It’s no small irony that just at a moment in history when we’ve collectively decided to put every last fricking detail of our lives on some social networking site or another, for no reason other than raw narcissism, the government has decided that a survey that any given household will be asked to fill out on average four times a century is just too intrusive, notwithstanding its paramount value to setting public policy of all sorts.
There’s been all sorts of speculation as to just what Harper and his statistically illiterate sockpuppet Tony Clement are up to, but it’s probably not a coincidence that the UK has also decided to scrap its ten-year census (on grounds ranging from “too intrusive” to “too expensive”), and the just-completed census in the US was marked by widespread opposition from both the left and the right, in a counting that saw 379 census workers assaulted. From the right, Ron Paul went on some weirdo tinfoil hat rant against the counting of persons by the federal government, until other, more planet-Earth bound Republicans pointed out that if a bunch of right-wingers abstain from the census, then it will affect seat distribution and lead to a loss of Republican seats in Congress.
But maybe they needn’t have worried. After all, joining the paranoiacs on the right were a whole bunch of hipsters who were, apparently, too cool to be counted: Williamsburg had a census return rate of only 30 percent. As Gawker suggested:
What if, instead of sending them to everyone’s houses, the forms were available only in select independent record stores… in Norway? And they cost $100 dollars? Guaranteed we’d start reading Thursday Style pieces about the coke-filled underground census-filling-out parties sweeping the more fauxhemian parts of our city. Dude, we’re gonna fill out some cennies Saturday.
But in Canada, that would only work on Queen St. West and maybe parts of the Plateau in Montreal. In the absence of any committed effort by the democracies of the West to count their populations, here’s an idea: Why don’t they just buy Facebook?