Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.U.S. Const., amend. XIV
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.U.S. Const., art. I, sec.3
One of the notions of which the Framers of our Constitution were keenly aware was the principle that, in a republic, a nation of laws, not men, it was absolutely necessary that our fundamental documents be easily understandable to the average citizen. Thus, our Constitution is a fairly simple document to understand.
One good example of this principle put into practice is the census. Having created — per James Madison’s “Virginia Plan” — one legislative branch based upon proportional representation of the population of each state, and foreseeing the growth to be enjoyed by the nascent nation, the members of the Constitutional Convention immediately understood that a method of apportioning those representatives among the several States would be necessary at certain
intervals. Hence, they required a decennial census to apportion representatives.
But apportionment of Members of Congress is the sole constitutional purpose for the census. Other than that sole design, the census has no other purpose authorized by the Constitution.
When, in 2000, the Youngs received their census form, Form D-2, to be precise, it was the long form. It included a cover letter over the signature of Kenneth Prewitt, Director of the Bureau of the Census.
While it was nice to see that we would be “actually enumerated” after years of talk of statistical “sampling” promoted by an administration desiring to rig the process, the actual form was something of an anticlimax, preceded by weeks of television and radio advertising. We even received, in this year’s property tax assessment, a palmcard from our friends in the McCoart Center, promoting participation.
Interestingly, not a single word of that advertising mentioned the constitutional purpose for the census, i.e., apportionment of representatives. All of it focused on what we would get for doing so. The palmcard provided a blurb about “What Happens when you fill out Census 2000... You can improve education, help our nation’s farmers, provide help to people in need of social services, build better housing where needed, move transportation forward and create jobs.” It was of a piece with the broadcast advertising.
Well thanks, but no thanks. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of education in the first place, or in providing housing, or in socialist “services,” i.e., those enjoyed by identifiable groups of people whose votes politicians decide to buy. And it certainly shouldn’t pervert the important constitutional purpose of the Census to achieve the extra-constitutional ends which are the sole topic of the advertising campaign.
Like the advertising preceding it, the Youngs' last Census form was a fascinating exemplar of bloated, statist nannyism of the big-government bureaucrats who doubtless put it together. Some credit is due, however; Prewitt’s cover letter states that the “First” reason answering the form is important is apportionment. However, he then went on to talk about how “[t]he amount of government money your neighborhood receives depends on your answers.” What’s funny, though, is that looking around my neighborhood, I have a sneaking suspicion that my neighbors and I are paying for a lot more than we’re receiving. And I have a conceptual problem with voluntarily participating in a process by which my wages are plundered for government handouts in areas in which the federal government has no business whatsoever.
And I’m particularly offended by the notion that the federal government cares about my telephone number, my sex (properly identified as “sex,” not the ubiquitously misused “gender”), my age (asking for both age and date of birth; is this a math test, too?), my race, and my marital status (Questions 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6, and 7, respectively). Whether I’ve attended “regular school or college” in the last year, or the education I’ve completed also is none of the federal government’s business (Questions 8 and 9). Neither is my “ancestry or ethnic origin,” the language spoken at home, the state in which I was born, or my citizenship (Questions 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14).
Particularly offensive, though, were other questions, like where and in what type of housing I lived five years ago, or my disability status (Questions 15, 16, and 17). I’m not going to the government for a handout, and I’m offended by those who do. Why should I aid the imperial federal government in its plundering of my wages for those who do?
Then there’s the lifestyle questions. These ask about grandparents raising their grandchildren, and service in the military (like the government can’t figure that out for itself?!?). Most important to the federal government, however, are those questions which aid in its plunder of the productive, like whether and where an individual worked, how they got there, and what they earned (Questions 21 through 32). And then there are those about an individual’s household, their cars or trucks, and the costs (Questions 33 through 53). Maybe if I thought the last would result in an increase of the standard deduction on my income tax (which has gradually been reduced in value since the 1950s), I’d be inclined to answer them. Fat chance of that, though.
In 2000, many advocated refusing to answer any questions beyond the number of persons in a household, risking a fine of $100 under 13 U.S.C. Section 221. The Youngs did so, without consequence.
This year, however, according to News McNuggets ... er, USA Today, however, our government schools will be enlisted to violate the Constitution.
According to the article, our children will be enlisted in a process which is not only designed to satisfy its constitutional limits, but to "determine ... the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds to state and local governments every year." And rather than teaching our children of the sole constitutional purpose of the census --- something which should take about 15 minutes, in total, the article tells us that:
Between January and March, the Census Bureau will help plan a week of Census education in schools. During Census Week, teachers will devote 15 minutes every day for five days to the topic by discussing such things as civic participation, confidentiality or geography. Beginning in mid-March, more than 120 million Census questionnaires will be delivered to residential addresses.Somehow, that sound suspiciously like using the government schools for statist indoctrination, rather than constitutional education.
Most disturbing in this entire process is that the “First” purpose of the census — apportionment — is virtually an afterthought to the government promoting full participation in it. Once again, the federal government is promoting ignorance among the citizenry. Perhaps it’s because the Left understands that constitutional ignorance is necessary if their statist agenda is to prevail.