There is a fair bit of junk mail (in particular, credit card offers) that one certainly does not want to simply toss in the trash without first shredding. Just throwing the entire envelope into the shredder is usually not a good idea either. One must open it and shred it a few pages at a time, which makes it difficult to "avert the eyes."
That depends on the person. Some people will chuck the intact envelope, others tear it up, some will shred, and I'm confident that a few people out there put it in a burn bag.
If you want to make extra work for yourself, that's fine, but you'd only have yourself, or at most identity theives to blame -- not junk mailers. They aren't responsible for either.
Furthermore, a lot of spam is made to look like something important like bills or mail you actually want (two separate categories there), which further increases the costs of sorting through the mail and means that sometimes one must actually open and read a piece of junk mail to make sure it really is junk mail.
Yeah, I've seen those from time to time. It's still not problematic. Never is it affirmatively deceptive, though. Just because one might get junk mail that looks like a personal letter (the Jehovah's Witnesses did this to me once -- and it was literally handwritten by whoever had been going door to door when I was out) that is basically mail slipping through one's mental filters as it were. But the mailer isn't lying about what it is, so what's the foul? It's no different than weighing one ad campaign against another and going with the one that's more effective.
Therefore, "the `captive' audience cannot avoid objectionable speech."
Of course you can. Burn all incoming mail and instead rely on electronic billing. You DON'T have to receive this stuff.
Nor are you captive. You can always request that particular mails not be sent to you, just as you can request that door-to-door solicitors not approach. But you have to take that step. Unless you do something, you're assumed to be open to accepting whatever comes in. That's the reality of how our society works. Passively sorting through it and junking it doesn't make clear to the world that you don't want it.
Now to address the argument that it doesn't matter that junk mail incurs a cost to the recipient: What the fuck are you smoking? Do you mean to say that it would be perfectly acceptable for me to snailmail you this comment and require you to pay for the paper, postage, etc?
If that were routine practice with regards to all forms of mail, then yes.
When I have a mailing address, I realize that getting mail, sorting it, etc. is going to consume my time. It's part of the deal. Likewise for a phone and telemarketing calls. Having an email account on the Internet means people will send me mail, and it's up to me to deal with it. This is the intrinsic nature of these modes of communication. It's what they're for, and pursuant to the Superchicken rule, I knew that when I signed up for 'em.
I can minimize it, maybe even eliminate it, but it's not something I can assume will happen magically just because it is convenient for me.
Nor should it, probably, since on the whole I would prefer it if people had to suffer with disposing with unwanted speech on a per-person, per-incident basis than be so paternalistic as to assume that no one should send or get things that I might not want to get, just because I personally dislike it.
When you have free speech there is going to be speech that you don't like. I can live with that. Much as I hate ads wherever I encounter them, I would rather have them than live in a society so oppressed that we didn't have them.
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
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