There is a system of political economy in China known as social credits where one receives merit and demerit for actions deemed as socially worthwhile or not. This social credit system has an influence on how one can live one’s life, as those whose actions are deemed to be unacceptable can face serious difficulties in finding jobs or obtaining housing and other related matters. We might consider this to be not too different from our background checks, but with a bit more of the coercive power of the state behind it. Given China’s power as a nation, it is perhaps unsurprising that the mentality that earns one social credits has found its way subtly affecting life in the United States as well. As China has poured its money into institutions, those institutions have had to bend with the wind to respond to China’s sensitivities and to parrot their hypocrisies. What causes trouble, obviously, is when those who are seeking in some fashion to earn social credit with China are confronted by those who have no interest in disguising the evil of China’s social system.
It is, of course, obvious that China has a lot of skeletons in its closet. Whether one looks at the attempts that China has to wipe out certain minority cultures and identities in areas like East Turkistan, or looks at the brutal occupation of Tibet or the cruelty of China’s misrule in Hong Kong, or the persecution of Christians and the Falun Gong, or the brutalities of the one child policy or the horrors of the cultural revolution or the present reality of slave labor and the bodies of convicts and slaves being plasticized for fun and profit, China has done and is doing a lot of evil in the world. And that is not even getting into Chinese harm to its environment or its neocolonial relationship with Africa and other nations from whom it desires raw materials for its own development. Suffice it to say that as an empire China shows as harsh a view of the worst of European empires. The difference, of course, is that European empires are no longer powerful and it is therefore safe to condemn them while China is powerful now and has made it clear that it does not accept or respond to criticism, and therefore it will only be safe to critique China after its empire has been taken away from it in some fashion.
Needless to say, I am sure I have a poor social credit rating with China, and that does not bother me. Speaking unpleasant and unpopular truths is often its own reward, and when this is done in such a fashion as it demonstrates the way in which powerful societies seek to deny the injustices on which they are based without being unrighteous in any way, it can have powerful results in history. One thing that our generation does not realize is that all things will pass, and the current Chinese assertiveness worldwide will end in tears and some sort of palace coup as it inevitably does when its system has become too corrupt and involvement with the outside world is not nearly profitable enough and the inevitable inward looking and struggling with internal difficulties that one can already see at least in part. As empires tend to formed in violence against others, it is little surprise that they only last as long as there is coercive power to maintain them, and when the will to suppress the desire of people to be free of such restraint has faded and when things return to a period of relative chaos and anarchy until some other elite has the energy to try to put the lid on that chaos and confusion for a while to repeat the cycle all over again.
It should be noted, though, that this is not only the case for China. In our own society it appears very clear that we are in a stage of increasing anarchy and that the forces of law and order and those who would defend law and order are at a particularly weak point. This obviously presents both danger and opportunity. While it is a danger in the sense that it provides threats of random acts of violence it provides the opportunity to establish a new birth of freedom that is founded on more secure principles than those which have obviously failed in not stopping the crisis that we have found ourselves in. In such a time it may remain dangerous in some places and in some matters for a considerable period of time, with an uncertain path as to how such things are to be resolved and what kind of order is to be created. Our nation has been fortunate so far in having a generally just order (if not for everyone at all times, but certainly better than the world standard for most people at most times), but such good fortune could easily end and we would be left waxing nostalgic if we are alive at all.