Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Senseless Census

In my mail yesterday was a less than delightful little gift from our out-of-control government's Census Bureau. Was it the census form? Nope. It was merely a one page letter informing our household that a census form would be coming by mail in a week, encouraging us to comply. Needless to say, I was a little angered.

I am no fan of the modern census. The US Constitution in Article 1 Section 2 calls for a counting of heads every 10 year to determine representation in the House. That is the end of it's legitimacy. Anything beyond that duty is a violation of the rights of our citizens.

Sadly, the modern census asks questions related to race, religion, income, water usage, jail visits and a whole host of other things depending on whether you are cursed with either the "short" or "long" form. The short one is bad enough; I couldn't imagine what evil lurks in the long version.

Of course, our government claims we have no reason to fear as our information will remain confidential and in no way will be used against us. Just tell that to the long line of poor saps who have bought that bill of goods in the past. Tell it to the Japanese-Americans ratted out by the Census Bureau during WWII. Or tell the FBI who has used the information obtained through the census numerous times. The list goes on and on regarding the violation of privacy and the tyrannous acts carried out using census data. But never mind that because the Census Bureau wants you to take comfort in knowing every one of their employees takes an oath not to compromise your information. Considering that all government employees and elected official swear an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution, please forgive me if my faith in their oaths is on shaky ground.

But the issue of private information being compromised is not the only problem we should have with the modern census. There are constitutional and philosophical matters at play as well.

Constitutionally, as I have already said, the proper role of the census is to provide a head count. When Congress goes beyond this, it is violating its just duties. It is betraying the consent of the governed, and that is a big problem. The rule of law is designed to protect us from tyranny, and we must fight its violation at all turns.

Philosophically, we see why the census has gone beyond its proper role. Rather than desiring to properly represent the people of the United States, those now conducting the census want to spread the wealth around--looting from all and spreading to some.

I quote from the mailer sent out by the Census Bureau:
Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share.  
First, where is the mention of the constitutional reason for the census? Nowhere in the mailer--and above is the bulk of the letter--is there one mention of representation. It is all about the largess of the state and getting your turn at the government trough. What shame, and what a ploy!

No where in the Constitution is even one of the above items mentioned as a rightful role of the federal government. I don't want each "community [to] get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs" because each of these should not be getting federal funds, lacking constitutional authority. Moreover, how does the government decide what we "need?" That should be the task of local communities. For, only they can truly accomplish such.

Moreover, the only way to have a "fair share" is for the government to get out of this type of central planning and provide for the protection of liberty. As F. A. Hayek eloquently showed in his Road to Serfdom, the government's attempt to create fairness only breads unfairness and injustice.

So what should be our response? We should demand constitutional government, which includes a proper census. If that is not given us, we have the right and responsibility to resist. Furthermore, educate yourself and let others know the proper role of the census.

I'll end with something I heard recently from Ron Paul in regards to the laundry list of questions the government seeks answered in the census. "From a constitutional perspective...the answer to each of these questions is: “None of your business.”


  1. What would be the legal ramifications of answering hose questions with “None of your business.”?

  2. They would keep pestering you with visits to your house. If you still refused, they would threaten with a fine. Often times they never pursue the fine.