The main thing I got from Erick Erickson’s rants about how he’s going to threaten American Community Survey workers with death if they try to survey him is that he thinks that embryos have more moral value than government workers. Though there is some hair-splitting there. As Digby notes, Erickson wants it to be very clear that he’s not saying that it’s okay to start violent altercations by waving shotguns at Census workers, but ACS workers? Absolutely. The reason is that he takes a Biblical literalist approach to the Constitution.
There is a constitutional obligation for you to fill out your census. A free society cannot operate — a modern republic cannot operate without knowing precisely how many people there are in the country. And the Constitution requires a hand-counting, not a statistical sampling, but a hand-counting.
I liked this passage, because it’s a classic example of how being full of shit is a wingnut’s natural state, much like being highly caffeinated is a liberal blogger’s natural state. He’s making contradictory claims, though someone not educated on the situation might not initially realize it. You can either believe that we need precision or hand-counting, but you can’t have it both ways. The reason that statistical sampling was floated as an idea is that it’s more accurate than hand-counting, for the simple reason that a lot of people don’t turn in their Census forms. The reason that conservatives insist on hand-counting is that they like the lack of accuracy—urban areas and lower income areas have lower return rates, and so they get the shaft in funding and representation. And just like Biblical literalists pick and choose what parts of the Bible they insist must be understand without historical context, so do constitutional literalists, who tend to insist we should act like the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment with grenade launchers in mind and that they wrote the part about hand-counting with the full knowledge that science would come up with a better way, a way they were pre-emptively rejecting. Which would imply that that our Enlightenment-loving founders had some anti-science vendetta, which would have surprised Benjamin Franklin especially.
Erickson is a super-fan of having it both ways. He wants a little of that right wing Census paranoia action, but he also doesn’t want to come across a one of those people, and so he settles on the strange compromise of demonizing the ACS workers.
Well, this American Community Survey, there’s no statutory authorization for it. The just — the Census Bureau ran with it. Congress gave them a little, and they took a lot. And so the story I was reading yesterday was about the ACS surveyor who showed up to the door of the writer, basically demanding that he either fill out a survey or off to jail with you. And I said that if someone were to show up on my doorstep and try to haul me off to jail for not telling the government how often I flush my toilet, well I’m going to get my wife’s shotgun and chase them off the property.
So, if you’re accusing him of tempting people to assault Census workers, you’re a hysterical moron. He only meant the ACS workers! Okay, they do work for the Census, so in fact when he said that he’s not encouraging you to assault Census workers, he was straight up lying. Even if you wave a shotgun at only a portion of Census workers, you are still threatening Census workers.
I’m really torn on the issue of CNN hiring Erickson. On one hand, that was crazy irresponsible of them. On the other hand, he’s an even more naked example than Glenn Beck of my theory that wingnuttery is based on the fear that liberals want to steal your manhood by invading your orifices. And the comic value of that is endless. Take, for instance, the example that Erickson dwells on when trying to fear-monger about the ACS.
I refuse to fill out this American Community Survey and they tell me I’m going to go to jail because I won’t tell the government how often I flush my toilet, what size toilet it is,…..
This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet?
And as a kicker:
Where do you get off misconstruing that I’m agitating for killing Census workers when you people are out there advocating for the killing of the unborn on a regular basis. You have no shame.
Yep, we’re out to get his manhood. It’s a war fought on multiple fronts. First, we emasculate the men of America by snatching embryos from women’s wombs, which is like following Johnny Appleseed and yanking up his saplings, and then kicking him in the balls and calling him a girl. Then we come at you through your toilets. Erickson is all too aware of how his naked, precious anus is exposed in the general vicinity of the toilet, and so the government’s interest in knowing more about toilet-flushing must be an attempt to canvass the area and find a way to get to that anus. With all these assaults on his manhood, no wonder Erickson is forced to grab a nearby phallic symbol and wave it hysterically.
Seriously, if Obama wins another term, they’re going to start walking around with elaborate codpieces.