home > archive > 2002 > this article
The leftist prize
By Jorn K. Baltzersen
Across the street from the American Embassy in Oslo lies the Norwegian Nobel Institute, which houses the Norwegian Nobel Committee, responsible for awarding the notorious Nobel Peace Prize.
The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are elected for a period of 6 years. There are 5 members in total, and they are elected such that 2 or 3 members are up for election every 3 years. The committee is elected by the Norwegian Parliament. The committee members have, since the start of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, all but two, had partisan affiliation. The committee has all too often been leftist dominated. One might wonder how anyone in his right mind could have assigned the appointment of such a committee to the Norwegian Parliament.
The Nobel Peace Prize is often considered to be the highest ranking of the Nobel prizes. You might wonder why. It is awarded by a politically elected committee, whose members' political backgrounds all too often have been dubious, to say the least. The other prizes aren't polluted by politics in the same way, perhaps with the exception of the literature prize, which should give them the higher rank. The Peace Prize is received from the hands of a mere committee chairman. The other prizes are received from the hands of a head of state, namely the King of Sweden. And last but not least; a lot of the committee decisions are clear proofs of poor judgment.
What are the merits of the Norwegian Nobel Committee? For 1919 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize. He was the founder of the League of Nations, which failed. He redesigned Europe from behind his desk, thinking that would actually work out. His bad solution was a major cause of World War II. Apart from that he did help Europeans win a war, and honor to him for that, but that was not why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1969 the prize was awarded to the International Labor Organization, an organization promoting "social justice", trade union rights, and labor legislation. This organization is an advocate of "positive" rights, in the sense that employees have the right to something that belongs to employers, or to the tax payers.
In 1973 Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were awarded the prize for ending the Vietnam war. As John McCain so eloquently put it, the wrong side won the Vietnam war. The biggest problem with the Vietnam war was that American forces were not allowed to win it. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for the peace accord was absolutely, without a doubt, bad judgment.
The prize was awarded to Amnesty International in 1977. This organization seems more concerned with capital punishment for serious crimes in the United States than the death penalty for petty crimes in China. Lately, Amnesty International has tended to believe that "positive" rights, such as the right to a paid vacation, are as important as "negative" rights, such as the freedom from torture. Of course, this is how the organization is today, but it still says something about an organization which has the "glory" and "honor" of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the prize in 1990. Some people actually believe he brought an end to the Cold War. However, Ronald Reagan left him little choice. If someone should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Cold War, it should have been Ronald Reagan. The leftist committee didn't seem to care about that. Instead it awarded the prize to the man who later founded Green Cross International, an organization which today is part of the global governance movement. By the way, Gorbachev's ambition was actually to save communism.
Yasser Arafat was awarded the prize in 1994. That decision speaks for itself. At least a member of the committee had the decency to step down in protest.
In 1995 Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs were awarded the prize for their work against nuclear arms. The press release ended with the following sentence: "It is the Committee's hope that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1995 to Rotblat and Pugwash will encourage world leaders to intensify their efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons." Do Rotblat, Pugwash, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee believe that you can pass a law to make nuclear arms vanish from the face of the earth? Fact is that the knowledge of nuclear arms will always exist, and as it does, the world would be safer if civilized nations have nuclear arms instead of only "rogue" states or organizations having them, maybe without our knowing it before it is too late.
Another peacenik award came in 1997. Jody Williams and her International Campaign to Ban Landmines got the prize. Yes, landmines harm civilians years after the end of a war. However, war is serious business, and it is material in a war to protect one's military in an effective way, and to prevent the advancement of enemy forces. Abandoning the use of landmines is in this sense bad war business. But peaceniks don't care about such protection. They just care about their non-violence utopia.
The latest prize went to the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan for "their work for a better organized and more peaceful world". What is a "better organized" world? Of course, we need a common framework within which we can interact in an ever more globalized world. What we do not need is the world of the global governance movement. The global governance agenda is a threat to liberty. Is the Norwegian Nobel Committee embracing the global governance agenda? There should be no doubt that it isn't. However, we do not know. This month the U.N. is holding the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. At this conference the U.N. may be embarking on leading the world on the road to serfdom through global tax policy and cooperation. The U.N. certainly has been preparing for it.
Why is this leftist prize so high ranking? It beats me!
By the way, you might have heard of the announcement of a nomination of U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair for this year's prize as the February 1 postmark deadline closed. Forget about it! Today's committee has two members from the Labor Party, one member from the Socialist Left Party, and one member being a bishop from Norway's religious left. The latter publicly asked that the bombing of Afghanistan be stopped, and that we should sit down and talk instead. All in all, the committee has 4 clear leftists. Probably, for all they care, Bush is a warmonger. They would never award Bush, or Blair for that matter, let alone for the war on terrorism. That would indeed be too good to be true!
Jorn K. Baltzersen is a Norwegian conservative. He lives in Oslo, Norway, where he works as a senior consultant of information technology. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Other related articles: (open in a new window)
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!
© 1996-2019, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.
You've seen the banner,
now order the gear!
Visit ESR's anti-gun control gear web site for T-shirts, mugs and mousepads!