Friday, March 12, 2010

The Damn Congress and the Census

I don't encourage anyone to break the law. As much as I may not like a particular law, it's the law. Our actions to follow the laws of our country are, in large part, what make us free. Sounds counterintuitive, but knowing that there's a law against someone breaking your nose in the grocery store (as well as confidence that the vast majority of citizens won't violate that law) gives you the freedom to go to the store and walk the aisles in a carefree manner (even if you do stand in the middle of the damn aisle and get your glasses out and look at EVERY SINGLE BRAND of tomato sauce...sorry).

Let's also honor those who wear the uniform by obeying the law. They put their lives on the line so that we can have freedom, democracy, and, yes, congressmen who write dumb laws. We dishonor our warriors if we don't follow the law. If we don't like a law, we have a way to change it without resorting to the barrel of a gun. That's the legacy of our Constitution and how it's defended -- by the military.

So while I don't like the census form, or what's on it, I'm going to follow the law when it comes to answering the questions on the form. Honestly and truthfully. While holding my nose.

From The Corner:(emphasis mine)

To Answer or Not to Answer the Census – That Is the Question [Hans A. von Spakovsky]

I have been deluged lately with requests asking me whether one has to answer all of the questions on the 2010 Census, particularly those about race and ethnic background. Like Mark Krikorian, I don’t like those questions and don’t think the U.S. government should be collecting that information — its only use is to continue to separate us on racial grounds, for reapportionment purposes and for certain government programs.

Mark has said that he is going to answer “American” on the race question. I have always been tempted to answer “Native American,” since I was born and raised here. However, people need to understand that they may incur a legal liability if they use such answers or don’t answer questions at all.

In Article I, Section 2, the Constitution says that an “Enumeration” must be conducted every ten years “in such Manner as [Congress] shall by Law direct.” Congress has directed through a federal law that anyone who “refuses or willfully neglects…to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions” on the Census form can be fined $100 (18 U.S.C. § 221). If you deliberately give a false answer, you can be fined up to $500.


Everyone should realize that if you don’t complete a Census form, you are violating federal law. The chances of actual prosecution may be remote, but it could happen. The only real answer to this problem is for Congress to prohibit the Census Bureau from collecting such information and to make all government programs (and the reapportionment process) explicitly race-neutral.

No, I don't like it, and I'd be willing to pay a fine of $100 as a protest, but I really don't want the feds up my rear end, either.

Freedom's a bitch...unless you don't have it.

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