Red China's social-credit system is coming to America

By Curtis Ellis

Guns don’t kill people, credit cards kill people.

That’s the shorter version of the New York Times’ latest attempt to sell liberal opinion as news.

Times financial columnist and CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin is at it again in his crusade to have banks and credit card companies enforce his leftist agenda.

Following the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, Sorkin opined the financial industry – not cops, courts and legislatures – could “reduce gun violence.” This echoed leftist calls to boycott businesses associated with the NRA.

Unable to pass laws to their liking, liberals turn to corporations to impose their views on the rest of us.

Bank of America and Citibank answered Sorkin’s call to diss arms and stopped lending to companies that make AR-15s. Wal-Mart and stopped selling guns to anyone under 21, and Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling “assault-style” rifles altogether.

Now, Sorkin and his liberal buddies want credit card companies to be their informers and muscle.

The Times researchers found eight mass shooters used credit cards to buy guns and ammo responsible for 217 deaths over the past 10 years. He notes accusingly, “None of the banks, credit-card network operators or payment processors alerted law enforcement officials about the purchases.”

“A labyrinth of rules prevents banks and credit-card networks … from seeing exactly what customers are buying,” he explains.

Marching forward carrying the banner “Something needs to be done,” the elite financial columnist and cable anchor says banks and credit card companies should report (legal) purchases deemed suspicious to law enforcement, the same way banks flag cash transactions over $10,000.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time (a nanosecond?) before “report suspicious purchases” morphs into “ban gun purchases.” Sorkin tips his hand when he notes PayPal and Apple Pay don’t allow the sale of guns and related items, then sniffs, “But no bank has instituted a ban or committed to tracking gun purchases.”

Before we explore where his rabbit hole leads, let’s first put things in perspective. Sorkin frames his plan to address a problem of 217 homicides in 10 years. Compare that to 492 fatal shootings this year alone just in Chicago (and another 625 shot and killed in 2016 in Chicago) and Adam Ross Sorkin looks like the drunk who lost his keys in the park but is looking for them under the streetlight because the light is so much better there. Now back to our regularly scheduled rabbit hole …

Sorkin’s scheme, stripped of its do-gooder candy coating, amounts to mass surveillance of Americans engaged in non-criminal activities.

The ACLU, never accused of being a bunch of right-wing gun nuts, believes “expecting the government to detect and prevent every mass shooting” will lead to “enormously intrusive” surveillance of Americans’ private lives.

And law enforcement, already buried under a mountain of data and tips, is not eager to now go door to door quizzing consumers on their spending habits.

Nevertheless, the calls for such surveillance have already begun. New York State Senator Kevin Parker has legislation requiring investigators to review the social media postings and online search histories of gun permit applicants. Unacceptable postings would be grounds for denial.

In Sorkin’s modest proposal we can begin to discern the outlines of a domestic version of China’s odious “social credit score” regime.

The Chinese Communist Party assigns each citizen a “social credit” score based on purchases, Internet and social media habits and even physical travels, all of which the party tracks digitally. Those who buy right (Made in China good; made in USA bad), think right (Marxism good, Christianity bad), and speak right (President Xi good, Dalai Llama bad) earn higher scores and have access to better schools, better jobs and better housing. Deplorables with lower scores can’t even board airplanes or trains.

America’s social credit system will be corporate-enforced. The tech overlords of Silicon Valley assisted by Alexa will track everything you buy, read, watch and say. Words and purchases deemed hateful or unhealthy will be verboten and duly noted for future reference when you apply for a loan, a job or college.

When China’s social credit system comes to America, it will be wrapped in Facebook and carrying a Mastercard. You won’t leave home without it.

We’re not too far from that now.

And the New York Times is cheering it on.