Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Encroachment On The Right To Privacy

The 2010 census questionnaire will be mailed to every household across the United States. Questions will be on name age, race, and house ownership among others. The maximum fine for refusing to answer these census questions is 100$ per question up to a total maximum fine of 5000$.(Meanwhile, the Government of India is planning to prepare the National Population Register (NPR) with the 2011 Census at the expense of tax payers money. The cost of the 2001 Census was 1,403 crores). The mainstream media is busy assuring the public that with ten questions, it will be the shortest ever. It is important, it is said, as it will influence major political decisions. It is forgotten, that according to the constitution of the United States people are not legally obligated to cooperate on anything other than head count. The intrusive nature of the questions gives us the signal that we are on the way to a totalitarian cage, where we have to answer the Government on issues which shouldn’t matter to others in one way or the other. As Walter Williams pointed out, “The purpose of the census is to apportion the House of Representatives. You don’t need to know how many toilets I have to apportion the House of Representatives.”

It should be obvious at any person who believes in individual rights that the Government, or any organized body doesn’t have the right to extort information from a person which he is not willing to provide. This is a clear case of state encroachment on privacy. As Ayn Rand scholar Chris Mathew Sciabarra said, “The war on privacy is a war against voluntary human association of every kind.” Privacy, according to Rand, was more than a right. She wrote in “The Fountainhead”: “All the functions of body and spirit are private.” And: “Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.” She also held that “the concept of invasion of privacy requires a clear definition of the right to privacy, which could be discussed only inside the context of clearly defined and upheld individual rights.”

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