…sort of like the Academy Awards.
The ex-Secretary for the Nobel Prize Geir Lundestad admitted in a recent interview that President Barack Obama did not deserve the 2009 prize but was given the award to strengthen Obama politically. This is, or should be, no surprise. However, the brazen admission is nauseating.
Not only were there real, deserving candidates for the prize. it is clear that they were passed over in a cynical effort to influence U.S. politics and policy. In his memoir entitled Secretary of Peace, Lundestad writes, “No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama . . . Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake. In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.”
By using Nobel’s honor this way, the committee devalued the award for all past and future recipients, no matter how deserving. Lundestad, meanwhile, shows that those who have controlled the most ethics oriented of major awards have no comprehension of ethics. His regrets about the award being given to an individual who had done nothing to earn it arise only from the fact that it didn’t work. Indeed it did not, as Obama drone-killed hundreds without due process, carried on illegal bombing in Libya, refused to act when Syria used chemical weapons, and generally practiced feckless, timid, principle-free politics in international affairs. That, however, was moral luck, and the argument is consequentialism. It would have been equally wrong to give the award to Obama if he had achieved real success in promoting world peace afterwards.
I want to be explicit that no one should hold Barack Obama responsible for this fiasco in any way. Awarding the prize was unfair to him as well. Nor should he have allowed the honor to influence his decision-making at any time during his Presidency. There is no evidence that he did.
Once an award has been given based on politics and ideology rather than merit, it is no longer an award, but a lie. The Nobel Peace Prize is meaningless, not because it was awarded unethically once, but because there is no evidence that it won’t be again, the next time the Committee thinks they can manipulate a nation’s leadership and policies.
Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur