A Social System that Inspires Pride and Shame

This story continues to fascinate me. 


China’s social credit system started in 2015. 


China scores individuals based on public data (social media, financial, insurance, health, shopping, dating, and more), and they have people that act as “information collectors” (i.e. neighborhood watchers) who record what their neighbors are doing–good and bad. 


Each individual starts with a 1,000 points. 


If you do good things in Chinese society–helping people, cleaning up, being honest–you get points added. 


If you do bad things in China–fight with people, make a mess, be dishonest–you get points deducted. 


Fail below 1,000 points and you are in trouble–and can get blacklisted!


A good score is something to be proud of and a bad score is something that shames people to hopefully change for the better. 


But more than that, your social score has tangible social impacts–it can determine your ability to get into certain schools, obtain better jobs, homes, loans/mortgages, high-speed internet, and even high-speed train tickets/airplane flights. 


While maybe well intentioned, certainly, this has the very real potential to become a surveillance state and the embodiment of “Big Brother”!


On one hand, it seems like a great thing to drive people and society to be better. Isn’t that what we do with recognizing and rewarding good behavior and with our laws and justice system in punishing bad behavior?


Yet, to me this type of all-encompassing social credit system risks too much from a freedom and privacy perspective. Should the government and all your neighbors be privy to your most intimate doings and dealings?  And should people be controlled to such an extent that literally everything you do is monitored and measured and counted for/against you?


It seems to me that the price of sacrificing your very personal liberty is too high to make in order to push people towards positive social goals.


Guiding people is one thing, and rewarding outstanding acts and punishing horrific ones is understandable, but getting into people’s knickers is another. 


This type of social credit system really borders on social control and moves us towards a very disturbing, dystopian future. 😉

Advertisements

Triad of Determinants: Nature, Nurture, and Soul

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Nature, Nurture, and Soul.”

We are not just what nature and nurture make us–but rather, there is a third leg of this triad of factors that make us who we are, and that third and most important element is that we each have a soul. The soul of each person guides us to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and sacred and impure, and to not just give in to our weaknesses, which each person has.

Hope you enjoy the article! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Striving To Be Good Enough (This Time Around)

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, “When Are We Good Enough?

I too believe strongly in reincarnation. I think that is partially what G-d means by doing justice in this world. If you bomb out in life and don’t fulfill your true potential than G-d sends you back for another try.  And this can happen as many times as it takes to get it right!

I hope I am getting it right in my life this time around. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Half Truth

So everyone is always playing with the truth. 

They don’t want people to really know the truth, but they don’t want to call it a real lie.

Hence the saying:

“It’s just a white lie!”

A white lie is usually taken as in “pure” or “righteous”–in other words, there is a good reason (like to prevent someone from getting hurt) for lying, .

Yes, sure there is (LOL).

Sometimes people lie to themselves:

“What you don’t know can’t harm you!”

Most often, people tell what they call half truths.

This is commonly referred to as:

“Beating around the bush!”

However, don’t tell anyone:

A half truth is a lie!

And just like beating around the bush arouses the birds to fly and get caught in a net–that’s what telling half truths do too. 

Why is it so hard to tell the whole truth, because that would make most people look pretty bad. 

If people only knew.

But someday, of course, they will. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Part 5 – Riverdale Sex Abuse

Please click the photo to enlarge or you can go straight to the link at the SAR website.


The summary findings from the investigation on the child sex abuse at SAR Academy found the following regarding Stanley Rosenfeld and “Rabbi” Sheldon Schwartz:

T&M uncovered the following regarding Rosenfeld’s tenure and behavior while at SAR:

  • Rosenfeld was an administrator at SAR from 1974 to 1977 and he was also employed as a teacher by the school during the 1986-87 school year. The precise circumstances of his departure and rehire remain unknown.
  • Twelve former SAR students and one non-SAR student reported that Rosenfeld sexually abused them during his time as an SAR Academy faculty member.  
  • According to two victims, Rosenfeld’s misconduct was reported to at least one member of SAR’s administration at the time of these abuses.  
  • The investigation could not conclusively determine whether the administrators involved in the rehiring of Rosenfeld were aware of the nature of the allegations at the time of his rehire.  


T&M uncovered the following regarding Rabbi Schwartz’s behavior while at SAR:

  • According to multiple victims, details of Rosenfeld’s behavior were, at the time, raised directly to Rabbi Schwartz, who not only failed to act on the information appropriately, but was also alleged to have been present at and/or to have brought students to Rosenfeld’s home for Shabbat visits during which abuse took place.
  • Separately, through the course of this investigative effort, several students came forward alleging Rabbi Schwartz had acted inappropriately with them.  

Rabbi Schwartz served as a Judaic studies teacher until he was suspended in January 2018, once allegations concerning his knowledge of Rosenfeld’s behavior were brought to the attention of SAR. His employment has since been terminated.  Current members of the SAR administration were not aware of the allegations regarding Rabbi Schwartz until the commencement of the investigation.

 

T&M’s findings and the fact that Rosenfeld appears to have worked at and abused children at multiple schools and camps in the New York area gives all of us reason to pause and consider whether we are truly doing enough to protect our children. 

 

For those of you who sincerely listened and believed the cries of the many victims, thank you.


For those of you who were complicit and even continued in the denials, I will just say to you that G-d sees all!

Justice Under The Microscope

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “We Are All Kavanaugh.”

Under the microscope of the media, political pundits, and the FBI, no one is guiltless. 


When it comes to promoting and appointing people to the highest positions of our great nations, businesses, and organizations, we need to ensure the highest integrity. 


At the same time, we need to weigh the good and the bad in people, and not hold them to a bar that no one can live up to. 


This is a difficult time for the nation where we must always protect women’s rights and also protect people from being presumed guilty.  


Let’s hope for Heaven’s guidance in ensuring a good decision for the Supreme court and the Justice System.  


(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

There is Meaning

Please read my new blog at The Times of Israel called, “Is It Really All In Vain?

On Sukkot, we read Megillat Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) about “vanity of vanities; all is vanity”–everything is temporal in this world and seems meaningless. Yet in what we perceive as meaningless, there is truly so much meaning when we understand the bigger picture of what is happening to us and perhaps why.


G-d works in mysterious ways and bad things can and do turn into good things too. 😉


(Source Photo of Photo: Andy Blumenthal)