So, Al Gore, and the United Nations’ Let’s Scare the Living Hell out of Everybody About Global Warming Committee, has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Let’s see the hand of anyone who was surprised by this.
I didn’t think so.
That a genuine lunatic like Al Gore and a bunch of self-important UN bureaucrats should get an award for advancing peace, when what they’ve been doing is disturbing it, surely demonstrates that it’s long past time for the name of the award to be changed from the Nobel Peace Prize to the Nobel Left-Wing Nut-Bag of the Year Award. The prize and the politicized Norwegian nonentities who award it have nothing to do with peace. Hell, you can even be a terrorist (see Yasser Arafat) and get a prize for peace from this bunch of moonbats.
The Very Most Reverend Gore, Archbishop of the First Church of Chicken Little, was honored (if such this truly peculiar prize is) for his long-running, hysterical, and easily refutable assertions that if we don’t turn the economy and all energy decisions immediately over to him, the planet is toast. The chief showcase for Al’s preposterous claims is his celluloid Jeremiad, An Inconvenient Truth. This truly awful movie, while it may have convinced and alarmed the easily-excited and/or those of an un-analytical cast, is nothing but an unbroken string of non-sequiturs to viewers with a passing acquaintance of either logic or the scientific method.
But let’s leave the arguments on the merits of global warming and its alarums aside and keep our eyes on the prize. The usual suspects — newsreaders, commentators, politicians, professors of this and that — squandered a good deal of time and breath this past weekend prattling on about how winning the prize increases Earth-tone Al’s stature (but, hopefully, not his waistline — his butt print is already bigger than his carbon footprint). But why should it? Just what is the Nobel Peace Prize? Who decides who gets it? And why should it be important? (I obviously hope to convince you it isn’t.)
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by something called the Norwegian Nobel Institute. This outfit was set up by one Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1897), a Swedish inventor and chemist who, among other things, invented dynamite. Over his lifetime Nobel accumulated 355 patents and lots of money. He died one of the wealthiest men in Europe. In his will he directed that the interest from his money should go to people whose work has benefited mankind.
In addition to the peace prize, the Nobel Institute established prizes in the areas of chemistry, physics, and medicine. Over the years, these prizes have mostly gone to scientists of genuine achievement. The literature prize is more quirky, and with the well-deserved exception of V.S. Naipaul has in recent years gone mostly to left-humbugs (Harold Pinter — give me strength). But the peace prize has been the most quirky and most political of all. Today it amounts to little more than a big, wet tongue-kiss from the Left.
The winner of the peace prize is chosen by the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, all members of the Norwegian Parliament. So, as Paul Newman’s Butch Cassidy famously asked in one of the most charming westerns ever made, “Who are these guys?”
Well, they are: Dr. Ole Danbolt Mjos (think little crosses through most of the O’s while reading these names), president of U. of Tramso; Berge Ragnar Furre, professor of theology, U. of Oslo; Sissel Marie Ronbeck, deputy director, Directorate for Cultural Heritage; Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, political advisor to the Progress Party; and, not least, Kaci Kullman Five, described as a self-employed public affairs advisor, chairman of the Young Conservatives, and a former Minister for Trade.
Oh. Those guys.
So, why it is we’re supposed to attach importance to a committee of five obscure academics and politicos living in a small (Norway has slightly more than one-fourth the population of Florida), frozen Scandinavian country, known mostly for bitter cold winter nights and casseroles made with cream of mushroom soup? Why should anyone give a big Norway rat’s patootie what these five supernumeraries think? Judging by recent Nobel laureates (the pretentious word they use for the wing-nuts they decorate), what they think is downright eccentric. Or is just taken straight from the Marxist playbook.
The peace prize used to have something to do with peace. Teddy Roosevelt won the prize in 1906 for drawing up the 1905 peace treaty between Russia and Japan. But of late the prize has fallen on hard times. Giving people like Jimmy Carter, Le Duc Tho, Yasser Arafat, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Kofi Annan awards for advancing world peace is a bit like giving George Steinbrenner and Terrell Owens awards for humility. The Nobel guys as much as admitted they gave the prize to Jimmy Carter in 2002 just to stick a thumb in W’s eye. The prize has become a parody of itself. It should be of interest only to regular readers of the Nation, the New York Times, and other obscure leftist newsletters.
Speaking of letters, before I get some nasty ones from folks whose last names are Something-or-Other-Quist, let me quickly add that Norwegians are doubtless a benign lot, and surely count many sweet people among their numbers (small though those numbers are). But there’s simply no reason to take the Norwegian peace prize committee members and their left-phantasms seriously. Five foolish people have lifted up a Narcissistic and delusional huckster for the world to admire. Bah humbug.
On the strength of the peace prize winners over last three decades, it’s clear to me that a committee chosen randomly out of the phone book could do a better job. A group of regular, walking-around civilians like this might even choose someone who has actually done something to advance peace.