When my daughter opened the door to the High Viz jacketed Census Enumerator at the weekend, she said that she seemed somewhat relieved to have encountered someone who appeared quite eager to participate in the enterprise.
I can well imagine, having taken part myself as a part time enumerator in Census 1986 during which I was assigned to a part of Ballyfermot. There were several hostile punters who were convinced that it was all to do with The Man cracking down on lads who were cleaning windows, painting houses, pulling pints or plastering walls whilst simultaneously drawing down what was known in Dublinese as “the scratcher.” Otherwise, the dole.
Having served before that mast myself in the days when had it not been for the “black economy” there probably would not have been any economy, I was able to set their minds at ease. This was at a time when PRSI amounted to some ridiculous whack of a person’s wages. I recall being interviewed for jobs where I was asked if I was “on the labour”, with the clear implication that if successful there was no expectation that I remove myself from the roll of the temporarily “idle.”
My sole interest as a Census Enumerator was in being able to submit a completed form, and thereby be paid when they were all in, so my advice to the followers of Thomas Sowell and Friedrich Hayek in Ballyer was to just tick off the box that indicated a temporary inability, rather than a philosophical commitment to, not contributing to the state revenue.
I shall make it my business to be here when the enumerator returns after April 3 and will try to find out what her experience has been, purely for the purpose of historical comparison and social history.
No doubt, a similar proletarian distrust of the state explains whatever reluctance she may have come across. There is also a natural reticence among most people to share what is after all pretty intimate personal information, some of it not even known to your neighbours and relations, with an anonymous representative of that state.
It is unlikely, however, that many are even aware, let alone been persuaded, of the claims by some of those involved in a small-scale attempt to boycott the current Census. The bases for that appear to be a pot pourri of objections that range from not wanting someone you once met at a match to know what age you are, to the more ludicrous theories that one day you are obediently handing over your completed green form, and the next you are in the back of the truck off to pack Tofu for Eamonn Ryan and the World Economic Forum.
One that appears to have some currency is based on the claim that all your dealings with the state are governed by your consent. Which they are not. You don’t avoid a prison sentence if you murder someone on the basis that you never signed an official form stating that you would not. The ludicrous margins of this are charted by people who claim that you did not need to have a driving license and so on. The foundation for this is the belief that there is a Natural Law that overrides any laws imposed by the state.
That neglects the historical evidence that the law as it exists in most, non-totalitarian, states is itself evolved from common and natural law that have pre-modern roots in western civilization and which were enhanced and strengthened with regard to individual and human rights under the influence of the great Christian thinkers of earlier times.
The alternative to such a legal code is certainly not the prelapsarian fantasies of either the libertarian left or right. Prior to what we now know as the law, based on a general consent that is constantly renewed, humanity was not one happy family of small property owners nor a Woke commune.
It was a world of rapacious gangs of thieves in which the only sanction was violence. Anyone who believes that we could not return to that has missed the 20th century and its succession of total wars and ethnic genocides. Much of them the consequence of yet another failure of the millenarian notion that “a better world is possible” if only you murder enough Kulaks or Jews or Tutsis or Tibetans.
Some of those calling for a boycott of the Census have not even seen a form as they are claiming that it arrives in a sealed envelope, which if you open you then find yourself in a cunningly evil “contract.” Much like whichever Tolkien character was foolish enough to slip the Ring on his finger. Anyway, there is no envelope, so there’s that one sent off to fly among the chemtrails.
Looking through the form, the only section that jars with me is where the person filling in the form is asked to define themselves as part of an ethnic group. It is not enough, apparently, that you are Irish but you have to define yourself by the simplistic racial definition categorised according to physical appearance and colour.
All of this racial categorisation has an unfortunate history, but racialism – which is what it is let’s be honest – is seemingly acceptable when its putative aims are those of Woke racialists as apposed to racialists in black uniforms with skulls on the caps.
Anyway, my dissent will be signalled by my opting to be an “Other” with the additional information supplied that I am Irish. Not white Irish, nor black Irish, nor speckled Irish, just plain old Irish as most of my antecedents were.
As my colleague Ben Scallan has pointed out, there is no reason why the other demand of the Woke for the inclusion of a gender identity other than male or female needed to be excluded. He was responding to certain people being “shocked” at such an exclusion. Not only is anything else, as Ben says, “statistically irrelevant” but it has not relevance to the big picture trends that do have a practical application in terms of how the state is administered.
The purpose of the census is about tracking big picture trends in society across millions of people. How many adults in Ireland don't identify as male or female? Maybe a couple of hundred – i.e. statistically irrelevant. https://t.co/CJ6inth14k
— Ben Scallan 🇮🇪 (@Ben_Scallan) March 14, 2022
As another colleague pointed out, if there are no other reasons for filling in your form you may be providing future joy for your grandchildren or others yet to be born when they find you among the records for Census 2022, just as he discovered his one year old grandfather in the 1911 Census.
Of course I might be wrong, in which case I shall meet you in the Tofu Gulag.