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Messages from the Free Email Provider GuyTM
The Freeing of Speech
Nov 10, 2000
Please note ol' Posty's incredible self-restraint this week in not blatantly abusing this platform to give my two-cents worth on the whole voting issue. . .it is with great self-discipline that I direct myself away from that travesty and focus clearly on a more relevant topic-free speech. (oh, but I could go on and on about what is happening in Florida. . .my cousin is a ballot box there and what he has told me would. . .well. . .um. . .sigh. I digress.)
I have to admit that I was more than a little impressed with the response I received to my article on spam. It was encouraging to know that you are not only awake, but actually even, occasionally, interested in what I am saying. Not all of your comments were in agreement with me, though the vast majority were (yippee!!!), but all discussion surrounding the issue of spam was relatively thoughtful and reasoned out pretty well.
Amidst many cheers for taking a stand against spam, I received notes a few people concerned that I was knocking folks who are "trying their level best to make a living" via email ads. Just for the record, I wasn't. But I do get all schmuggly when their collective argument is that people should have the right to spam because it "works" as a form of advertising. One writer even mentioned other forms of advertising (junk snail-mail, tv commercials, telemarketing, etc.) as his proof that spam should be allowed.
Although I am a Free Speech, junkie, I completely disagree. Respectfully, of course. :}
The point that the last writer didn't quite think of is that there are choices involved in each of the three traditional advertising scenarios. For example, we could opt not to watch commercials. . .we could zip past them on a tape, mute them, leave the room, or choose not to watch commercial tv, etc. For telemarketers, we can let our answering machines screen calls or just not answer the phone when it is not convenient. There are even ways to stop junk mail from coming.
In all of these scenarios, you have a choice. (In case you hadn't noticed, we here at FEPG.net/FECG.net like choices. :} )
These forms of advertisement are not apt to cost you a serious amount of time to deal with, nor will it cost you the potential loss of legitimate correspondence if your "mailbox" gets too full. (The postman doesn't send letters from your friends, credit cards bills, or statements from your bank back if you have too many ads from Safeway, thank goodness!) What the average consumer does not have in regard to email, however, is a clear choice not to receive it. That is a huge difference.
So what is ol' Posty trying to say? Well, I definitely believe in our right to free speech (both figuratively and literally!!! :} ) But I also believe that our rights must be tempered when they begin to decisively affect another.
We have a right to communicate. What we don't have a right to do is force someone else to deal with the consequences of our communication. Shutting down mailboxes, isps, free email providers, and inconveniencing thousands should not be the effects of our "rights." That is just common courtesy.
Exercise your right to free speech. But be responsible with it. . .please!
And don't forget to vote! ;]
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