A Cheapened Nobel

By now, the derision and laughter created by Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize is old news. But if you still don’t believe that it was politically inspired, you might want to consider from whence it sprang.

The five-person committee that awards the prize is a creature of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting. The body, controlled by the Labour Party, has, you might say, something of a leftist tilt. Here are some of its recent high jinks: 

Firms face quota deadline

Norway’s center-left government has issued a warning to 140 companies that still don’t have enough women on their boards of directors: Appoint more, or be dissolved.

Government  [Equality] minister Karita Bekkemellem intends to enforce Norway’s law requiring that at least 40 percent of the boards of stocklisted companies be made up of female directors….

Bekkemellem told newspaper Aftenposten on Friday that those companies failing to meet the quota will face involuntary dissolution from January 1. Many are within traditionally male-oriented branches like the offshore oil industry, shipping and finance.

Among the firms targeted on Bekkemellem’s list are some fairly large companies including Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA, securities firm Carnegie ASA, Awilco Offshore and Frontier Drilling. Some of the stocklisted companies have no women at all on their boards of directors, including DNO, Ocean Rig, PetroJack and Teco Maritime.

"My advice to them is that they take responsibility and find the women they need," she said. She called the law "historic and radical," and said it will be enforced.

Clearly, the prize falls outside the standards set in the 1895 will of the engineer Dr. Alfred Bernhard Nobel,  which ordered that his “remaining realizable estate” shall be awarded in five equal parts to people who have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” The standard for the Peace Prize portion requires that the recipient “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.”

Oh, yeah? Gore’s nominating papers supposedly should do the impossible: show how he campaigned against standing armies, global fraternalism or peace congresses. But those details are closed to public inspection for 50 years, according to Nobel rules.

Such fudging didn’t bother Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine’s chief global warming propagandist, who linked global warming to all sorts of global conflicts by making a global-sized stretch in logic: 

Gore’s win was widely expected, but there may still be those who wonder how an environmentalist could be, as the Peace Prize’s description goes, the person who has "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations." They shouldn’t. Climate change is already a key instigator of conflict in areas like Darfur, where drought likely worsened by global warming helped trigger a civil war that has claimed over 200,000 lives.

As the IPCC’s [U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] own reports this year show, unabated global warming will likely lead to competition for increasingly scarce resources and create waves of climate refugees in the hottest and poorest nations. A warmer world will almost certainly be a more violent one, so it’s fitting that those who’ve done the most on climate change should be celebrated as warriors for peace.

How appropriate that such “progressive” (i.e., flexible) reasoning is used to justify a clear violation of the rules. Rules are meant to be broken; the end justifies the means. The end here, of course, is to shove a sharp stick in the eye of America and President George W. Bush.

To get its licks in at America, the committee reportedly bypassed real peace activists and nominees such as Irene Sendler of Poland, who saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Holocaust.

There’s also Thich Quang Do. In case you never heard of him, here’s a glimpse:

Thich Quang Do is an intellectual leader and a unifying force in his home country [Vietnam]. A monk, researcher and author, he has devoted his life to the advancement of justice and the Buddhist tradition of non-violence, tolerance and compassion. Through political petitions Thich Quang Do has challenged the authorities to engage in dialogue on democratic reforms, pluralism, freedom of religion, human rights and national reconciliation. This has provided force and direction to the democracy movement. But he has paid a high price for his activism. Thich Quang Do has spent a total of 25 years in prison and today, at 77, he is still under house arrest. From here, he continues the struggle. As deputy leader of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Thich Quang Do is strongly supported by Vietnam’s numerous Buddhists. He also receives broad support from other religious communities as well as from veterans of the Communist Party. Thich Quang Do plays a key role in the work of reconciling dissidents from North and South Vietnam.

In comparison, Gore is a merely a huckster with a Power Point presentation. When you see who the politically inspired Nobel committee by-passed, it makes you want to cry. It’s just a shame that an internationally respected honor has been dirtied by the parochial and small minds in Norway for such ugly political reasons.