Friday, August 15, 2003

Don't Call Me . . . Shirley: Flyer, you make some excellent points re: the validity of Pejman's argument, particularly on his wrong-headed (but appealing) comparison to vouchers. The libertarian view here is easy enough to articulate. This is another example of government putting unnecessary restrictions on business. The government functions best when it performs jobs that individuals cannot do. We cannot all deliver our own mail (though FedEx can). We can't individually conquer Iraq (actually, we could outsource that, too; maybe two or three of us could with a truckload of beer, Playboy, and Nintendo . . .). A sufficient and limited response to telemarketing is the do-not-call law, already on the books, which allows me to get my name off call lists simply by asking. This puts no particular burden on the telemarketers, other than to simply respect my wishes not to be bothered. It's arguably good for them, since someone who goes through the trouble of requesting removal is a bad lead anyway. (Hangups are a different story.) The do-not-call list, on the other hand, functions to remove the burden from the consumer at the expense of both the taxpayer, to pay for the maintenance of the service, and the marketer, who is under pressure to keep lists up to snuff. In other words, it's a waste of time and money, all to keep Joe Blow in (hell, let's hit the trifecta) Rockaway, New Jersey, from having to get off his lazy ass, pick up the phone, and say, "Please do not call me." This is not a proper function of government.

Now, the sticky wicket: I do intend to put my name on the list. Hypocrite, eh? You're goddamn right. Look, nothing in my power will undo this crappy idea made law; there are just too many people willing to let the government run the rolodex of business for a moment of peace in front of "Survivor 14" (motto: "Just like the Democratic primary race, but with smarter contestants!"). Thus, I'll make use of it. Any libertarians who want to give me shit about this can kiss my rebel ass and show me the return receipts when they begin mailing their Social Security checks back to the government with the "Thanks, but no thanks" note attached.

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