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Friday, September 26, 2003
Musings on the “Do Not Call List”

By Steven Taylor @ 10:57 am

I know that telemarketers are annoying (and that they drive my wife, in particular, crazy), however as I watch this “do not call” brouhaha emerge I have to ask myself, “is this really the kind of the thing that the federal government ought to worrying about? (Indeed, it has been a trifecta, with the legislative, executive and judicial all getting involved here). Is this the proper way to spend the time of legislators, bureaucrats, and judges?

I am sufficiently libertarian (and capitalistic) in my leanings to think that a market-based solution is sufficient—if enough people don’t buy things from telemarketers, then the whole thing will cease to exist. Don’t buy products from companies who call your house, and tell them so over the phone. I just hang up on them. Or, just use call waiting or your answering machine to screen calls. Heck, my brother has a set up now where your number doesn’t ring through if it isn’t on a list (kind of like a spam filter for the phone). On the one hand, one might say “I shouldn’t have to go to such extremes”—but on the other, is it the proper role of government to keep us from being annoyed? The whole thing smacks of “there oughta be a law syndrome” which ultimately does nothing more than expand, over time, the reach of the government over our daily lives. While there is nothing nefarious about a “do not call” list, per se, there is something that I don’t like about using the government to deal with a minor annoyance.

Overall I simply get itchy when the government at any level gets overly involved with the minutiae of our daily lives, or attempts to micromanage inconvenience.

Filed under: US Politics

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  1. Exactly my thoughts, even though it sounds like heresy to most people.

    What if it’s you they want to hamper or put out of business next time?

    Comment by Jay Solo — Friday, September 26, 2003 @ 1:07 pm

  2. Except…

    as an individual I have should have some choice in the service I purchase. If I could choose land line providers, certainly I would choose the one who blocked the sales calls…

    But I cannot. So by siding with ‘non-regulation’ you allow exploitation of the monopoly and you condemn the individual to paying for his own harassment.

    It’s not that there ought-to-be-a-law… it’s that there ought-not-to-be-a-monopoly… and until the infrastructural requirements are met to develop the technology and the monopoly is no longer a tolerable value that monopoly should be regulated.

    Comment by DANEgerus — Friday, September 26, 2003 @ 5:56 pm

  3. Actually, you can get services (such as the one my brother has, that I mentioned) that will block unwanted calls. Further, the issue really isn’t one of being able to choose a land-line company, but the problem of an open-access telephone number which (like your mailing address and e-mail address) allows for unsolicited contact. It is impossible to stop such contact without taking away part of what is valuable about a phone number, address, etc-which is the ability of people to reach you with ease-and sometimes we want to be reached by people who have never contacted us before.

    How would the situation be any different if you could choose your land line company? The answer it: it wouldn’t.

    Comment by Steven — Friday, September 26, 2003 @ 7:09 pm

  4. Comment by Anonymous — Tuesday, August 10, 2004 @ 3:47 pm

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