Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Prize Barack Obama’

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.

Why President Obama Deserves the Nobel Prize

The creator of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, was not a war profiteer except in the minds of those that don’t read history.  The perception that he was lead to his creation of the Nobel prizes.  He created the Peace Prize as an act of atonement for that which was yet to be done in his name. The Nobel Peace Prize was the most nebulous of the five prizes created and from his last will and testament was to be for those that during the preceding year […] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The world is filled with hate, fear, hopeless and helplessness.  T here are those that would profit from this by making war, creating more hate, fear, hopelessness and helplessness and thereby making  more profit. So we must not forget Theodore Roosevelt’s words as he accepted the 1906 Nobel Peace prize:

There is at least as much need to curb the cruel greed and arrogance of part of the world of capital, to curb the cruel greed and violence of part of the world of labor, as to check a cruel and unhealthy militarism in international relationships.

These were no idle words from a Liberal Republican that would become a Progressive. He would go on to say:

No nation deserves to exist if it permits itself to lose the stern and virile virtues; and this without regard to whether the loss is due to the growth of a heartless and all-absorbing commercialism, to prolonged indulgence in luxury and soft, effortless ease, or to the deification of a warped and twisted sentimentality.

Elihu Root, Republican defender of the robber barons and Peace Prize winner of 1912, also found atonement in arbitrating peace after profiting from defending theft:

The humanitarian purpose of Alfred Nobel in establishing the peace prize which bears his name was doubtless not merely to reward those who should promote peace among nations, but to stimulate thought upon the means and methods best adapted, under the changing conditions of future years, to approach and ultimately attain the end he so much desired.

The first Democrat to be the benefactor of the Progressive Era, was the Conservative * Woodrow Wilson, the 1919 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He commented on the peculiar grouping of prizes thusly:

There is indeed a peculiar fitness in the grouping of these Nobel rewards. The cause of peace and the cause of truth are of one family. Even as those who love science and devote their lives to physics or chemistry, even as those who would create new and higher ideals for mankind in literature, even so with those who love peace, there is no limit set. Whatever has been accomplished in the past is petty compared to the glory and promise of the future.

What is most notable about these three highly successful men who fought long for the common man is that they were awarded the Peace Prize for a single meager attempt at sustained peace, although frequently they achieved larger victories otherwise, ultimately they failed to prevent the two world wars.  The small accomplishment of the year prior to the prize is its rationale and only shows an expression of the winner’s intent to achieve peace. It was an intent that shaped each of their life’s work from that day forward.

It is with these thoughts that I measure the Peace Prize that was won by President Obama.  Alfred Nobel established it to atone for his perceived wrongs that he had not committed, but the future surely would commit. Each winner through one or a few small deeds in the prior year backed by a lifetime of thought and speech changed the temper of their times, each  turned to the plight of the common man and ultimately to peace to give back what was so bountiful in their life, each was involved in war as much as they were involved in peace, each was as much a thinker as a doer, each may share Nobel’s intent to atone for perceived wrongs beyond what can reasonably be expected.  Such is the character of a Peace Prize winner; such is the character of each American that has won the prize.  I am proud of our country as the beacon on the hill that all look up to and most proud when we earn it.

For a look from the other side you might want to click here.

* Note that in the election of 1912 of the three candidates running Theodore Roosevelt was considered a socially liberal Progressive and was mostly Republican in regard to being a hawk on the war, whereas Woodrow Wilson came from a Conservative Southern Democratic background and was a social conservative, who happened to have some progressive ideas.  Of the two, todays liberals would consider Theodore Roosevelt more of a liberal and Woodrow Wilson more of a bigot.

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