A Libertarian Defense of Spam

With a Few Uninhibited Remarks on the Faux-Libertarian Lew Rockwell Writers Gary North and Jeff Elkins

By John "Birdman" Bryant


Everybody hates spam, and you know why? Because spam is Officially Bad. There's only one problem. Or maybe two or three. And that's what you and I and the cat are gathered here together in the name of The Evil One (dat's spam, you niggard!) to discuss.

One of the problems about spam is knowing what it is. This used to be a problem with the post-Newtonian God, until intelligent folks gave him up for dead: He was there, but he was no longer the Big Gasbag in the Sky. For some, he was everywhere (that was animism or pantheism, depending on your dates). For others, he was Love (that was Elmer Gantry). For the early Christians, he was a bottle of wine (that's why you have Communion with the Spirits). For yet others he was the contradictions that were always turning up and embarrassing the Devil out of theologians: In the words of Prof Herbert Carruth's famous poem "Each in His Own Tongue",

A fire-mist and a planet, A crystal and a cell, A jellyfish and a saurian And caves where the cave-men dwell; Then a sense of law and beauty And a face turned from the clod -- Some call it Evolution, And others call it God.

Well, we are getting a bit off-topic, now, aren't we? But anyway, like I said, spam is what you make it. Some used to think it was unsolicited commercial email. Then it morphed into unsolicited mass mail. And now, with feminism so successful, it has become yet something else. As I told Famous Author and Y2K Guru of Gurus Gary North, who accused me of spamming him in a recent fit of pique, his behavior was just like that of the feminists: They consent to sex, and then if they don't enjoy it, they call it rape; while he consented to email by publishing his email address, and then since he didn't like what he got, he called it spam. Hey, feminism has to be good for something, right? (Like a few laffs.)

Now I shouldn't have to point out that, unless we permit unsolicited email, then email becomes impossible. After all, somebody has to write FIRST, and that can't possibly be solicited, unless maybe over the phone, and even phone solicitations are coming under a bit of pressure nowadays.

But if unsolicited email has to be ok, then what is spam? Hey, this sounds like one for the old Potty Steward, late member of the Supremes, who couldn't define porn, but "knew it when he saw it". (I wonder how much he saw. Hey, those black robes are great for concealing all kinds of feelthy peectures, aren't they? To say nothing of a hard-on.) Well, since Old Potty is no longer with us, maybe we should pray to Jeezez for a revelation, but till then, what will it be? The same letter sent to two different people? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? Gee, Potty, where are you when we really need you?

But enuf of the fluff. Let's get down to brass tacks and crass facts. For one thing, the biggest real problem with email is that it slows down Net traffic because of its volume. Of course we now have broadband and all that, so it seems like the 'problem' with spam is mainly a technical one which will disappear with better communications equipment. But in the meanwhile, as every libertarian knows, where there's a will, there's a way to break it (no, sorry, that was for lawyers and the KGB). What I mean is, libertarians know that the free market is highly efficient in allocating scarce resources, and so the principal 'spam problem' as we have described it can be solved in a trice by a charge for the large (mailers, that is). Now gee, why didn't anybody think of that before? After all, isn't the Net run mainly by libertarian nerds?

But if you talk to 99% of the people who complain about spam, you will not find the clogup of Net traffic to be much on their agenda. The problem from their point of view, so it appears, is the peculiar paralyzing effect which spam has on the finger which uses the Delete key. Naturally, this is an astonishing biological and medical phenomenon, but strangely enuf, there has been no investigation of it in the academic journals, and must therefore be relegated to the domain of Forteana.

So if the problem is that people don't use the Delete key, then why is it that they extend their pinkies at tea and their index fingers while pointing at spam and complain forte et dure that they have been Raped, Robbed and Rototilled by spammers? The answer, of course, is that -- as noted at the beginning of this essay -- spam has been designated as Officially Bad, and when something has been so designated, then everyone is invited to punch, kick, and spit to their heart's content: You might say it almost becomes a community project, sort of like a husking bee or searching for a lost kid. In fact, spam is a lot like racism is in the present day, and like the Devil was just a few years ago -- you can lambaste it from here to Tipperary without the least risk (unlike taking the opposite view), and in doing so, not only do you help clear the alveoli, but you acquire a bit of a halo in the process. Of course there is a small problem with all this -- the Devil has been buried right along with God (Hey, why not? They were partners, after all -- the Devil was God's enforcer), racism is actually good (see my essay "Why I Am a White Racist" in the Liberals section of my webpage), and -- as pointed out earlier -- spam is a will-o'- the-wisp.

But the real brass tacks and crass facts about spam concern a little matter called free speech. To explain, let us note the conventional wisdom that the Net has been a communications coup because it has found a way around the liberal media (ok, the jewsmedia). The Net has made it possible to inform a whole generation of people who were being brainwashed by tee-vee, whose cultural roots were being destroyed by multicultural madness, and who were being dumbed down-and-out by the publik skoolz, aka government social engineering academies. In particular, the Net has begun to stanch the hemorrhaging of our white blood, and is rushing to the defense of the white genome and its wunderkind offspring, Western civilization. But to the anti-spammers, I ask, How easily could this have taken place without a lot of dedicated individuals grinding out a lot of freedom propaganda, ie, spam?

Let's put it this way: Spam is the key to freedom on the Net. Spam is the free exchange of ideas - the modern town square - the new Liberty Tree of the American nation, and indeed, of the entire world. As Gilbert and Sullivan might have said, everybody has a little list, and freedom will soon be missed if they cannot mail it, expand it and cultivate it into the greatest network -- or Network -- in the history of the world. Spam is how people get connected, and thus spam is how these connections will develop into the great convolution-filled cerebrum of Gaia.

But for every great thing, there are always spoilers. And in the case of spam, we have at lest two spoilers from the pseudo-libertarian backwater called lewrockwell.com -- Gary North, who has already been mentioned, and Jeff Elkins, another small mind who, like Gary, accused me of spamming him in my recent mailings to the writers at LRC. But bad as they are, their influence has not been without a positive effect, for they succeeded in making me aware of the need for a philosophical examination of spam as I have done in this essay.

The bottom line, then, is that spam is not the problem. Rather, the problem is the controlled market in which it occurs, and the eagerness of Big Ugly Government types to use the 'issue' of spam to get their greasy regulatory fingers around the throat of the greatest boon to freedom in the history of the world.

Aided, of course, by pinkie-extended pseudo-libertarians like Gary and Jeff.



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