I have advocated individuals, as a peaceful means of civil disobedience in our increasingly State regulated society, to refuse to participate in Census 2010. Here, here, here, here, and most recently here, and I will continue to do so on these pages, and when I am in groups of people socially.
Wendy McElroy has penned a well written column, posted at The Freeman, enumerating reasons why individuals should refuse to participate in Census 2010, providing some history of the census, how the data collected by the census has been abused, and then ends her column with a personal anecdote. The op-ed is titled The Census: Vehicle for Social Engineering, and it ends this way.
Several years ago I discussed the Canadian census with a neighbor after she had signed up to be a census taker. Like many rural women, she is proudly independent and openly suspicious of authority, especially of government “suits” and bean-counters. I asked what she would do if a neighbor refused to answer her questions. “I’d report them to my boss,” she replied without hesitation. When I frowned in disapproval, she indignantly protested against people who refused to pull their weight in the community by answering “some simple questions.”
Note the political sleight-of-hand. My neighbor would never trespass on my property or steal vegetables from my garden. But she would turn me in to the authorities for not answering questions. Instead of the “natural harmony of interests” that comes from all people minding their own business, the census establishes a situation in which everyone is encouraged to police everyone else at the behest of the State; indeed, many are paid to do so.
The census in a welfare state, then, creates a dynamic in which the exercise of one person’s rights ostensibly damages the interests others. It thus has become a powerful symbol of social control over civil society.