Nobel Peace Prize is slipping into irrelevance
OTTAWA — My mother could have told you why giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union would produce such a predictable and deserved outpouring of derision. An aspiring writer, she took a creative writing course. One of the assignments was to describe a single person from the perspective of several others. She roped me in by asking me to describe what I thought of my elementary school principal. How did the principal look? my mother asked.
Not too bad for someone who is a 100 years old or whatever she is, I replied.
Her teachers’ response? This told the reader a lot more about me than it did about my principal, which wasn’t the point of the exercise.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize to the EU likewise tells us a lot more about who is giving the prize than it does about the worthiness of the recipient.
For those of you hazy about how the prize is awarded, the rules were established under the will of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who made a fortune selling things like explosives. Perhaps he had a guilty conscience. Be that as it may, he gave the job of awarding the Peace Prize (as distinct from Nobels for, say, medicine or physics) to a committee chosen by the Norwegian parliament.
What was the prize to be for? According to Norwegian lawyer Frederik Heffermehl, who has studied Nobel’s will and intentions, "(T)his is not a prize for peace but a prize for champions of peace." (continue reading...)