Do You Feel Like a Number Yet?

Do You Feel Like a Number Yet?

Originally published on March 18, 2000 in The Sierra Times.

J.J. Johnson

by J.J. Johnson
June/July 2000

I picked up the mail yesterday and decided to stop and smell the roses – or in my case, the cows. As I stopped the car, I began to open the Census 2000 form that had come in the mail. Since I spend most of my days and evenings with that familiar dairy smell, I decided on that to stop and take a look at the cows. It was on this day I watched the dairy farm of 2000+ head of cattle being numbered, tagged, and led to the slaughter.

I watched this while holding the Census 2000 form in my hand. . .

. . . Now I know how the cows feel.

It was my mentor, Claire Wolfe, who made a statement that burned into the hearts of many Americans:

“It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

It’s time for J.J. Johnson to say:

“Claire, check your watch.”

The Census 2000 form is so intrusive and so affronts American privacy that even some of the staunchest government supporters are feeling queasy about filling it out. The only reason most people would tolerate this is because they know that it’s one of the few shreds of the constitution that is still actually practiced by the government. However, anyone with half a brain knows that the answers to all these questions are already in the hands of some government agency (county, state or federal), and only one mouse click away from being shared by all.

I probably felt more American than I ever have before after reading the questions that were asked. What made me feel so good was the fact that many other Americans obviously feel the same way. I know the government reads my articles, and no doubt this will be no exception. So to those little federal snoops, on behalf of all the American people, I can answer all of your questions in just five words:

None of Your Damn Business.

This is how it feels to be one of 250 million dairy cows who after having their udders taxed for years are now being checked to see which slices of beef would be best to use. In other words, how much of our hides can they take?

Think I’m exaggerating?

Add this newest federal nightmare to the fact that the United States government is now considering firearm legislation that follows the direct path of the Third Reich: Background checks for all gun transactions; Federal identification and licensing of all handgun owners; Prohibition of weapons that they are granted licenses to kill us with.

We pay for all of this. Now we are expected not only to pay for the census, but Bill Clinton and company expect us to willingly put tattoos on our own foreheads. To the fascists in Washington, like with your gun control proposals, and your health care proposals, you have again under-estimated the intelligence of the American public. As quickly as you had the forms hitting the mailboxes, Americans everywhere were developing ways not to answer your questions and how to respond to this affront to our dignity.

There have been many wonderful answers all of which according to you, the federal government, can result in a $100 fine, $500 for fraudulent information, and even 60 days in jail. The Internet is awash today with forms people can use, with their own name and address, and send back to the federal government in protest. But in my opinion there is only one response that would be effective . . .

. . No response at all.

Let the year 2000 go down in history as the year of civil disobedience, where we start with the census forms and practice our true American patriotism by simply taking it and throwing it in the garbage where it belongs. If we as Americans are forced to give up this much privacy then it simply is not worth being counted. We will not be segregated and numbered as mere chattel. We will not submit to you any information that will undoubtedly be used against the population who, if you had your way, would not even be able to defend itself. If you take this as a threat, good. While we are making these threats and ultimatums, let’s not stop here.

We think there are more than enough gun laws on the books. We don’t feel like complying with them either. Who knows, maybe by April 15th this trend will spread even more. What if we just did not comply with anything?

We’ve read your playbook. You’ll find some Leona Helmsley or Willie Nelson. You’ll find some people to make examples out of attempting to scare all of us into compliance. It won’t work. The information we give you makes it easier for you to take away our freedoms than if we simply do not comply.

I call on each and every American citizen not to bother sending in a response. If they are going to charge you with this “crime” – at least make them prove that you received the form.

The only reason they want this information is to justify their social engineering and re-distribution of wealth. By not responding, you are telling them you don’t want any. And if the result of our non-compliance is that they only count 30 million people, then we demand a reduction in the number of congress-critters. Ditto for the number of bureaucrats, agencies, and the number of stupid laws that you plan on passing based on this information. Let’s give them the non-fraudulent answer they deserve: “Go away.”

Make them send their compliance officers to knock on your door for their 30 pieces of silver. Tell them how many people are in the house, and then slam the door in their faces.

Slam it hard.

In fact, for those with the guts, who are really mad, I would encourage and endorse public ceremonial burnings a la draft cards, bras, etc. If you think we are not serious remember that. . .

  • We showed you with tomatoes and eggs that we do not want your Health Care;
  • We showed you in Seattle that we do not want your World Trade Organization;
  • We showed you in Elko that we would not tolerate you closing our roads and taking our land;
  • We showed you that we would not tolerate you snooping through our bank records;
  • We showed you that we would not tolerate OSHA snooping into our homes;
  • We showed you in Indianapolis that we would not tolerate you assaulting our churches;
  • We showed you throughout the south that we would not tolerate the raping of our heritage and our history;
  • And we showed you in cyberspace that we would not tolerate your control over the Internet.

    How far do you want to push this?

    You control the political parties. You control the money. You control the oil. And you control the broadcast media. You control the decisions on whether we live or die. But by the grace of God, we’ll be damned if you will control us.

    You have seen the letters. You have gotten the phone calls. You are getting them now. You have seen the protest. We promise more. And if a Census 2000 bonfire in every city in America is what it takes to deliver the message, then so be it. What a wonderful use for the over-priced gasoline.

    America: Listen to me. Listen to yourself. You are not a number, and you do not do fascism. If you feel the form is too dangerous to fill out, you are not alone. By throwing Census 2000 on the ash-heap of history, the country you save may be your own.

    J.J. Johnson is the Editor & Chief of He lives somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas.

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