The Nobel Peace Prize, The Excluded Middle & Not Glenn Beck

The Nobel Peace Prize, The Excluded Middle & Not Glenn Beck

Aristotle said that people are political animals, that is to say they are social animals.  The recent Rasmussen Reports: on “whether the President deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and whether it is political” is an absurd poll.  The poll itself was obviously done only for political purposes and the questions reflect that purpose.  If we asked how many people believed in aliens, and then asked if those aliens were likely to back a Right Wing or a Left Wing agenda, then we would have had similar results. We could substitute any random idea for aliens here, but aliens will do. The real point here is that the idea that the prize is politically motivated has always been true.  What hasn’t always been true is that political motivation was not always a dirty word meaning that there was a hidden partisan agenda behind the selection. A valid visible political motivation would include that he deserved it due his attempts to change the world’s view on peace itself.  This can be seen by his acceptance speech, which has now disenchanted the Left as much as his nomination disenchanted the Right.

The reason that such distinctions are important is that they illustrate an alarming trend in thought in this country.  What is wrong with the poll is not the questions it contains, but the questions/options that are missing.  It includes no middle ground, no alternative options.  The question of the political role in the prizes can be presumed to have one connotative meaning and imply that the only alternatives are that it is rigged or not rigged. The answer that it is rigged flies in the face of it being considered the most prestigious award that can be given.  So one of my premises must be wrong or the law of the excluded middle is wrong.  The premise that people that think the prize is political, meaning it is biased, is flawed. The implication that it is connotatively construed as bad does not hold unless we would consider that people are paying more attention, think it more prestigious, yet think it is biased. Some would actually have you entertain this as true even though they don’t know the difference between Republican Theodore Roosevelt and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt.

So let us consider the idea that the political motivation is a bias toward the left. The oft-quoted error is that there was no Republican president that has won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Theodore Roosevelt was a liberal Republican President that won the prize and became Progressive after the disenchantment of his party with him.  The progressive roots of the Republican party run deep from its inception and those roots have been lopped off each time they looked south. Woodrow Wilson was a conservative Democrat that had some progressive ideas which emerged as he abandoned his Southern roots.  Nothing is black or white. The error in thinking is the same as in the poll. It is the fallacy of the excluded middle.

2 responses to this post.

  1. That poll represents much of what’s wrong with political discourse in general. There is one absolute or the other, no in between. Consider Afghanistan. Conventional wisdom, largely fueled by the drumbeat of the press and pundits, who remind that it has been the ‘graveyard of empires’ says it is ‘unwinnable’. No one really listened to the President’s Nobel speech very carefully, where he never defines empire as the terms of victory in Afghanistan. Dismantle Al Qaeda, weaken the Taliban, stabilize local, regional and central govts, say goodbye.

    Neither side really gets that. On the left, he’s criticized for warmongering. On the right, for whatever they can find to take a shot because they’re…right-wingers. In the middle, a whole bunch of Americans who feel that he’s doing the right thing for the country even though they really don’t understand what that is.

    It makes me want to scream, that our country as a whole has come to rely on institutions that profit from outlandish and biased reports without any sense as to where the truth is.

    Reply

  2. The only education we need in this country is facilitating people to learn to think. The only education we are afraid to give people is allowing them to learn to critically think on their own. The fact that critical thought is content and value free scares the daylights out of the Right and the Left.

    Reply

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