Stella Morabito explains in a Federalist column why a proposal on Capitol Hill would move American policy closer to that of communist China.

Over the past decade, China has developed a means of extorting conformity and compliance by ranking and sorting its 1.3 billion citizens into two main categories: the compliant, who are materially and socially rewarded, versus the less conforming, who are materially and socially punished.

Social control is the obvious aim of China’s social credit system. If the state says you “loitered” in some public place, you lose points. That could mean losing access to good housing, employment, transportation, and more.

In 2020, China plans for the system to go fully operational with scores on every citizen. …

… Is there any means by which a social credit system might become centralized in the United States? The First Amendment remains a sticking point. But one key may lie in the possibility of Congress enacting the so-called Equality Act.

If we want to preserve free expression, we need to understand two things deeply embedded in the nature of a free society. First off, there can be no free society if the government coerces people to conform to an idea generally viewed as farfetched. That’s like dictating reality, a hallmark of totalitarian systems. Second, any law that threatens social and material punishment for such non-conformity of thought lays the groundwork for a social credit system.

The “Equality” Act, which the House of Representatives passed in May and is now before the Senate, would be just such a law. In a nutshell, it tells all Americans that they must reject the reality of sex distinctions if they are to avoid social and material punishment.