Libertarians and the censusBut that's a policy wonk blog. Very perceptive - indeed, perhaps too perceptive to quite grasp the Harper government's essential thinking... to be charitable about it.
The announced reasons for making the 2011 census long form voluntary is that it is 'intrusive' and that it is 'coercive' to make it mandatory. If this were the the position of a principled, reality-based libertarian government, then it would be a powerful argument. But it isn't.
From the Globe and Mail:
while many voters won’t notice or care about what happens to the census, “it will resonate deeply with certain swathes of voters by communicating to them that this government shares their suspicion of stats and the pointy-headed, out-of-touch academics who analyze them,” he writes.Of course, a conservatism that depends upon being insulated from reality and which takes steps to gut meaningful review of it's policies is barely distinguishable from an autocracy.
Because, for conservative activists and intellectuals, what is “truly infuriating to them is the suspicion that these types of knowledge play a role in actively cultivating non-conservative values and a public philosophy that acknowledges a role for government in addressing and reducing certain structural inequalities of society,” Prof. Saurette writes.
“The less visible these structural issues are, the less likely it is that advocacy groups will be able to persuade Canadians that government programs are necessary. The less government programs seem necessary, the less government itself seems valuable. And the less government itself seems valuable, the more likely it is that conservative market-oriented values and principles can flourish.”
I, for one, am beginning to look forward to a federal election.