Never thought I’d feel sympathy for a telemarketer, but get an earful of this. My heart goes out to the poor guy. Kind of. Despite the caller’s general craziness, she does raise a point with him that I’ve tried before in conversations with telemarketers: The practice violates the categorical imperative, from which all moral action derives (according to Kant, and I agree):
Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.
In other words, don’t do anything that you don’t think all other people should also be allowed to do in the same situation. In context, one should engage in telemarketing only if one believes that all marketers should be allowed to call people in their homes. Consider the massive amount of advertising around us at all times, and imagine that every advertiser pushed their product by calling people at home. Universalizing the practice of telemarketing to all practitioners would make the telephone utterly useless, since it would never stop ringing, much as e-mail spam has diminished the viability of e-mail (which is only rescued through the application of great piles of technology).
When faced with the categorical imperative (though of course the caller does not call it that :), the telemarketer starts to lie to cover his position, saying that marketers do call his home phone all day every day, and that he doesn’t mind a bit.
Unfortunately, the caller’s philosophically sound position is completely blown out of the water by absolutely insane levels of hysteria.