you would want brown people in your country. Instead, he only puts forward negative arguments against people arguing for white countries – it’s mean, it’s immoral, but they have rights now because they are already here, you can’t even tell for sure if someone is 100% genetically white, etc.

But the question remains: can he name a single benefit derived from having nonwhites in our countries?

Because if not, his entire negative argument of why it would be wrong to remove them is meaningless.

He seems to at least tacitly admit that multiracialism has detrimental effects (even if he claims that these effects somehow have no relationship to race), but hinges everything on the alleged immorality of removing them.

Imagine if you get shot and you’re bleeding out, but there is a lot of traffic on the road to the hospital: is your solution going to be to stay and home and bleed to death? And then if a family member is like “hey, you’d better do something, you’re going to bleed to death,” do you start arguing with them about how it is impossible to get to the hospital and so you just have to make the best of bleeding to death?

If we accept that multiculturalism is an extreme disaster, then we need to work on fixing the situation – not to find some impossible method of dealing with an unbearable situation.

That’s All I’ve Got

Hopefully in the near future Sargon will be releasing an agenda of some kind. It is currently frustrating to critique him given that he has put so little forward with regards to his vision for society. But this is what we’ve got right now.

Andy Warski has announced that Richard Spencer and Sargon will be having a second debate – this time with Mike Enoch included.

So that is going to be good.

Honestly, I’m not sure how Sargon will be able to continue with this agenda after that. I think the “I’m sorry I performed so poorly in the debate – I am now the leader of a cult” trick will only work once.

“Race is Real” for Normies

Diversity Macht Frei

January 6, 2018

In case you’re ever caught arguing with friends, family or strangers on the internet and sometimes struggle to convince or prove that race is real and meaningful, you can explain it to them thus:

If race didn’t exist then genetic markers would be found spread randomly throughout the entire globe, a “random genetic distribution” in other words. Furthermore, if it were the case that genetic markers were not concentrated or localised to specific geographical areas, then a geneticist or forensic scientist would not be able to determine someone’s ancestral origins just from their genome. Yes, a bit of DNA can be used to tell what your racial origins are with a frightening degree of accuracy.

However, because genetic markers concentrate (or cluster) in specific geographic locations and populations, it proves that races exist. This is known as a “clustered genetic distribution”.

This is a very basic explanation but sufficient for most debates/arguments. Especially for the claim that “Race is a social construct” that was popularised way back in the 1920s by ((((((Franz Boas)))))), before genetic studies had come on the scene and before the human genome had been mapped. SJWs and people with an irrational hatred of whites quote an anthropologist from the 1920s, an era from where most ideas are now considered obsolete. They used to take radium supplements back then too but we know now that ionising radiation is highly dangerous.

((((((Boas)))))), as pointed out in the comments, was also a fraud

Recently, two physical anthropologists reanalyzed ((((((Boas))))))’s head-form data. They report that ((((((Boas))))))—now considered the founding father of modern American anthropology—was wrong. Their findings may lead to a new understanding of human races and the origin of certain ancient skeletons, including the recently discovered Kennewick Man, whose cranial characteristics have stirred controversy among anthropologists.

Of course, heritability is also meaningful but that’s a topic for another day. Just expressing the belief doesn’t mean to imply one race is superior to another (but we know the truth), so you can tell them you’re not a racist for stating it. This seems to be the main argument SJWs like to throw at people, as if race being a social construct somehow justifies white genocide.

For further reading:

https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2014/05/06/race_is_real_what_does_that_mean_for_society_108642.html

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/why-race-realism-makes-more-sense-than-magic-dirt-theory/

White Cop Dragged Half a Mile by Spic Driver

Tim Hort
Daily Stormer
December 21, 2017


Officer John Cusack
Pembroke Pines police

Yeah but White people do it too right?

Miami Herald:

Part of the hair-raising ride was captured on Officer John Cusack’s body camera. The camera, police say, fell off after the suspect made several “sharp maneuvers.” Surveillance video then captured the beginning of what turned into a chase through Broward during Tuesday’s morning rush hour.

It all started when police were called to Century Village because there was an unconscious couple in a car, according to police.

Cusack, a 19-year-veteran, found Thomas Cabrera and a woman passed out and a “small, clear plastic baggie with an unknown substance in plain view,” according to a police report.


Thomas Cabrera
Florida Dept. of Corrections

The 38-year-old Pines resident had done eight months in prison for grand theft in 2014. A check of Broward County court records says his only brush with the law in Broward since then was a traffic ticket for failure to obey a traffic control device.

According to his police report, Cabrera told a detective after being read his rights that he left because he didn’t want to go to jail. He said he and his fiance were doing heroine and cocaine in the car before the officer woke him up, according the report.

“The Defendant displayed a clear intent by his actions to take the life of [Officer] Cusack who was in full uniform, operating a marked police unit, while attempting to flee from officers,” the detective wrote.