One of the nicest things about being a mainstream supporter of the Global War on Terror is that you are blessed, for a given value of ‘blessed,’ with a collection of the vilest, most despicable, most appalling domestic enemies in recent political history. Nazis, Communists, Stalinists, Maoists, blackshirt anarchists, Jew-haters of various flavors, anti-human deep ecologists, anti-Israel conspiracy theorists… honestly, by the time that the antiwar movement was done they had managed to taint most of the groups out there that I casually despise, and virtually all of the progressive ones. I’d like to pretend that this marvelous example of contagious karma isn’t really that big a deal, but honesty forces me to admit that the nasty, somewhat cognitively challenged nature of the Other Side was a powerful factor in keeping the antiwar folks firmly under the rocks that are in fact their native environment.
I mention this because it’s exciting to see this dynamic play out over in the ‘ethical oil’ arena as well.
Ethical oil, for those who do not remember, is the brainchild of Alykhan Velshi, who recently came to the conclusion that if the United States is so determined to import foreign oil then we should at least think about the ethical and moral implications of who we’re giving money to. For example: should we import oil from, say, Saudi Arabia (where a ‘radical feminist’ is defined as ‘someone who thinks that women should be allowed to drive’), or Canada (where they inexplicably pronounce ‘out’ as ‘oot’)? Velshi thus created EthicalOil.org, which advocates increased production and exploitation of Canadian oil sands on moral and ethical grounds. They recently put out an ad on Canadian television (specifically, the Canadian Oprah Winfrey Network) that absolutely slammed the Saudis:
…and, naturally, the Saudis freaked out:
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cease and desist letter from lawyers for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demanding that approval for EthicalOil.org’s ad be withdrawn.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).
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.
Or is it? I mean, I hear that the Saudis are loaded. Not too fond of Israel, either, the last time I checked.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Hey, just asking questions, that’s all. Just wondering why progressive groups are helping out a regime that kills gays and locks up women and tries to control sexual freedom and treats its ‘guest workers’ like dirt. Just curious if liberal ideals have a price tag. Nothing wrong with asking, right? Nothing to be afraid of from a question, surely? If their hands aren’t filthy with Saudi conflict oil money, then there’s nothing to this?