October 19, 2007

Albert Gore, Ignoble Laureate

In 1867, Swedish chemist and armaments manufacturer Alfred Bernhard Nobel made a remarkable discovery: By combining highly explosive nitroglycerin with an inert absorbent such as diatomaceous clay, he could stabilize the volatile chemical, making it far safer to handle and transport. He thus patented “dynamite,” and made a fortune from its production around the world.

Nobel was subject to much condemnation for the military application of his inventions and consequently, as stipulated in his 1896 will, he set aside the equivalent of more than $100 million in trust to establish annual awards for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and, of course, the “Peace Prize” – for “the person who 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.” (An award for economics was instituted in 1969.)

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Peace Prize, consists of five members who are elected by the Norwegian parliament. For almost a century, the Nobel Committee has bestowed its award upon leaders who were notable for their contributions to world peace – recipients such as Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Lech Walesa.

The Committee, however, has been under the thumb of the Norwegian Labor Party for more than a decade, and the results have been telling. A number of recent prize-winners pale in comparison to previous laureates, and their achievements, such as they are, can hardly be said to embody the stated purpose of the award.

In 1994, for example, the Committee conferred the Peace Prize upon Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.” Arafat, of course, was less a peacemaker than a terrorist, and his treachery did more to undermine Middle East peace than any regional leader other than Saddam Hussein. Palestinians would counter that Peres and Rabin were also terrorists, but not one single Jew under their watch walked into a crowded market or onto a bus with the express purpose of detonating a bomb and killing as many non-combatant men, women and children as possible.

In 2001, the Committee awarded the Peace Prize to the United Nations and its General Secretary Kofi Annan, “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.” And yet terrorism and genocide flourished under Annan’s watch.

The following year, the award went to Jimmy Carter, “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” Carter’s feeble leadership undermined U.S. strength at home, helped give rise to Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, and damaged democracies around the world – and he’s still at it today.

Clearly, the Peace Prize loses its luster when awarded in accordance with contemporaneous political agendas rather than Nobel’s stated criteria. Perhaps no award other than Arafat’s, however, has damaged the standing of the Peace Prize more than the Committee’s 2007 award to Albert Arnold Gore and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Committee praised Gore, noting, “His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.”

For his part, Gore said, “I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”

To the contrary, the “climate crisis” is a colossal “political issue” that Gore has gussied up as “a moral and spiritual challenge.” (That’s why we tagged Gore “the populist pope of eco-theology” after the release of his “Inconvenient Truth”.)

It is notable that Gore’s Nobel Prize was not for scientific achievement, but then Gore’s pseudo-science declarations and political motives have been thoroughly debunked in, among many places, my comprehensive essay, “Global Warming: Fact, Fiction and Political Endgame.”

However, it is most notable that Gore has accomplished exactly nothing in terms of “fraternity between nations,” or “the abolition or reduction of standing armies” or “the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

This year, to its eternal shame, the Nobel Committee passed over a long list of more deserving nominees, a sample of whom were listed in a Wall Street Journal editorial: Burmese monks challenging their authoritarian government; Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders; Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam jailed for his support of pro-democracy groups; chess champion Garry Kasparov and the several hundred Russians who have been jailed for resisting President Vladimir Putin’s descent toward authoritarianism; Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili who, despite the Kremlin’s malfeasance, stayed true to the spirit of their peaceful “color” revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia; Britain’s Tony Blair and Ireland’s Bertie Ahern (and the voters of Northern Ireland), who in March set aside decades of hatred in favor of joint Catholic-Protestant rule; Chinese bloggers who risk arrest by bringing uncensored information to their countrymen; scholar and activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, jailed presidential candidate Ayman Nour, and other democracy campaigners in Egypt; Pastor Chun Ki Won and his organization, Durihana; Tim Peters and his Helping Hands Korea; and Liberty in North Korea, which helps North Korean refugees escape to safety. To name a few…

And what of those who have given their lives in order to depose a murderous dictator and establish a free Iraq? No mention of them.

As for Gore, caveat emptor. He has a limitless political agenda, and he and his green minions are now weighing a draft for president using his Nobel Laureate status as a launch pad. However, the greatest obstacle to a Gore draft is the fact that he has irrevocably distinguished himself as a disingenuous politico, a case study in narcissistic personality disorder. Indeed, Gore is an ignoble laureate of the first order.

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