Making Sense of the Census

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The Obama administration’s talk of transferring oversight of the U.S. Census Bureau from the Department of Commerce to the White House staff turned over a rock that sent all kinds of dazed, statist bugs scurrying.

Case in point: Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP) and a member of the “National Steering Committee of the Census Information Centers Program of the Census Bureau” (that acronym would be NSCCICPCB) was a vocal critic of once Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg. Falcon fretted that Gregg might politicize the census process by not budgeting enough money to produce accurate counts of hard-to-poll. communities. So, Falcon supported the planned move of the census from Commerce to the West Wing. Here’s an excerpt from his defense of the power grab:

It is also not possible by the White House or anyone else to easily manipulate the 2010 population count to rig reapportionment or redistricting in favor of one party or the other. The Census Bureau has a well developed set of protocols and procedures to assure as objective a population count as possible. No one, whether it is a powerful figure like Emanuel or even the president, can manipulate this process…. Finally, influencing broader policy issues on the use of Census data, such as with the issue of the use of sampling to adjust the population counts, is most definitely a political process beyond the purview of the Census Bureau. This would not be affected by who the Census Bureau reports to, since whether it is the White House or the Commerce Secretary, this is an issue that would be framed by whoever is President. The use of sampling for adjusting the Census numbers was something that is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the federal courts. In addition, the political redistricting process is something that is overseen by the Department of Justice in its administration of the Voting Rights Act. And as we have seen with the Bush Administration, the Justice Department has certainly not been kept “independent” of politics.

The arguments against the move were more coherent. But Falcon’s rambling betrays characteristics of the contemporary nitwit statist.

Specifically:

• intense partisanship limited to establishment political parties (“one party or the other,” as if there were just two);

• endemic relativism (“as objective . . . as possible” – objectivity is an absolute value);

• supplication to dubious characters (“a powerful figure like [White House chief of staff Rahm] Emanuel”);

• apparently unwitting acceptance of cynical politics (“an issue that would be framed by whoever is president,” oblivious to the fact that “framing” is a tool of political manipulation);

• blind faith in judges (“was something that is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the federal courts”);

• reflexive hatred of the White House’s previous occupant (“as we have seen with the Bush administration …” blah, blah, blah).

The grammar and syntax aren’t too strong, either. It’s rare to see such a banquet of errors – disagreement of tense, failure of parallelism, subject-object case confusion, twisted referents, verbal blockades of every kind – in just a couple of hundred words.

And pay attention to a process that this nitwit described: “the use of sampling for adjusting the Census numbers.” There’s the rub. The statists who bow worshipfully before Barack Obama intend to manipulate the results of the census with statisticians’ tricks. And, to deconstruct Falcon’s mangled sentences, it doesn’t matter whether Commerce or the West Wing is nominally in charge; they’re still determined to game the results.

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