The ethics of Ezra Levant’s Ethical Oil in 2 tweets

Here is Sun News Network’s Ezra “Mr Day, can Logan come out and play?” Levant chastising children’s singer Raffi “Don’t mention that Beluga” Cavoukian that there is a moral choice to be made over where one chooses to purchase oil from. Levant – coiner of the term “Ethical Oil” – feels that oil produced in Canada’s Tar Sands (Canada being a country with a strong human rights record) is morally superior to oil produced in countries such as Libya, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia, countries whose human rights records are very much less [cough] than sterling.

Me being me I decide to set aside whether there are other considerations – such as massive environmental damage – that might also play a part when determining the morality of Canada’s oil and to take Levant’s stance on it’s own terms. So, sez me, “If you truly believe Saudi oil is unethical, why aren’t you advocating for a ban on Saudi imports?” And Twitter being Twitter I get a response back:

Ah, you see! It would be nice, but if we don’t buy Saudi oil then someone else will so we might as well buy it. If we are to believe the United States and Canada bans oil imports from Iran for moral, rather than political, reasons then Levant’s “ethical argument” falls apart internally. We are buying Saudi oil because China and India would just buy it anyway but we won’t buy Iran’s oil…even though China and India are buying it anyway.

Er….huh? If Levant was truly concerned about morality he would argue for the purchase of Canada’s oil exclusively.

You could waste a lot of time arguing over what country is more “moral” – absolutist Saudi Arabia with it’s beheadings and stonings or limited democracy Iran with it’s stonings. Suffice it to say both countries have problematic human rights records and lengthy sections on both Amnesty International’s and Human Rights Watch’s websites that it’s a toss up. The only difference between the two is Saudi Arabia is the West’s ally while Iran is not.

Which makes the ethics of Ezra Levant’s Ethical Oil extremely…relative.

It’s almost as if it’s not really a question of morality than one of marketing…to a domestic Canadian audience that a sizable portion of which does take other considerations – such as massive environmental damage – to determine the cost, moral and otherwise, of Tar Sand oil.

Now this has been pointed out by others before, but it’s funny to see Ezra Levant’s argument collapse upon itself in 2 tweets.

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