April 29, 2019 (American Thinker) — I had the opportunity to see the movie The Invisibles, a German-made film depicting the real life stories of four Holocaust-survivors who disguised their true Jewish identities in wartime Berlin and were able to escape deportation to concentration camps and certain death. In 1943, Joseph Goebbels declared that Berlin was finally rid of the Jews. The facts were that 7,000 Jews continued to live in the city, and by the end of the war, a total of 1,500 had survived with the assistance of a select group of anti-Nazi citizens, devout Christians, and devoted communists. The movie is based on the true stories of four of these individuals and mixes re-enactment of their harrowing individual stories with real-life interviews of all four of these survivors to add authenticity to the narrative.
There was much to learn while watching the various episodes and stories of the four survivors, especially when they came to directly encounter the German authorities. What I noted was how highly organized the Nazi government officials depicted in the movie were and how they had access to comprehensive records on every citizen they interacted with. The Nazis were excellent at keeping records as a means of maintaining widespread total control over their population.
Index cards containing extensive personal information of each of the four main characters and other people who attempted to assist them were readily available and used by the German officials at any time in the movie in a threatening way when interacting with any of them. Information was controlled in this highly powerful and evil totalitarian state simply by a system based on pen and paper, with the assistance of a virtual army of loyal and highly motivated bureaucrats. How much more tragic would this this era have been if the Nazis had access to computers, the internet, mobile communications, search engines, and social media?
In our times, the government of the People's Republic of China under the increasingly totalitarian rule of Xi Jinping does. President Xi Jinping is leading a long-term movement of enhancing the control of the Chinese Communist Party over every aspect of China's society, from politics to business, and even more alarmingly by establishing a high degree of social control over the personal lives of its citizens. The difference today is that the Chinese state security system is enhancing the ability to maintain social control through the use of the latest in 21st-century technology.
China's digital totalitarian experiment that is currently actively under development since 2010 is called the Social Credit System. Its objective is to use the latest technology to constantly monitor individuals for the purposes of social management. It is based on the idea that an individual must be socially trustworthy to remain a citizen in good standing in China, and every citizen is subject to rewards and punishment administered by the state for compliance or non-compliance.
On a daily basis, Chinese government agencies and private companies are collecting information via electronic means on various networks and their versions of social media on every aspect of people's lives, including finances, social media activities, taxes paid, purchases made online, and records of a person's interactions with others.
A lower social credit score can negatively influence a citizen's life in various ways such as limiting his ability to purchase certain premium goods, buy a new home, work at certain jobs, qualify for various loans, buy tickets to travel, or attend sought after schools. The system is morphing into totalitarianism on steroids.
Socialism seems to have a greater degree of appeal to certain segments of our society, including many potential Democratic Party voters and younger voters such as Millennials. So far, all the announced presidential candidates for the 2020 election on the Democratic side are moving politically leftward in their pronounced policy positions. Today, the potential for all of this goes well beyond the standard Democratic Party policy agenda based on the Utopian fantasies of free everything for everybody.
It is inevitable as a socialist agenda in this country is started to be implemented it will evolve over time and morph into something increasingly more draconian in nature. The Democratic candidates' proposals ultimately involve controlling the behavior of individuals for the social good to be defined by a growing administrative state and unelected bureaucrats based in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere with the power to curb any dissent and unauthorized behavior. The emerging world of technological innovation and social media provides powerful tools to assume absolute power over time.
As demonstrated by the Nazi Regime and the Chinese communist examples, Big Government requires the collection and use of Big Data. Socialism requires extensive record-keeping in order to implement its far-reaching agenda that extends the scope of government and its reach toward the extensive regulation of the lives of all citizens.
While today the Chinese government and its Communist Party are actively working on creating an absolute monopoly on access to personal information in their country, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other social media companies are attempting to do the same here in America.
As Google, Amazon, and Facebook grow in power and reach ever larger numbers of users in America and globally, they have become increasingly active in the political arena. A major issue with this growing phenomenon is that these dominant and most influential of the social media companies tend to aggressively promote a predominantly left-leaning political point of view on a daily basis in various ways, and they are alleged by many critics to suppress politically conservative individuals and viewpoints.
As we approach the 2020 elections, will Americans voluntarily surrender our freedom by choosing to vote for increasingly left-leaning Democrat candidates who will promise to lead us down the path of socialism and to implement a political system that proposes to regulate and judge the social responsibility of each of its citizens? It must be repeated that Adolf Hitler was elected by the German people in the 1930s to a position where he could eventually assume absolute power and implement his plan for a totalitarian state.
Will we vote in 2020 for an American future that will one day allow the possibility for a person to go online to read his favorite magazines, bloggers, books; watch his preferred TV shows and movies; make travel plans; interact with certain people — and, by his actions and choices, be subject to a long prison sentence or worse?
Published with permission from the American Thinker.