Re: Spam

Michael Lorrey (
Fri, 05 Feb 1999 03:48:34 -0500 wrote:

> Michael S. Lorrey [] wrote:
> >And how would you enforce this rule without government laws which force people
> >to pay? You are just moving the focus of force from where it belongs, on
> >spammers, to the users.
> Duh, as someone has already pointed out, you bounce any mail message which
> comes from an unexpected email address and doesn't include fifty cents of
> 'postage' for you. You can still subscribe to lists, your friends can still
> mail you, and you make money from spam. This is a free market solution to
> spam; make the spammers pay for it.
> Boy, isn't it amazing how so many free-market advocates become rabid
> authoritarian fascist government-loving scum when one of their hot buttons
> is pressed? Michael, how are you going to enforce this rule without a
> global government? How would you enforce this rule in a PPL society? I
> can only assume that like so many others you haven't actually sat down
> and considered the implications of the policies you espouse in other
> messages to the list. I have, and I've decided that I'm willing to live
> with the problems of free markets in order to gain the benefits. Spam is
> one of those problems.
> >I have the right to refuse to receive any class of
> >mail I wish.
> Indeed. Just as you can install a filter to delete spam. Just as you can
> get an email account with an ISP who will filter spam for you.
> >Since the internet crosses state lines and national borders, the congress,
> >delegating to the USPS, the Commerce Dept,, what have you...have the right
> >to
> >regulate (under the Interstate Commerce clause) commercial communications
> >which
> >cross those borders (i.e. the equivalent of 2nd and 3rd class mail).
> Of course the interstate commerce clause was never intended to be used as
> a general power for enforcing these kind of laws; would you argue that
> the government has the power to ban commercial interstate sale of firearms?

It most certainly was. It was meant to give the congress the power to a) tax interstate commerce to pay for externalized costs which a primitive colonial market does not manage well, b) regulate what commercial exchanges go on between the states. Remember that most state legislators and governors saw themselves as their own sovereign nations, and the act of confederation, and later the act of federation was merely a matter of establishing standards of human rights, interstate relations and trade, and relations and trade with nations not part of the federal compact. They looked at the federal government much as many people are starting to look at the UN and other international bodies, which is why the Senators in the federal Senate were appointed by the state governor and confirmed by the state legislature, instead of directly elected by the people.

Why the banning of the interstate sale of firearms is pointedly illegal and unconstitutional is because it directly conflicts with the 2nd Amendment, with no conflicts with other rights that are reserved. Spam, on the other hand, while on the part of the spammer is a 1st Amendment issue, on the part of the spammee it is an 9th and 10th Amendment issue of state and individual rights to privacy and to the setting of community standards (i.e.: what 'disturbing the peace' means), so such a conflict imposes a quandary which must be defined by the courts. The courts have stated that spam is a form of illegal cost transfer, harassment, and can amount to theft of electronic services.

> But more to the point: why would a Russian spammer care about US laws? If
> these laws are passed, why won't US spammers just move overseas to countries
> with better things to worry about than junk email? Why will US laws do
> *anything* to stop spammers, rather than being used to persecute people
> like you who post mislabelled messages to email lists?

Because the Constitution explicitly states that the feds do have authority to regulate international commerce and communications, and to negotiate and ratify treaties, the feds can easily put up outright blocks or merely tariffs on foreign spammers, on foreign servers, on foreign software companies, etc. to make them pay the cost of their externalizations. Foreign spammers are actually the easiest ones to deal with when it comes to the government. Because the internet has defense related capacities, the feds can also easily cancelbot foreign spammers on the grounds of national security, which falls under the 'guarding the coast' and 'managing and regulating the waterways' clauses of the Constitution. They do not need any new laws to do any of this, they already have the authority.

   Michael Lorrey
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?