Count Us Out

Nos among the noses

Censuses have become part of modern life, whether the counted cared to have their noses tallied or not. But in a rare display of actuarial obstinacy, West Germans last week won a skirmish in a war that attacks the very concept of the national head count.

Leading the fight was the Green Party, a loose amalgam of environmentalists and antinuclear militants, which charged that the Volkszählung, or people count, amounted to an invasion of privacy. (The questionnaire asks about everything from monthly rent to religious beliefs.) Last week an eight-judge federal court decided that there was merit to...

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