Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Little Thugs

It's 7:45 PM. The family has finished dinner and it's now dark outside. There's a loud and insistent banging on the front door. For a moment it flashes through your head that a neighbour is in need of help. Perhaps there's a cop on your front door for some unknown reason. Then there's a moment of clarity and you know who's there, before you even turn on the porch light and open the door. It is yet another small thug from the Census Bureau.

After having ignored their mailings and told them in their previous 3 visits that you have no intention nor desire to participate in their American Community Survey (.pdf) they have sent someone who is abrasive, loud and attempting to be forceful. What's a body to do? Sure, you could take the suggestions of some folks and get a pack of security Dobermans, but that's not likely to occur. You can continue to say no to people who obviously do not comprehend that no means no. It's certainly a conundrum and one I do not envy anyone else.

Why would anyone resist answering the questions on this "survey"? It's not like the Census Bureau has lost numerous laptops with confidential information, right? And what about the questions? Doesn't the government have a right to know if you have toilets? Or how many vehicles you have? How much you paid for your home? How much you spend on utilities? How much you make and whether or not you're depressed? What about how much you pay to insure your home? Doesn't the Census Bureau have a right to that information? They seem to think so.
"Representation and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers ... . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."

-- Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States

Here you have it. The so-called Supreme Law of the Land in these United States where a census is concerned. A census is for the purposes of apportionment of taxes and representational government. No more. No less. And yet....what we are graced with in the American Community Survey is no less than the single most intrusive questionnaire I have ever seen, short of a psych test. All for the purposes of reapportioning wealth as far as I can tell. The entire practice is odious in the extreme for those who care to look. This thing has nothing to do with redrawing Congressional districts to insure equal representation, it is purely about social engineering and data mining; a purpose for which there is no Constitutional intent implied.

There are implied threats and coercion involved as well. Monetary fines for each question you refuse to answer. Greater fines for each answer which is "wrong", (monkey wrenchers take note) and a couple of granddaddy fines should they choose to levy them, (you should keep your fingers crossed on that one, folks). So what are you to do when they come knocking? You can just keep saying no and keep hoping they'll go away, ( as a certain blogger is currently doing) or you can surrender to them and allow them the information they desire. It's up to you.

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KipEsquire said...

To me, "enumeration" means just that -- so go ahead, enumerate me.

Which to me means, "I am me, and I live here." End of enumeration.

They can pry the all other information from my cold, dead wallet.

Kirsten said...

I think that each time they come around you should barrage them with personal questions, record their data, and then send them on their merry way.

jeff said...

I object to the census as well. I decided to use the characters in "The Life of Riley", a sitcom from the 50s. A little trip down memory lane and I filled in all the blanks on the form. If you can't beat 'em at least dick around with 'em.
I've bookmarked your blog.