This ad ran in Canada last month, deliciously enough on the Canadian Oprah Winfrey Network…
Naturally, the premise behind the ad is questionable. Oil is fungible, so if you’re buying oil from Canadian tar sands all it really means is that somebody else is buying oil from the Saudis. They’ll get their money one way or the other – unless, of course, you boycott their oil and get lots of other people to do the same. In that case the remaining buyers would be in a strong enough position to make low-ball bids on Saudi oil with a reasonable expectation that the Saudis would be desperate enough to accept them. Even that’s dubious, because since the Saudi royal family controls oil production there and those people have all the money in the world even if they never sell another drop they’d simply reduce production to meet lesser demand for their product.
But that’s an economic discussion. From a strategic standpoint there are far better reasons to get Canadian tar sands production up as much as possible in order to replace supply from hostile or unstable countries. First, if Canada is rich they’ll buy more American manufactured products. Second, Canada is a lot more stable potential supply of oil; the Canadians aren’t going to have a revolution anytime soon. And third, in the event we get into a war in the Middle East which involves the Saudis cutting off oil or Iran interfering with the supply, the disruption in our economy that could cause makes Canada a far better trading partner.
None of which is addressed in the ad, because most people don’t think strategically or rationally about this kind of stuff. They do, however, think emotionally – and that’s why the Left manages to get so much traction from arguments which are generally pretty stupid. And if the Saudis are bad, and they are, then emotionally we shouldn’t be supporting them by buying their oil.
All that said, the Saudis still freaked out about the ad and let their lawyers loose on the Canadian censors in an effort to stop it (unsuccessfully, as it happened, because the ad finished its run and will re-air on another network)…
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an oil rich dictatorship, has moved to censor a Canadian television ad that educates Canadian consumers about the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia and the role played by Saudi oil exports in enabling this oppression. The ad can be viewed here.
On September 6, 2011, Telecaster Services from the Television Bureau of Canada, the advertising review and clearance service funded by Canada’s private broadcasters, notified EthicalOil.org that it had received a cease and desist letter from lawyers for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demanding that approval for EthicalOil.org’s ad be withdrawn. Telecaster Services had approved the ethical oil spot on August 18, 2011 and the ad subsequently ran and completed its run of schedule on the Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada).
RedState’s Moe Lane picks up the story from there, because it twists and turns a little…
Please note that the ad wasn’t actually taken down (it had already finished its run), and in fact it will be running again on a different network. It’s not very surprising that the Saudis went nuts over this – wasps hate being stung, and all that – but what is a bit surprising is that allegedly progressive groups like ThinkProgress or CREDO Action (or Big Green in general) have obediently lined up behind the Saudis. I mean, I think that it was Jim Geraghty who argues that the notorious dystopian screed The Handmaid’s Tale works far better as a description of Saudi Arabian societal trends than it ever did as a warning about Evangelical American ones; it’s astounding that progressive groups would so quickly join a cause favored by such… advocates.
That the Left would join on the Saudi side isn’t surprising – they never seem to cease backing Arab and Muslim causes against Western civilization, and they REALLY don’t like having their tactics used against them.
But it is instructive that the Left would be more opposed to oil from the Canadian tar sands than from a place where almost all of the people who make up its coalition from a social standpoint – feminists, gays, militant atheists, sexual libertines, ethnic identity groups and so on – are explicitly regarded as objects of public scorn. They really do hate commerce more than they love their own way of life.
Or maybe someone should look into some of the funding of some of these groups. The public has the right to know who’s backing them.