Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fighting the Census

Jesus, talk about tilting at windmills. Evey ten years the US Government conducts a census in which they ask a few questions of everybody living here. It's done strictly to compile a demographic snapshot of the nation, which then feeds such things as representational allocations in Congress, appropriate shares of those important federal trickledown dollars to the states, etc.

And it's not like this information isn't already available from a number of other sources. No one is asking anyone to give up "secrets" that aren't already out in the public domain in a database somewhere.

But that doesn't stop the teaparty hangers-on and revolutionary-wanna-bes from fighting it. No, it's an invasion of "privacy" and they don't want "the government" to ask them "personal" questions.

Here's a typical take on this phenomenon, a video sent to me by my brother-in-law. Some old fucker named Jerry Day goes into full-monty rant about the census.

Listening to this guy reminds me of listening to those guys who say that all you have to do to avoid paying income tax is to ask the IRS to show you where in the constitution it allows them to collect it... The federal prisons are loaded with those guys.

This is a losing battle. It comes up every ten years and all those "personal" questions? If history is a guide, traditionally only about 10% of the Census forms ask the additional questions. Nobody comes to your door unless you are being an asshole about it, like this guy refusing to send back his form.

In short, as I say, "the government" already has, in various forms, pretty much all of this "personal" information already. This resistance to the census is just another byproduct of the typical Glenn Beck follower mindset, and I say good on 'em. The US Government uses the census data to apportion congressional representation, dole out federal revenue sharing dollars, etc., and since I would guess that the majority of the people who refuse to cooperate live in states that typically vote Rethug, they won't get any of that money.

Good. I don't want my tax dollars going to a bunch of knuckle-dragging mouthbreathers who aren't smart enough to shut their pie holes when it's raining.


John said...

I received my US Census form yesterday. I answered the ten questions for myself and my wife, and dropped the form into the US Mail within an hour!

Anonymous said...

I'd fill it out if they didn't ask my name or my race. Neither one is relevant in a colorblind society. Until they stop asking, in the garbage it goes.

Farnsworth68 said...

Anon, do you truly believe that we live in a "colorblind" society? Ah, I wish that we did, and then we could forgo those "race-based" categories, but until then I think we need them, if only to "keep score". For example, how would we know if a government program set up to assist poor Hispanic children, for example, was working? Yeah I know, in that ideal society, poor Hispanic children would get an equal shot from the get-go... But they don't, and there are numerous other examples. You don't want to count race, go to France. They are experiencing enormous social problems with their Muslim population since they don't count ethnicity or religion in their census enumerations.

Anonymous said...

I believe anon's point is that if we continue to point out our differences, we will never be a colorblind society. It is no one's business what my race or religion is. France's problems do not stem from their census. That is a ridiculous suggestion. Long ago France rid their country of religious ties. You are allowed to practice what you believe as long as you aren't forcing your ideas on anyone else. The muslim problem you are referring to is about safety. The burkas these women are wearing are extremely obstructive (with only a few centimeters of clearance) and France has banned women from wearing them while driving. Sounds like a reasonable saftey issue to me.

Farnsworth68 said...

Anon, where did I say that France's problems came from their census? I was commenting on the fact that if you don't count a group of individuals, then you can't "keep score" when it comes to providing them services. The Arab population in France is demanding that they are not getting their "fair share" of the French society, and without some way of tracking that, you can't defend yourself and prove that you are, or conversely, say something to the effect of "sacre bleu, vous avez raison"