Thoughts on the Nobel Peace Prize

This is something I’ve been wondering about for years, and it’s really begun to seriously bother me lately: what do you actually have to do to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

The science prizes I can understand. Make a discovery, something that either adds greatly to what we know, or overturn something we thought we knew that ends up being bogus.

But the Peace Prize? Peace isn’t exactly a term you can define scientifically or objectively–which is really the crux of the problem. Nonetheless, I think it can be demonstrated that the Peace Prize just isn’t reliable as an award.

Certainly there have been worthy recipients–Albert Schweitzer and Norman Borlaug being among the greatest. But what about the fact that Mohandas Gandhi never received one? Could there have been a greater man of peace in all of history?

And what about the numerous unworthy recipients? How did they give it to Cordell Hull, when his actions helped deny the saving of over 900 Jewish refugees, many of whom went on to die in concentration camps? How did they give it to Henry Kissinger, because he gave “peace” to Vietnam after the Cambodia bombings, the kidnappings and murders of Operation Condor, and the invasion of Cyprus?

For that matter, why was it given to Yasser Arafat, whose crimes are well-documented? What, you can get the Nobel Peace Prize if you simply stop killing people? A serial killer could get it by not killing anyone else? And that argument doesn’t even apply to Arafat–he deliberately violated, continuously, the very peace agreement that supposedly merited him this award.

And now, this year, it was given to Al Gore. This, in my opinion, makes the Nobel Peace Prize nothing more than an irrelevant joke.

Let’s not get into the controversies around Global Warming here. For the sake of the argument, let’s assume that every single thing in An Inconvenient Truth is absolutely 100% factually correct. How, by any possible definition of the word, has it achieved even an iota of peace? How many people has it saved from the horrors of war, famine, and hatred? How many people, fearfully huddling under makeshift shelters, now get to step blinking into the sun once again because of this movie? How can the same goodness and peace brought to billions of people (yes, billions) by Norman Borlaug in any way be appropriately applied to a cheesy movie based on a bad PowerPoint presentation?

Can anyone explain to me how this isn’t just a bunch of people, who happen to be on the Nobel committee, trying to prop up their political hero? How is this in any way anything other than politics?

I say that this sullies once again the name of the Nobel Peace Prize, damages the good name of Alfred Nobel, and denigrates the work done by the real peacemakers of the world and the legacies they have left behind.

The debates: NOT equal has an article about how unfair and unequal the Republican debates have been, unfairly giving more time to the ones the media has been declaring the “frontrunners”:

The justification given for this is that the voters are to see those
candidates with a legitimate shot at winning the nomination, something
that is measured by polling data and fundraising numbers. So before we
get into the polling data and the fundraising numbers, let’s see how
much each of the candidates were allowed to speak.

Our methodology for this is actually quite fool-proof. We take a
transcript of the debate and parse each of the words spoken at the
debate and count who spoke how many words…

Each of those candidates fall in line with about where they stand in
the polls and in fundraisinig. Well, except for Ron Paul. He spoke the
least of all the candidates. Now, we are not going to go so far as to
say he should get as much time as Romney or Giuliani–although it
would be fair if all the candidates spoke the same amount of time.

But we will claim it irresponsible of CNBC to censor Ron Paul to the
point that he spoke the least of every candidate including Tancredo,
Hunter, and Brownback.

They then elucidate the completely objective measures they use to make that case (emphases mine):

Ron Paul raised $5 million dollars. This translates to REAL support
and REAL people that want to hear his message. Ron Paul’s fundraising
numbers were comparable to John McCain. Mike Huckabee was only able to
garner about $1 million dollars…Ron Paul is sitting at double
among moderates in New Hampshire and and at 8% in Michigan (the
state in which this debate took place). And the Republican party is
doing a disservice if they try to silence the moderate voice. Read our
article on "Ron Paul Surging in the Polls Among Moderates"…Ron Paul has won 15 straw polls (
nationwide, more than Huckabee, Hunter, Tancredo, Brownback combined!
Heck we could even add John McCain to that list and Ron Paul would have
beaten them all…He has more monthly visitors to his campaign website than any of the
other candidates
–including the top tier. The graph is going up, yet
more signs of a surge.

It would be even more impressive if they had considered the source of the money raised, the support garnered, and how the money was spent. For example, he didn’t have to buy his victory in the straw polls like Mitt Romney. All he had to do was show up.

They give an example of the blatant bias:

The biggest evidence of such blatant censorship of Ron Paul came when
Rudy Giuliani challenged Ron Paul by name saying “Where was he on
9/11?”…When a candidate is addressed by name it is only
common courtesy to give him time for a rebuttal. Nope, they did not
even give him the courtesy of standing amongst the candidates–always
at the edge and having the least amount of speaking time.

Yeah, because Giuliani’s probably remembering how badly he got schooled when Dr. Paul had the chance to speak in response to him. Paul’s assertions are backed up by the evidence and the experts agree with him. Giuliani can’t make that claim.

What’s the big problem with simply giving all of the candidates equal time, and allowing them to respond when addressed by name? Or is that too much equality and fairness for the big parties and corporations who want to keep gaming the system?