The new Audi TDI ad was one of the more provocative commercials shown during the Super Bowl.
The commercial opens with an unsuspecting grocery shopper asking for a plastic shopping bag rather than paper. He is immediately taken into custody by the “Green Police.” As his head is being slammed into the check-out counter the green officer barks, “You picked the wrong day to mess with the eco-system plastic boy!” The spot ends with a long line of cars stopped at an “Eco-check point.” An officer spots the Audi. “TDI here,” he observes. “Clean diesel.” The officer then nods to the driver, “you’re good to go sir.” The driver smiles and then speeds past the traffic jam. The tag line reads: “Green has never felt so good.”
More fascinating than the commercial is the fact that certain environmental Cassandras claim the commercial speaks for them. David Roberts, for instance, writing in the Huffington Post, argues that “the ad only makes sense if it is aimed at people that acknowledge the moral authority of the green police.” Indeed the driver never challenges the moral authority of the green police. To the contrary, the Audi driver is actually subordinate to that authority. The driver is only able to by-pass the eco check point because his car passes muster. The message of the commercial is that it is possible to be both stylish and eco friendly.
My question to those “that acknowledge the moral authority of the green police”: from where does that authority come? The question is rarely asked by the likes of Roberts because they don’t like the answer.
There are certain universal, objective and immutable truths to which all men are bound. These truths do not come to us through law, statutes or even science, but are instead the gift of divine revelation. It is in order to protect these truths that societies create institutions. The lengths through which our institutions go in conserving and furthering these truths can only be discovered through a process of rational and prudent deliberation. Science is but one of those processes.