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Trading social credit

Pro-lifers reset the U.S. abortion debate, while Chinese Communists and the College Board punish disfavored citizens and students

Trading social credit

Pro-life protesters rally near a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia on May 10. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Congratulations to the legislatures and governors of Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and other states. Congratulations to Donald Trump, who has surprisingly spoken with clarity about what the left would obfuscate: He said accurately that a baby now can be “ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.” The uneasiness of the left about new personhood and heartbeat laws is evident in the mid-May reactions of two New Yorkers: the wise guy named Stephen Colbert, and the newspaper that some readers consider the wisest, The New York Times

Colbert last year told an interviewer that on one of his nervous days he flipped through a gift Bible and read Matthew 6:27, which asks, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Colbert said he immediately read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and returned to his childhood Catholicism. 

Sadly, Colbert apparently did not back up three verses to Matthew 6:24, which notes, “No one can serve two masters, for … he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Colbert had to decide on May 15 whom he would serve: A liberal audience looking for yucks, or the truth (scientific and Biblical) that the preborn child is a human being.

Colbert on May 15 chose worldly popularity in a seven-minute run of bad jokes I won’t repeat here: They’re all over the internet. The audience laughed and Colbert smirked, but did I imagine that both were nervous? I disagree theologically with Roman Catholicism but respect Catholics, and you have to hope that Colbert knows better and is better than he showed. “You’re gonna have to serve somebody,” the Bible teaches and Bob Dylan sang. 

Many reporters now serve false gods. Many have a simple job description—bury information the left doesn’t want us to have—but New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters acknowledged that the blackout is not succeeding: “With grisly claims that Democrats promote ‘birth day abortions’ and are ‘the party of death,’ the Republican Party and its conservative allies have aggressively reset the terms [of the abortion debate]. … Surveys conducted for progressive groups in recent weeks found that more than half of Americans were aware of [Trump’s] ‘infanticide’ claims.”

Astoundingly, Peters gave the last word—I can’t remember the last time the Times did this—to a pro-life woman, Charmaine Yoest: “Democratic politicians constantly misunderstand the disconnect between their position and where the American people are. … People want abortion restrictions. … And the more you reveal about the other side’s extremism, the more people say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t support that.’”

While American media were giving pro-lifers more attention, Global Times, one of China’s government-run newspapers, was calling 13.5 million Chinese “untrustworthy.” Now, everything from not paying city fines, to changing jobs with “malicious intent,” to worshipping God rather than the Communist Party, can leave Chinese citizens with low “social credit” scores and unable to buy a high-speed rail or airplane ticket. Those with low scores must have ringtones on their phones that warn others a deplorable is in their midst. The eventual goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

Andreas Landwehr/DPA/Picture-alliance/Newscom

Names of citizens who have a high “social credit” score are depicted on a board in Rongcheng, China. (Andreas Landwehr/DPA/Picture-alliance/Newscom)

Back in the USA, the College Board announced it will assign each student who takes the SAT an “adversity score” calculated on the basis of 15 factors including housing prices and single-parent frequency in a student’s high school and neighborhood. The adversity scores will be based on group identity rather than individual situations: Students won’t be told their scores, but college admission officers will. 

China’s social scores and the College Board’s adversity scores are different, but they both try to quantify qualities. In China, the malignant goal is to punish people who practice “uncivilized behavior.” In America the attempt is benevolent but the instrument is blunt: One high school may draw from many different areas, and students may come from loving or cruel homes. 

Of course, lots of students will be better off if they don’t go through the university propaganda courses that are typical on both sides of the Pacific. In this college commencement season, it’s worth looking at online syllabi such as the one for Chad Shomura’s course on “American Political Thought” at the University of Colorado Denver. You won’t find anything from James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, or modern political theorists other than those on the radical left. You will find a promise to have class discussion about “big issues and tough questions” but on the same page a vow that “homophobic,” “colonialist,” and other points of view “lack intellectual merit and have no place in class.”

And some merry month of May good news: The leftist Salon.com, which 20 years ago had a valuation of $107 million, is now on sale for $5 million. The number of euthanasia cases in the killing zone pioneer, the Netherlands, dropped for the first time since 2006: The 7 percent decline (from 6,685 in 2017 to 6,126 in 2018) still meant 4 percent of all Dutch fatalities last year were supposedly “happy deaths.”

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

  • CLARKE MCINTOSH
    Posted: Thu, 05/23/2019 07:22 am

    Scaremongering seems to be the favorite term of the left.  When legalizing abortion was first  being considered, opponents (now Pro-life) warned that abortion would be a primary means of birth control and used for sex-selection, but they were labelled scaremongerers.  The left does not want to hear or consider any warnings, but they want to be able to slander all conservative thought as primitive.  "When will they ever learn?"