Questions on your Census Form

Written by Michael Badnarik

My census form arrived today in an envelope emblazoned with a bold warning: YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW I seriously doubt that it is. Article I, Section 2, clause 3 states, “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.” The federal census is mandated by the Constitution so the number of House representatives and direct taxes for each state can be mathematically calculated. There is no Constitutional requirement for people to respond to the census questionaire. If there are statutes that mandate a response, I would argue that free and independent people cannot be compelled to participate against their will – especially when the government making those demands is egregiously guilty of violating their Constitutional restrictions.

One of the things I noticed about my census form was a light blue box in the top of the left column. The box includes several short paragraphs of instruction, and the first census question. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? The answer box instructs you to enter the “number of people”. All of the other questions are outside this blue area. I suspect that this is somehow connected to the fact that this is the only question the government is allowed to ask in order to fulfill its Constitutional mandate.

The second question is downright insulting. Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1. Is it just me, or is our government accusing us of lying, or being stupid, or both? The remaining questions appear to be rather innocuous, asking for phone number, name, age, and ethnic origins. These questions are so simple that even a caveman could fill it out. (Do I apologize to Geico or cavemen?) Many people will undoubtedly argue, “I have nothing to hide, so why shouldn’t I provide these answers” The question remains – why does the government feel it needs this information? I’ve learned to be very suspicious of anything the government does to “help me”, so I plan to answer only Question 1.

However, the best reason I can think of for limiting your response to the number of people living with you is to demonstrate our willingness to resist our government’s abuse of power. Very few people are willing to take up arms against the government at this time (although that number is certainly growing). Only a few more are willing to tear up their IRS 1040 form without sending it in, and the number of demonstrators at protest rallies is still an insignificant percentage of the population. But this! This is a form of protest that almost everyone can (and should) participate in. This is peaceful, passive resistance in it’s purest form – not to mention that it caters to our tendency to procrastinate. Keeping in mind that except for one notable exception, none of our members of Congress truly represent us anymore anyway, so there really isn’t much justification for wasting the time to fill out this population survey.

If you’re still not disgusted enough to join this protest on principle, perhaps the instructions on the back page will push you over the edge. The government offers a toll-free number “If you need help completing this form”. I got your form! Right here!

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