Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Civil Disobedience, 2010

I have decided to engage in an act of civil disobedience, and refuse to participate in the 2010 United States Census. My packet came in the mail yesterday, and I sat down to fill it in and return it. But when I opened it, I saw the message from the Director of the Census Bureau.
We need your help to count everyone in the United States by providing basic information about all the people living in this house or apartment.

...

Your answers are important. Census results are used to decide the number of representatives each state has in the U.S. Congress. The amount of government money your neighborhood receives also depends on these answers. That money is used for services for children and the elderly, roads, and many other local needs.
Well, they don't need a name or phone number to count me. They don't need an age or birth date to count me. They certainly don't need a race to count me, and I won't answer that question just on general principles - the government shouldn't be making race-based decisions, and I won't give them the information to make 'em. I recognize the constitutional requirement for a decennial enumeration, and am willing to participate in a head count, but not race-based policy making.

I don't much like the last bit in the next paragraph, either. I'm not happy about the idea of sending tax dollars to Washington for them to send back for roads and schools. Either a) we're getting back fewer dollars than we send, or b) we're getting dollars that someone else sent and aren't getting back. My community is robbing from someone else's or someone else's is robbing from mine, with Washington siphoning off a goodly portion in the middle. Either way, I don't want Washington involved in paying for local schools and roads. I think it's a bad idea.

But the thing that has me shredding the form is this: "Census results are used to decide the number of representatives each state has in the U.S. Congress." There hasn't been a single member of the Masschusetts Congressional Delegation in the last twenty years who hasn't been a blight on the body politic. The United States Congress would be a much better institution without ANY Representatives from Massachusetts, unless and until something radically changes in the Massachusetts electorate1.

So my suggestion to my fellow conservatives in Massachusetts (and New York and New Jersey and California) is this - don't return the census form. Stick the envelope in the shredder. Let's see if we can't reapportion one or two of the current crop of miscreants out of the national legislature. I don't know where that seat or seats will end up moving, but I know it won't be any worse...







1 - The Scott Brown thing was marvelous. It was also a spectacular fluke, a historic convergence of circumstance. There's no reason to expect the voters of Massachusetts to send anyone to the US House of Representatives that the country wouldn't be better off without.

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