Some people say things there others don't like!

People who violate social norms should indeed be cut off from the bounty of civilisation that government provides us with, shouldn’t they? We have, for example, a determined effort to insist that those who manage their tax bill within the law should be denied the opportunity to bid for public contracts. No doubt there are some who would insist that those running a personal services company – as long as they weren’t anything useful like a progressive campaigner on matters tax – should wear a Scarlet T.

But why be so limited in our ambition? Why not go out and nationalise Facebook so that we can truly gain the information to do this properly?

It sounds like the plot line from an episode of Black Mirror set in a dystopian future, but China’s “social credit” system has already seen over 12 million people slapped with domestic travel bans as punishment for bad behaviour.

Nine million Chinese have been banned from buying domestic flights, and three million more from buying business class tickets in early trials of the scheme, under which citizens are rated on their compliance with social norms and rules.

Behaviour that triggered the bans varied from obstructing footpaths with electric bikes to failing to pay fines.

Zhang Yong, deputy director of the China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said the trials were taking place across China’s provinces over the next two years.

The social credit system is based on the government’s phrase “once untrustworthy, always restricted”, and is set to be tested further on the country’s train system from May 1, it was announced last week.

No, really, why not? Those even suspected of BadThink could be cut off from that teat of beneficience from the State. And serve them jolly well right too:

Heavy state regulation of Facebook would be to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century, when governments really did try to control the social milieu. As Anne Applebaum points out in Iron Curtain, the first thing every Soviet imposed government in Eastern Europe did was to make sure that all corners of society were state controlled. The local equivalents of the Womens’ Institute, the chess and jazz clubs, swimming teams and simply every expression of civil society were brought under the control of the state and Party bureaucracy. People were actually sent to jail for continuing to run Scout troops.

Mason, along with far too much of the British Left, is pretty relaxed about repeating Soviet mistakes, but there’s no reason why the rest of us have to go along with it.

Fascism was, of course, only one flavour of 20th century totalitarianism. But in more colloquial terms we would call this sort of attempted control of the populace that fascism. In the modern world it’s not necessary to have block captains and a network of informers. Instead just nationalise Facebook and gain access to all that most private information.

Which is, of course, the argument against that very nationalisation some propose. Sure, maybe we’re not all that happy with a capitalist company having access but at least they’ll only use it to make money. Let the State get its mitts on it and it’ll try to use it to make us all better. A vastly more worrisome, fearsome, thought. The correct argument against the nationalisation of Facebook and our data is that we simply don’t want the State to have that sort of power over us.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The younger generation are so besotted with the notion that ‘not for profits’ are admirable and better than ‘big business’ that, coupled with lefty white washing of socialist history in schools, they actually believe that Facebook et al would be safer under a Government controlled quango. Most have never heard of Orwell, and most think 1984 was just a year in which flares and platform shoes were still in fashion.

    • History hasn’t been taught in schools for a couple of decades. Students get the Tudors and Hitler and that’s it. A friend’s nephew who was heading off to study history at a Russell Group university happened to be present when someone mentioned Charles I’s execution. He’d never heard of it.

    • They get it from their parents.

      When Camelot was awarded the national lottery there was hell on because they beat Virgin who were going to set up as a non-profit. It didn’t matter that Camelot promised to raise more for the good causes everyone declared deserved the money, which was why the lottery was set up.

      I had some surreal conversations at the time with supposedly sensible people which usually ended up along the lines of Camelot … evil capitalists …. making a profit … *spit* …. *spit*, as if that won the argument..

  2. Since Facebook is not just used for networks within one country, difficult to see how it could be nationalised anyway. It would require every country to do this at once which isn’t going to happen.

  3. Mockney twat Elton was one of the first symptoms of the rise of CM in this country

    We need to be hacking the shit out of this latest Chicom outrage. Fix it so Xe and his scumbag crew suddenly find themselves zero-rated.

    COMPUTER SAYS NO.!!!

  4. The state does not need to nationalise Facebook. Social media already co-operates with the police in handing over details of users if they do anything like say Enoch Powell was right.

    The Chinese have a formal number system. But Britain is not really that far behind.

    https://pushingrubberdownhill.com/2018/03/23/friday-hawt-chicks-links-the-big-government-edition/

    https://twitchy.com/sarahd-313035/2018/03/21/straight-outta-orwell-scotland-polices-new-campaign-is-simply-terrifying/

    Remember the police do not need to convict someone to ruin their life. The question you get asked is if you have been charged with a crime.

  5. To expand on what SMFS says, the likes of Google, Facebook, etc. have been working hand-in-glove with the Chinese government for years, helping them restrict what their citizens can see and share online. Now they’ve come back to the west and are helping our own governments do exactly the same. This should have been stopped the moment they started cooperating with the PRC government.

  6. The US (thinking ourselves better than the Chinese in our heritage of individual rights) already has a “no-fly list,” where name mix-ups ensnare US Senators, and it is the official position of one party that one’s appearance on that bureaucratic list should instantly nullify some Constitutional rights. Digital Rights Management, despite its benign initial use merely controlling access to someone’s property, always meant using servers to impose prior restraint on routine personal conduct. Now we have lifetime branding for certain offenses where someone thinks future offenses are a certainty. Department of Pre-Crime.

  7. A liberal, as the term is commonly used today, is someone who believes that government ought to be bigger and so by definition believes that there are some people (we can call them politicians and bureaucrats) who should make more of life’s decisions and that the rest of the population should make fewer. So, they do indeed support the idea of government trying to make us better. For easier identification, those who fail to stay within the norms could simply be compelled to wear a big red W (for wanker, of course) so that they could be readily recognized.

  8. @Felipe Grey, March 27, 2018 at 6:52 am
    “The [Left, SJW and] younger generation are so besotted with the notion that ‘not for profits’ are admirable and better than ‘big business’ “

    True. Argument I use against NFPs is:

    End of year, NFP firm has made a profit. Directors have a meeting to discuss: Bonus for us/staff or credit to customer accounts?

    Every NFP supporter, if they answer, “reluctantly” agrees former would happen.

  9. I put a video on FB of me shooting guns in Manila along with the quote: “Enjoying myself in a free country”. Since then every time I make a post I get a message saying “Your post is being uploaded, we will send you a message when it’s done” ( or something along those lines) and then it takes about 30 minutes to be uploaded.

    I wonder if the gun video has me flagged as a potential nutter and I’m being moderated.