(Author's note: I was not actually that sure what to do with this little essay... thing... blabbery. Since it was inspired by a thread in a writing forum, in a blogging subforum, I decided to, um, post it in a blog that I... do... about writing. Or something. It's kind of grossly off topic in regards to Avarthrel. But it certainly is on topic as far as my own writing is concerned. You can't get more writing-like text from me, no!)
Since the dawn of time, spammers have been saying any attempts to curb spam is violating their freedom of speech. On the other side of the fence, this is basically same as the "I don't want to rule this blog like a tyrant" mindset: some people would just prefer everyone would be free to say what they want, even if it's annoying the hell out of everyone else.
But a person's freedom of speech doesn't mean everyone else has an unwavering duty to listen to what the person says. A person's freedom of speech also doesn't mean that everyone else has an unwavering duty to carry the messages and spread the word.
This is what things boil down to: People think of "freedom" and "duty" together. Human beings have freedoms and duties. Freedoms entail duties, right? You have the freedom, and the others have a duty?
That doesn't sound right, am I correct? But that's exactly what the argument says: freedom of speech means that other people have the duty to listen.
(This is Philosophy. And this is Bullshit. And I'm running out of coffee. Wait, I'm just getting started! Oh hoh hoh ho!)
On the flip side of a basic freedom, a basic human right, one is not supposed to find a binding requirement for the rest of humanity. True freedom can only be achieved through assuming other people are free from any causality resulting in from your freedom. In other words, you can say what you want, but that means you should not be alarmed if the crowd says "meh". You'd also better expect the owner of the medium you used to say what you said to bill you for the expenses incurred. That's their right.
So, freedoms of individuals don't entail duties for other people. There is another rule, however, which is much more applicable: power entails responsibility. People have power through free speech. With that, they have the responsibility to not annoy people through misapplied words - and to not cause problems in the process of exercising that power.
That was the big problem with the "free speech for spammers too" argument: Freedoms and duties are only related to one individual. Your freedom entails duties to you. It entails headaches for other people if you don't be careful.
Of course, freedom of speech is useless without people who listen. People who are concerned about other peoples' freedom of speech should not fight the people who have denied other people the right - or at least not until all other venues have been exhausted. In case of spam, I'm sure there usually are plenty of more suitable venues for commercial announcements that operate in a little bit less annoying manner. That, too, is a key issue in delivering messages: people want to listen to things on their terms. They like appropriate messages in appropriate contexts, delivered for appropriate purposes. Spammers fail on many of these areas.
We say things because we need to. We listen because we want to.
(I didn't study law and philosophy! A decade's worth of rubbish legal arguments from spammers is all anyone ever needs to get done some serious debate about human rights and proper online behaviour!)