The 2011 UK Census comes down to this: “share your private information with the government, or go to prison.”
No, this is not “anti-establishment” scare-mongering, but a real life concrete example of totalitarianism. If anyone disagrees with this, simply ask them: “what happens if you refuse to complete the Census on the grounds that the only proper role of government (protecting your Rights) does not extend to gathering personal details about your life and property?”
Let’s not forget that the Census itself costs £480,000,000 to conduct. That’s almost half a billion pounds. Remember that the next time someone complains about the state of the NHS. The justification for the Census? It helps government planning in the public sector – another huge waste of money that is the government’s own doing; (jobs created out of thin air that would be unnecessary and unsupportable in the private sector. For “private sector” read: the real world where you have to earn your money.)
Hang on, doesn’t this mean that in order to keep the “public” sector running (paid for by the taxpayer) so as to provide mediocre services, personal intrusions, or economic distortions (that hurt the taxpayer), a Census is required (costing the taxpayer half a billion pounds), which you much comply with under penalty of a fine and (if you refuse) inprisonment (paid for by the taxpayer)? Well, yes.
Of course, if you refuse to comply, the odds are that you won’t be prosecuted. However, the census does prove how utterly impractical force is as an inducement: when people are forced to do something they’d rather not do; when their only incentive is not to be met with force, they’ll do the absolute bare minimum, or undermine the enforcer as much as possible. This is counterproductive to getting useful honest information. If people saw how they could benefit by sharing their personal information, they would – as evidenced by the many private endeavours (such as credit cards, petitions, private insurance, magazine subscriptions, social networking sites, charities etc) where they do give up such details. The fact that a hollow threat of a £1000 fine (backed by a gun) is in one hand whilst the government holds the 2011 census in the other, speaks volumes about how much faith the government and the public have in yet another waste of money and flagrant abuse of state power.