Two of my favourite progressive observers have noted the speed and suddenness with which the flying monkeys of the right have swung into line behind the Harpokons' inexplicable attack on the long-form census. As Chet Scoville notes at The Vanity Press, a couple of weeks ago nobody was even talking about it, but now it's tapping into long-held beliefs and long-suppressed rage and resentment of Condescending Urban Elitist Big Government Socialism. The fact that even Tom Flanagan's baffled by it is beside the point.
And note as well the all-or-nothing nature of some of the anti-census commentary. As Cathie from Canada notes, there's no nuance, no grey, nothing – it's all wrapped up in one big ball of string. If we let them collect census data, the next thing we know they'll be coming for our guns and forcing us to marry gay Muslims.
Another manifestation of the toxic right-wing tropes the Harpokons seem determined to import from their teabagging friends to the south. As we've seen in the case of the birthers, facts don't matter to these people. And when the facts get in the way of the narrative or the ideology, guess what gets thrown out the window?
That's the thing about manufactured controversies. For decades, nobody's gotten their knickers in a twist about the census, but out of nowhere, there's this huge groundswell of organized opposition to it? A grassroots movement of resentment that's been building for years? Can anyone say astroturf?