Strange new world

Ideas@TheCentre – The CIS newsletter (Sydney), 12 February 2010

The US Super Bowl is not only a great sports event, it’s also the best showcase of the advertising industry’s creativity. To place their 30-second commercials in one of the breaks, companies reportedly fork out between US$2 million and US$3 million.

Given these prices and the huge publicity, we can reasonably assume that a lot of thought goes into every single Super Bowl ad. This makes the choice of German car maker Audi even stranger to introduce us to the strange new world of eco-fascism.

In Audi’s ecological dictatorship, people are arrested for possessing a plastic bag or an incandescent light bulb; the green police will knock on your door if they suspect you set the temperature of your jacuzzi too high. And it’s a world where drivers of gas-guzzling cars get into trouble with the eco cops – unless they drive an allegedly more fuel-efficient Audi.

Mind you, Audi is the same company that gave the world the V12 TDI R8. Its huge 373kW and 1,000 Newtonmeters of torque are just what’s needed to get to your local organic whole foods store in style.

Watching the Audi commercial, it was hard to fathom whether it was all satire or serious. But given the Germans’ obvious lack of humour, perhaps it was the latter.

Whatever it was meant to be, though, it was a chilling vision of our ecologically correct future. Or actually, it was just a small step from the present.

Westfield shopping centres have announced they would reserve special spots for hybrids in their car parks. At some Sydney bookstores, customers still requesting a shopping bag are frowned upon and have to pay extra. Airlines try to hassle their passengers into purchasing carbon certificates to make up for their sinful emissions.

And don’t forget that importing incandescent light bulbs into Australia already constitutes a punishable offence. Which makes you wonder whether sniffer dogs can actually detect the 100-watt bulbs hidden in your suitcase?

What once was a reasonable movement to protect the environment has turned into a misanthropic substitute religion. Ecology has been replaced by ecologism, and our civil liberties are being sacrificed on our behalf by self-appointed high priests of environmental correctness.

If at some stage in the future people should wonder when enviro-fundamentalism became mainstream, it was probably in the commercial break of the 2010 Super Bowl.

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