Finally, scrolling down the comments page of a politically oriented video storage site, she found something that looked familiar:
“Doesn’t anybody get it? They’re everywhere, running the government, reading our minds! It all has to stop, for the sake of the children!”
But below that was, printed in bright red:
“NOTE: Poster is an adult Type Two citizen.”
Thinking about it, she’d seen that before, over the past few weeks’ browsing of the Umerian national networks. Usually on highly opinionated and fairly incoherent material. It was like the Umerians were making these people wear a sign around their neck saying: “Danger! I am an immature idiot!”
I'd like to know more about how that system works. Are, ah, irrational
people required to be registered in the Technocracy?
How are they detected and forced to be registered?
Does that registration force explanatory text to be appended whenever they write something to the datasphere?
I believe Umerian citizenship works something like "Idiot until proven otherwise", and their intrusive Big Brother network monitoring ensures such nice tags are added everywhere you post
Simon described the various citizenship tiers earlier.
That's essentially accurate, though it's a bit more complicated than that.
Umerian babies are born with Type One citizenship, which gives identification, basic human rights, and so forth. There are also protections specific
to Type One citizens, who are by definition incapable of taking care of themselves in any capacity. The only adult Type Ones are people who suffer from some incapacitating mental problem that prevents them from participating in society.
Type Two citizenship is routinely handed out to all children as they go through adolescence, with gradually increasing privileges and expanded rights as the citizen passes through the teenage years. Type Twos are capable of functioning in society in limited roles, but are not deemed fit to make all their own decisions without a keeper. The majority of Type Twos are teenagers, and in that case the keeper is their parents or (for wards of the state) the state.
You get Type Three citizenship by passing a battery of psychological tests and educational requirements designed to determine that you are, in fact, capable of functioning in society as a responsible adult
, who no longer needs someone peeking over your shoulder to make sure you aren't playing with matches.
If someone passes some arbitrary age (say, twenty) without passing the Type Threes, they are classed as an "adult Type Two." For whatever reason, an adult Type Two is deemed incapable of fending for themselves as a 'real' adult, even to the relatively low standards expected of, say, 22-year-old Type Threes. Either they have some mental health problem that cannot be cracked with medication, or they are chronic failures in the state "social functioning" curriculum, or something along those lines.
Typical problems that can cause an Adult Type Two designation are a lack of social intelligence so profound that it makes it impossible for the subject to get through daily life without a keeper, severe lack of responsibility, severe innumeracy or illiteracy, and so on. Adult Type Twos are legally equivalent to emancipated minors: state employees from MiniWell check in on them on a regular basis, and they need government approval to enter into certain kinds of major contracts and the like.
Only a small minority of the Umerian population are adult Type Twos, and it is an extremely embarrassing status to be in. Adult Type Twos have specially marked ID and, as you've seen, computer log-ins. And political commentary forums in Umeria have a lot of monitoring software (generally more for opinion polling purposes than for oppression; it is very very hard to get arrested for sedition in Umeria). So they come with automatic filters that identify adult Type Twos. As Dr. Susie noted, this is basically equivalent to forcing them to wear a sign around their necks saying "Danger: I am an immature idiot!" whenver speaking about 'grown up' subjects such as domestic policy.
And if this strikes you as humiliating and probably a human rights violation, it is. In my opinion, it's a predictable outcome of the kind of society the Technocracy grew out of: a systematic society-wide effort to "force" certain individuals to grow up by making it publically known that they are officially a village idiot.
Personally, I doubt it works very well.
But basically, you become a Designated Idiot in Umeria by being the equivalent of a high school dropout in a First World country: someone who has failed to meet basic requirements for education and/or psychological soundness that all full adults in the society are expected to meet.