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Reason Writers Around Town: Matt Welch in the New York Post on the Nobel Peace Prize

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In The New York Post, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch argues that "Giving Americans trophies is a funny way of punishing us for being self-centered." Excerpt:

As Obama said yesterday morning, his administration seeks "a new era of engagement, in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek."

Yet "taking responsibility" ultimately means guaranteeing their own security and fighting their own wars—and fixing their attention on world problems, instead of on the nation that disproportionately tries to address them. The first step down that long road lies not with America, but with the countries who love to love/hate us.

Surely, it will be a sign of responsibility and self-respect when the citadels of European respectability choose to lavish awards on those citizens of the world who actually accomplish great things—rather than on the American they think might do good someday. Sadly, judging from yesterday's news, that day is still far, far away.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. Yet “taking responsibility” ultimately means guaranteeing their own security and fighting their own wars — and fixing their attention on world problems, instead of on the nation that disproportionately tries to address them. The first step down that long road lies not with America, but with the countries who love to love/hate us.

    Like what Israel is going to do! Go Israel!

  2. “Matt Welch in the New York Post”

    Nice company you’re keeping – did the Moonie Times call as well?

    1. He said New York Post, not New York Times.

      1. I think he was doing Washington Times snark.

        1. …and I was doing New York Times snark…

          1. Um, I was on the verge of correcting you to what you actually wrote. Perhpos I should turn off the computer and just cuddle as I drink . . .

    2. Do you have any comment on the article itself, Tracy, or did you just forget to flush?

    3. “Moonie Times”. That’s rich. Figure you have no clue how blatant Pravada on the Potomac propaganda was before the Times existed. If nothing else, people should thank The Washington Times for making The Washington Post (somewhat) readable.

  3. Surely, it will be a sign of responsibility and self-respect when the citadels of European respectability choose to lavish awards on those citizens of the world

    Anyone who considers himself a “citizen of the world” doesn’t deserve to be considered a citizen of anywhere else. Go park your worthless ass in international waters and call the UN if you get accosted by pirates.

  4. The hidden assumption here is that if the US stops taking responsibility for the world’s problems, then each country will take responsibility of its own affairs without any outside interference. Another instance of American chauvinism, I’m afraid.

    I for one don’t want to see Iran take responsibility for the Straits of Hormuz, or God forbid the Chinese or the Russians take responsibility for the five oceans after we cede that role. You think American military dominance has been hamhanded and destructive? Consider the alternative.

  5. This whole episode has provided a fascinating insight into the mindset of the western leftist-intellectuals. I think it reveals the left’s belief that talking about doing something is the practical equivalent of actually doing something.

    We have a subculture of people who make their living doing nothing but talking/writing. They can gain considerable wealth and status by merely talking about solving problems. After a few generations of this type of feedback, you create a subculture whose members lack the intuitive sense that there is an enormous gap between words and action or between plans and execution.

    Objectively, Obama is the least accomplished and least experienced person to ever assume the presidency. He has a zero track record of policy accomplishments. Yet, people laud him as near superhuman based on nothing more than his speeches.

    I think the Nobel prize committee is composed of people who really, really believe that the world is a simple place with simple solutions and that all is required to make the world a better place is that people with the necessary vision holds positions of power. I think the committee really believes that Obama will bring peace merely by virtue of the platitudes he fills his speeches with.

    They awarded him the prize because in their hothouse world that is protected from chaos and friction of reality, good things inevitably flow from good intentions and high ideals just as surely as gravity attracts. In such a model of reality, Obama has as good as saved the world several times over.

    1. Shannon Love,

      The notion that five norwegian voters represented the mindset of all western leftist intellectuals is frankly ridiculous.

      1. But, somehow, those five voters captured the collective insanity of the western intellectualoid left.

        Keep rockin’ Shannon!

      2. You’re talking about a European-socialist country. It is not that ridiculous.

      3. Those five norwegian voters think they do.

    2. Yet, people laud him as near superhuman based on nothing more than his teleprompter.

      1. Is Biden putting Kryptonite in it as a joke every week?

  6. Deus Ex America.

    We are mommy and daddy wrapped into one and we are responsible for all problems and we always do too much and we always do too little.

    America is God to the rest of the world and they project all their feelings onto us.

    Sick, sick fuckers.

    1. Maybe America is more like the children who have to resentfully take care of their elderly, mentally unstable parents and keep them from their “good ideas” like the fucking EU.

      1. You miight have something there. I prefer us to be the “leave us alone and nobody gets hurt” country.

  7. Leela: “Look, I know there are no car chases, but this is important. One of these two men will become president of the world.”

    Fry: “What do we care? We live in the United States.”

    Leela: “The United States is part of the world.”

    Fry: “Wow, I have been gone a long time.”

    1. Or, “um, what?” if you prefer.

    2. Was that for the benefit of Happy Xenophobe douche up thread?

  8. They can gain considerable wealth and status by merely talking about solving problems.

    And completely ignoring situations where their solutions have been tried, and have utterly failed.

  9. It’s ridiculous. “The messiah” is just a mediocrity. He has done nothing to deserve the Nobel Prize or even, maybe, much praise.

    He should’ve returned the Nobel Prize even if he were a better man.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

    1. He does ‘deserve’ it more than Arafat or Gore.

  10. Lay off the Manischewitz, Underschmuck.

    1. A Wildean riposte, Epissface.

      1. Thanks, Jimbo. That means a lot coming from you. Look, the war’s over. Get new parts for your head.

  11. I doubt many people criticizing the awarding of the prize to Obama ever put much stock in it in the first place.

    If the Nobel Committee decides to award the prize, then that’s that. No one else has any say in it. That’s the only criteria for the prize.

    Most of the controversy about this is merely a result of people projecting their politics onto the issue – it’s fluff, a waste of time to keep track of.

    1. The Nobel committee is indeed free to award the prize to whomever they wish.

      And we are free to criticize them for their choice.

      As for your pout that conservatives never esteemed the Peace Prize before, that’s nonsense. There wouldn’t be such a hubbub about this if there was a history of giving the prize to someone who really hadn’t done anything at all related to peace. While some of the previous choices were head-scratchers (Kissinger, Arafat, Gore), those people actually had made an impact on the world; the debate was over whether it was a peace-increasing one. This one is unprecedentedly risible because there aren’t even any accomplishments to debate over.

      1. I didn’t write anything specifically about conservatives and I didn’t say you aren’t free to disagree with their choice, I was criticizing the nature of the controversy – it is just another arena for political (which is, of course, the fault of the Nobel Committee – if you pick a political figure, you’re going to get political fallout) hacks to fight over. There’s no substantive discussion going on.

        1. To whom were you referring to when you wrote “many of the people criticizing the awarding of the prize to Obama”, then?

          And what course of action were you recommending when you said that once the Nobel committee makes their decision, “that’s that”? You’ll forgive me for interpreting your post as an exhortation to shut up about this.

          1. Why would I forgive you for your mistaken assumption?

            You seem to be putting forth your own system of criteria for the prize – my point is that by doing so, you are projecting your own values and politics onto the issue – the Committee is beholden to itself and itself alone. If it deems Obama fit for the prize, than Obama is fit for the prize, for there is no other qualification necessary.

            Read their statement if you want further clarification.

            1. If it deems Obama fit for the prize, then we are free to conclude that its judgment is lacking.

            2. Actually, most people are just going by Alfred Nobel’s own criteria for the award, which he set forth in his will:

              “… during the preceding year … to 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.”

              So, no. Your assertion that it should unquestionably go to whoever the voters choose is not correct if the recipient doesn’t even meet those criteria.

              1. Ask the committee, I bet they would claim they were acting within the bounds set by Mr. Nobel. As I said before, their interpretation is what matters.

                My point is that most of the ‘outcry’ over this is just the usual empty partisan bickering and is not worthy of the attention it is receiving on this site.

                I agree with you that the awarding of the prize to Obama was foolish and inconsistent with the history of the prize. I don’t agree, however, with your claim that “most people” have a problem with this for that reason – much of the criticism is motivated by partisan opposition to Obama, not by any sense of a violation of the sanctity of the Peace Prize.

    2. G Mc|10.10.09 @ 2:50PM|#

      I doubt many people criticizing the awarding of the prize to Obama ever put much stock in it in the first place.

      If the Nobel Committee decides to award the prize, then that’s that. No one else has any say in it. That’s the only criteria for the prize.

      Most of the controversy about this is merely a result of people projecting their politics onto the issue – it’s fluff, a waste of time to keep track of.

      Time to either mea culpa or go fuck yourself.

      1. Apologize for what? Observing that one’s opinion on this Nobel Prize crap reveals more about one’s particular politics than anything else?

  12. Nobel as Bribery

    The objective of the Nobel Committee was obviously to influence Obama’s foreign policy direction. Obama himself acknowledged “I do not view [the Prize] as a recognition of my own accomplishments.”

    But, if the Nobel Prize isn’t a reward for accomplishment, it can’t be anything more than a bribe to encourage policy consistency with five Norwegian elites.

    1. If lutefisk and akavit start replacing the arugula and chardonnay at state dinners, we’ll know what’s behind it.

      1. Lutefisk! Aaaagggggghhhhhhh!

  13. Epissface…it has a nice ring to it.

    1. Don’t make me rape you, Warty.

      1. That’s gross when boys say it.

      2. Get in line Epi.

  14. Matt Welch in the Post. Now you see why we said you’re our favorite ‘conservative’ journo?

    1. Who can argue with that? Especially considering all that time he spent as an editor/columnist at that right-wing rag the LA Times

      1. Yes, he might as well have a Nixon bust in his spacious foyer.

  15. Wow, I still cant get over that dude!

    RT
    http://www.anon-web.int.tc

    1. I’m sure he got over you a long time ago.

      1. Tulpa, I hereby award you the Nobel prize for spam. Not because your action had any effect on the presence of spambots on this site, but because your comment made me feel hopeful again, in my tenderest spots.

  16. Lay off the Manischewitz, Underschmuck.

    Normally, I’d agree with you, Epi, but Underdick: 1) happens to be right, for once; and 2) is just observing the kiddush on the shabbot. Of course, most Jews pray over the wine, rather than drinking two bottles of it, but maybe it’s his particular sect or something.

    1. Even a stopped orthodox Underputz is right twice a day, BP. And maybe he’s a Reconstructionist.

    2. rather than drinking two bottles of it, but maybe it’s his particular sect or something.

      So that’s what is blocking my conversion.

    1. You are free to leave at any time.

  17. Epi, unless he’s forcing the supple, uncircumcised young boy he keeps chained in the basement to be his Shabbat goy, Underzog can’t be Orthodox.

    1. So maybe he is Reconstructionist. And how do you know about that boy, Warty? Huh?

  18. All I know, Epi, is that a man who uses threaded comments is no man at all.

    1. Well, I guess it’s good then that we are not men, we are DEVO.

  19. I’ve been away for a few days, but I heard about the award at the hotel in the lobby and thought “WTF?” It’s colossal bullshit to give the Peace Prize to Obama. I think it’s great he’s decided to engage the world differently than Bush did, and I do think it is a better strategy to get peace in the world overall and for us, but that prize should be reserved for people who have done much more and strive much harder than Obama has currently done. Not to mention that the prize just went to someone who is presiding over two of the worlds biggest armed conflicts, considering escalating involvement in one while dragging his ass on living up to his promise de-escalate the other, not to mention going back on his promise to stop the imprisonment of sick people trying to treat their illness with a freaking plant….But I digress..

    1. So go back wherever you were. That hotel lobby in Thailand you were working with a fist full of quarters will do fine.

      1. Suki: Man, I got him….Thailand, that’s a good one, just like on Headline News. Like “Tie-Land”, where everyone has to wear ties! [giggle!] Hmm, I wonder where that is? On the Indian continent or Southern Arabia? I guess it doesn’t matter…

        1. Did it cost more than a dollar for you to take anal?

    2. I think it’s great he’s decided to engage the world differently than Bush did

      Right. Thank gord those pointless, wasteful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, and Guantanimo Bay is now a water park.

      1. The waterboarding is still going on?

        1. I hope so. Seriously. Maybe Obamasiah will err on the side of national security a lil.

      2. I mean, wasn’t it always a water park?

        1. More than that, it’s a resort!

      3. Well, I was thinking of making a serious move towards an Israel-Palestine Peace, the different approaches with Iran and Russia etc. and such, but hey Hugh, I read a lot and realize you don’t, so I won’t spend too much time on this. Hey, I bet Medved is on where you live, why not cut off the computer and tune in?

        1. Israel will be at peace with the palestinians when the plaestinians stop wasting their allowance on shit to murder Jews with. If the biggest recipient of welfare on earth would just start being productive with what they get they will be at peace.

          1. “If the biggest recipient of welfare on earth would just start being productive with what they get they will be at peace.”

            Uh, Suki, we give Israel way more than we do the Pa (and this is not counting all the charitable giving and remittances private sources give the former).

            It also might be a little hard for the Palestinians to be productive considering they are not allowed to trade or work beyond their borders with willing partners because of the IDF’s guns…But I understand that doesn’t bother your “libertarian” “principles”

            1. Don’t think anybody is talking about we as in USA, but you of course. Looked more like the context was total aid from the whole world. Maybe the translation coming out of your ass had it garbled.

              1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I…..6.E2.80.93

                The $3 billion we give Israel every year is larger than the yearly amount the PA gets from the US, EU and the quartet COMBINED, so even there you are wrong.

              2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I…..6.E2.80.93

                The $3 billion we give Israel every year is larger than the yearly amount the PA gets from the US, EU and the quartet COMBINED, so even there you are wrong.

          2. “Israel will be at peace with the palestinians when the plaestinians stop wasting their allowance on shit to murder Jews with.”

            Suki, since I know you wouldn’t just talk out your ass on an issue you are not very well informed on I guess you know that Israeli settlement activity of Palestinian land is completely uncorrelated to levels or amount of Palestinian initiated violence, right? So you might be able to see how Palestinians might not see the truth in your stupid statement. They might think that stopping the violence would get the same result that engaging in violence has, which is their land being steadily taken from them…

            1. She happens to be correct and you are talking out your ass. If the Jordanians would have stayed the hell out of Israel, Israel would not control all of that West Bank property that Jordan does not even want back.

              Jordan had the right idea banishing the Palestinians to the other side of the river.

              1. Because the Palestinians, as a group, are just a bunch of no-goods deserving of banishment, occupation, etc. Yeah, no collectivism there JT!

                And btw, even if a country attacks you it is illegal and immoral to occupy that nation’s land. Locke explained this many moons ago in the 2nd Treatiste. No matter what an armed force does and deserves, you have no moral authority to rule their wives, sons, daughters etc., whom did you no harm.

        2. But it’s not the first serious move towards an Israel/Palestine Peace. And look how the last ones turned out.

    3. Everybody I have spoken to regardless of their political bent thought it was a joke the first time they heard about it.

      Like the Republicans interceding in Michael Schiavo’s decision trying to use the brute force of Federal law to settle the matter, this is something that cannot be defended on principle, but only in the ugliest of partisan terms.

      Good to see some of the boards liberals showing some sense on this, as Tony did yesterday.

      1. Naomi Klein herself was upset at the Nobel committee about this. This isn’t a conservative vs. liberal thing, though the party apparatchiks seem to be trying to make it that.

        Even Obama said he didn’t deserve it in his speech. Of course, he’s trying to have it both ways by saying that and then accepting it anyway.

        1. I don’t think there was much he could do about it, as Alan said it. If someone gave you an award are you telling me you would say “hey fuck you I don’t deserve this, you should have given it to someone better!” Bullocks to that buddy, this is the Nobel’s fault.

          Again, like most things I don’t think it is BASELESS. Bush’s approach to diplomacy was one that seemed belligerent and off-putting to most of the world. Obama has made significant moves to correct that. Also, whether you like it or not, the very election of a black man with a foreign sounding name has had a remarkable effect on America’s reputation and standing around the world. A friend of mine, a missionary in an African nation, told me the other day via phone how excited event the slum children were about Obama, in a way they would never be about Bush or Carter or whoever. A guy with their skin color and features and a name they can relate to is now leader of the most powerful nation on earth, that resonates with them. That’s all a good thing imo.

          But it just comes to this, what has this man actually done in terms of peace? Past winners have significant accomplishments or years or work and sacrifice that he just does not have. The bar has been lowered to Limbo-Championship levels…

          1. There WAS something Obama could have done about it — turn it down, tell the Nobel committee to give it to someone who did something substantive.

            But that would have conflicted with the outcomes predicted by Public Choice theory, namely that if you give a politician over a million dollars in private money, they will not ignore their private interest and turn it down.

          2. Thing is, the prestige of the prize is itself used as a means to help achieve peace. Desmond Tutu received the prize for working against something that ended 10 years later. It was an endorsement of a cause that likely helped add resources to it. If the prize is to be awarded to the person this year whose done the most in the service of international cooperation, it’s not absurd for Obama to be on the shortlist at least.

      2. It’s stupid, but it’s not much like the Schiavo case. One deals with the stupid fawning of a private organization for a public leader with no real world affects for people, the other dealth with a borderline bill of attainder by a legislative body intervening in a particular family dispute of the highest magnitude.

  20. Presiding over the imprisonment of people trying to deal with their or other people’s crippling illness by committing a non-violent victim-less “crime”=Peace Prize…Yeah, right.

    1. Adults are chatting. Go back to the little person table.

      1. This from a person who achieves two or more sentences in a post every solar eclipse…Look Suki, face it, as a debater you make a poor paperweight….

        1. Oooo big mean MNG trying to sound all smart and shit!

          1. He reads a lot of books, Suki. And he will tell you that if cornered.

        2. Now you got your attention from me so go eat a shotgun shell.

  21. Next year the Nobel PP will go to an imaginary person from a work of fiction.

    1. What? Two years in a row?

      1. There goes my late morning coffee 🙂

  22. Let’s say, arguendo, that BO accomplishes as much in the next two years as he has in the last nine months (read: nada). Are liberals really so vapid and/or stupid that they are going to run for reelection merely (and boy do I mean merely) on a platform hollow platitudes with snuggly warm good intentions? I say yes.

    1. I second. And I was one of those people like really, really, recently.

    2. In some way though Presidents are not meant to “accomplish” a whole lot by themselves. They can’t pass many laws without the Senate, and the Senate requires a supermajority for most things. If you look at Obama’s election you will see him losing many states by two digit margins. The Senators in those states were bound to oppose him. It was stupid for people to think he was going to “accomplish” much in, say, the LBJ or FDR sense.

      The biggest problem I have with the man is his reneging on certain promises.

  23. Not only is the award given not fair to those who have dedicated decades of their lives towards the ends of peace, but it is also not fair to Obama for this select body of Norwegian jackasses to have given it to him.

    As president he has made his own mistakes that are subject to deserved ridicule, but this is one such instance he did not ask for where the scrutiny falls on him because of the actions of others.

    In one sense, where he has done nothing to discourage the cult of personality, and has done much to encourage it, especially in the run up as a candidate, the criticism is apt, but, still, the judges are adults and supposedly selected for their sensibility, so it should have never occurred to them that Obama is a viable candidate.

    Even though he should have declined it, to the extent of berating the panel and the Norwegian parliament for their politicized actions and for putting the burden on his shoulders, even doing the right thing would have had undesirable consequences. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Welcome to the presidency, Barack.

    1. Not only is the award given not fair to those who have dedicated decades of their lives towards the ends of peace, but it is also not fair to Obama for this select body of Norwegian jackasses to have given it to him.

      Your first point is well-taken, but the second is not. Alfred Nobel established the prize, and he set the terms upon which it was awarded. Not the UN, not the League of Supernations, One dude. His choice of how to pick the pickers might not have been yours, but it was certainly not unfair.

      1. Not the UN, not the League of Supernations, One dude. His choice of how to pick the pickers might not have been yours, but it was certainly not unfair.

        I’m having a hard time seeing how this follows from what I stated. I don’t care to pick any pickers, or care if Nobel wrote out the contract obligations in blood and silver infusion. What does it have to do with criticizing the pick?

  24. At this point in history, Nobel’s intentions have become so twisted and politicized as to be almost as meaningless as the Oscar for Best Actor. The Prize has become a marketing tool. Its effectiveness is wholly dependent upon our willingness to believe the scam. It’s only as important as we wish to make it.

  25. If it makes you feel better, Alfred, none of us founding fathers think Obama fits the criteria we laid out for the presidency either.

  26. I’m beginning to think that it was preordained that Obama would win the Peace Prize at some point. Awarding it now, with so little in his record, is actually less ridiculous that awarding it in three years, when the destructive results of his policies will be more clear.

  27. Has anyone on the left acknowledged the condescending racist aspect of this award? I.e., if say John Edwards were president and had done & said exactly everything that Obama has done & said, is there any doubt that he would not have received the NPP?

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