I used to feel that it was my duty to answer every question on every poll. I now realize that I have a right to privacy. The census is an exception.

The government has a legitimate interest in information about its citizens, and it is a civic duty for citizens to respond. Businesses have a legitimate interest in information about their customers but customers do not have a duty to respond. Businesses pay money to get information from people. It is valuable to them, and there is no reason for people to give businesses anything for free.

I freely complain and compliment people where I do business, unless things are so bad I never plan to go back. But when someone wants to know if people were polite during a routine transaction, I decline to answer. I would like to say, “It’s none of your business,” but that isn’t true. It is very much their business, but I have no reason to facilitate their business. The pollster is being paid to gather information, but I don’t want to be part of the survey that advertises they are the most friendly _______ in town.

Perhaps I am being old fashioned, but I will vote with my feet, my wallet, and yes, my vote. My opinion is not something I give away.


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