The U.S. Census Bureau has asked everyone to turn in their census forms today. Why they chose April Fools Day, I don’t know. Unlike the 15th of April, the 1st of April is not even a deadline, but rather more of a goal. They’ll be gladly accepting census forms for some time to come. So if this coincidence with fools day is not today’s joke, what is today’s joke?
The joke is the reaction of some people to the census itself. Anne and I have completed and filed ours. I didn’t find it too intrusive, but apparently some people do. Some people view it as part of some nefarious government conspiracy and not just a necessary component of our democracy. Per the Huffington Post, here are some of the more popular conspiracy theories:
- Census = Japanese Internment – “If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps,” U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) told Fox News.
- Taking Away Property – Anti-tax activist Neal Boortz thinks the Census is being used to take away your property and give it to the “moochers,” reports Media Matters.
- Indoctrinating Children – Some conservatives think President Obama’s in-school census kits are a way of indoctrinating children — just like Hitler. “ABC stands for Activate Barack’s Cadre!” conservative blogger Michelle Malkin wrote.
- U.N. Troop Invasion – The American Daily Review suggests that the Censuses use of GPS devices is a way to help United Nations personnel round people up after Obama lets foreign troops control the country.
- Predator Drone Missiles – Of course, the adoption of GPS by census-takers could also be a way of targeting “undesirables” for missile-drone attacks.
- Undocumented Immigrant Takeover – Michelle Malkin suggests that Obama aims to use the Census to undermine border control and give “the Left” a “permanent ruling majority” with the help of undocumented immigrants.
You could discount these theories and remarks as part of a lunatic fringe, but preliminary census returns indicates that they are indicative of a much larger, grass-roots movement. Preliminary census returns show a pervasive trend towards under counting in most red states. Even within blue states red districts look to be under counted.
As of last Friday, only 27% of Texas households have responded to the census, versus a national average of 34%. If this trend continues unchanged Texas could lose more than a quarter of its population in the 2010 census. Currently there are 32 congressional seats in Texas. Maybe they really only need 24 seats?
For several censuses the U.S. has not relied solely upon the actual count, but has also used estimates to fill in the gaps. These estimates have been used to correct inaccuracies in the actual counting. But these corrections have always been fraught with legal challenges too. In the past these challenges have been brought against the increased counting of minorities and the poor. Middle class whites who chose to abstain, may have to live with their decision, for ten more years.