C is for …

Count von CountThis blog post (“Uncle Sam Will Use Schoolchildren to Pressure Parents on 2010 Census,” h/t Carolyn) inspires me to rerun this lowercase liberty “classic” from several years ago:

Back in my previous professional incarnation, I managed the development of Sesame Street’s 30th Anniversary Trivia Game.

Having grown up on Sesame Street, I found the project warmly nostalgic and quite rewarding.

There were a few new faces among the muppet cast of our trivia game, but mostly it was my old friends.

As my babymomma and I start window-shopping for baby clothes, toys, children’s books, nursery sets, etc., I find I have an ambivalent reaction to all the Disney and Sesame Street merchandise. I’m not nearly so anti- “commercial culture” as I once was, and I like the idea of my child having the same characters in his or her life as I did. But I also wonder how much authority we’re unwittingly handing over to those whose values and agenda are different from ours.

This sort of thing is especially present for me as I begin to look into homeschooling. As much as secular homeschooling is taking off, the foundation of the movement is still Christian, and despite the far superior academic results of an at-home education, the primary motive for teaching the kids at home is still sociological: they don’t want the Enemy’s message infecting their children.

I find I don’t have to be religious to sympathize. All it takes is a strong belief contrary to the mainstream ideology. Their enemy is Satan; mine is the State.

I was schooled in statism. If you think the idea is paranoid, I can only imagine that statism is still your unquestioned foundational assumption.

Going back through some old articles on Mises.org, I find this ominous piece of recent history:

For many years, voluntary compliance has been falling. In anticipation of this problem, the Census Bureau has been relying on wholly owned sectors of society to propagandize for its campaign. The Sesame Street character named Count von Count is touring public schools to tell the kids to tell their parents to fill out the census, even as more than 1 million census kits have been sent to public schools around the country. Think of it as the state using children to manipulate their parents into becoming volunteers in the civic planning project.

“The Census and Despotism”
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.


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