Sunday, October 05, 2003

Do Not Call List Neither Legal Nor Moral
Alexander Marriott September 28, 2003

Not only is there no Constitutional basis for the “Do Not Call” list that the congress has created but there is no legitimate moral basis to justify the creation of any such list by any government.

The “Do Not Call” list I refer to has recently been put on hold by two federal judges, but that doesn’t mean that this list or other future lists won’t be eventually upheld and legitimized by the US Supreme Court. Of course the vast majority of the public supports this list, but public support isn’t an argument and doesn’t mean anything other than that a large majority might either be right or wrong.

The simple legal argument against the “Do Not Call” list is that there is no constitutional authority vested in the Federal Government to stop any solicitation whatsoever. Also the Federal Government is specifically prohibited from infringing upon anyone’s right to free speech, which is what they are in effect doing by fining businesses that are telling people about their products.

There have been many strained and convoluted attempts to justify the list of course. One such argument claims that telemarketers calling during dinner time infringes upon our right to privacy. But one’s right to privacy is guaranteed against the government, not solicitors. Besides, it is a giant stretch to compare the government busting your door down to see what kind of sex you are having to a telemarketer calling your house to try to sell you things. The one you can only suffer through and challenge afterwards in court whereas with the phone call you can always just hang-up.

Another attempt to justify the list is that the calls supposedly impede our right to the pursuit of happiness. This is a confused explanation, or at least it must be for it to make any sense whatsoever. What proponents of this argument must mean is that it violates our right to happiness, which is much different than the pursuit thereof. A phone call cannot impede one’s pursuit of happiness, unless we accept the necessary belief that phone calls have a mystical power to ruin our lives against our wills.

As to a right to happiness, it does not and cannot exist. If I have a right to happiness that would effectively give me license to do whatever I want to attain happiness, including stealing, raping, arson, killing, and so on.

The much more effective reason for why the “Do Not Call” list ought to be done away with is because it is morally obnoxious. What gives anyone the right to use force to prevent phone calls? One might as well ban advertisements, commercials, and billboards because they might be considered annoying by a majority of people as well.
Why are people so threatened by phone calls? All they require is that one turn the phone off, it isn’t that complicated unless you’re a complete dolt.

I think that telemarketing phone calls are very annoying and I hang-up the phone whenever they call. But to get rid of them I would never be so short-sighted as to ask the government to do it, because how long would it be before someone asks the government to stop whatever I do for a living? And how would I be able to object?

The answer is that I wouldn’t be able to object at all because I’ve already accepted and advocated the governmental interference and ruining of someone else’s industry, and I, as well as all the actual people who support this idiotic list will get precisely what they asked for and deserve.

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