Attack the Argument, Not the Author

Dear Editors:
Since the publication of my article, “Why I’m Terrified to Live in China,” in the last issue of The Record, I have had several opportunities to engage in dialogue with people of differing viewpoints. The Record gave me the opportunity to present my opinion regarding the social credit system in China.
The inherent issue with the social credit system lies in two key aspects. First, the encroachment on privacy and violations of liberty under the system. Second, the concept of mandated morality, in which the government determines what is wrong and what is right.
Regardless of nationality or cultural upbringing, the right to live without fear for one’s safety is something we can all agree on. In some people’s opinion, the social credit system encourages safe behavior, but I fear that it will be used as a tool to further restrict people’s lives. Similarly, legislated morality of any kind should be kept to a bare minimum due to the ability to abuse such a loose definition of what is and isn’t “moral.”
Some of my peers argued against the substance of the article. I am happy to engage in dialogue of this kind. However, many criticisms brought against my article were directed against me as a person.
Some people have questioned my ability to write about the social credit system because of my American citizenship. According to them, my American nationality disqualified me from writing about the system, as I wasn’t directly affected by, as expats aren’t assigned social credit scores. That is incorrect – I am affected by this. Almost all of my family members, direct and extended, hold Chinese citizenship. They currently have social credit scores, which were assigned by the government.
Additionally, not being a part of a group that is affected by an event doesn’t mean you lose the ability to contribute your opinion. We should encourage discussion and discourse. Limiting those who can participate will only harm everyone’s understanding.

Royce Shey ’21
Staff Writer