I would have hoped 2020 was the year everyone finally woke up to the fatuousness of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The right has long known the award is essentially political, having been given to Al Gore for a badly made documentary and Barack Obama for winning a national election in this century alone. This was peachy with the leftitst commentariat — and then a right-wing Norwegian politician named Christian Tybring-Gjedde nominated former President Donald Trump for the award last year to recognize his role in brokering a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Never mind that the nomination wasn’t going to be taken seriously by the left-leaning Nobel committee. Here was The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood, hardly alone in his sentiments, on the very fact Trump had been nominated: “Giving the peace prize to no one at all is a tradition the Nobel Committee should revive, perhaps on a permanent basis. The record of achievement of the peace laureates is so spotty, and the rationales for their awards so eclectic, that the committee should take a long break to consider whether peace is a category coherent enough to be worth recognizing.”
Well, finally. Some on the left have come to their senses. And now, you get the feeling they’re about to lose them again, all thanks to another Norwegian politician.
On Friday, Norwegian Member of Parliament Petter Eide announced he’d nominated the Black Lives Matter movement for the 2021 prize.
“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Eide said, according to the U.K.-based Guardian. “Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.
“They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice.”
Eide, a member of Norway’s Socialist Left Party, dismissed claims of violence or property damage, blaming them on law enforcement or right-wing agitators.
“Studies have shown that most of the demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter have been peaceful,” he said, according to the Guardian. “Of course there have been incidents, but most of them have been caused by the activities of either the police or counter-protesters.”
The Guardian being the official news outlet of 10 out of 10 Jeremy Corbyn supporters, the newspaper tried to back up this claim with a study from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data, which found that 93 percent of the protests were peaceful. The study grouped protests numerically, however, which gives highly disparate events similar weight. In the case of violent or destructive protests, it also leaned heavily on the theory that outside provocateurs were responsible for starting problems or the implication that, “in many cases,” the damage was confined to or precipitated by the presence of Confederate statuary.
It’s unclear whether this is the set of statistics Eide is consulting, but he said that Black Lives Matter has “been able to mobilize people from all groups of society, not just African-Americans, not just oppressed people, it has been a broad movement, in a way which has been different from their predecessors.”
“There is actually a tradition for” groups like Black Lives Matter winning the award, Eide told the Guardian. “It’s a strong linkage between antiracism movements and peace, and a recognition that without this kind of justice, there will be no peace and stability in the society.”
In his written nomination, according to the Guardian, Eide wrote: “Awarding the peace prize to Black Lives Matter, as the strongest global force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity and human rights, and that all countries must respect those basic principles.”
There are multifarious issues with this nomination, starting with the nebulous nature of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Is Eide nominating the national group? The one that once claimed one of their stated goals was to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure?” The one whose leaders, co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in 2015, are “trained Marxists?” (Do you have to get a certificate for that, one wonders?) Or is he nominating the feel-good #BlackLivesMatter crowd, a feckless bunch of virtue-signalers who may turn out to a protest or two, but are much more comfortable with blacking out their profile picture on Facebook so as to “center voices of color?” Inquiring minds want to know.
Furthermore, there’s a problematic figure Black Lives Matters’ apologists ignore: $1-$2 billion. That’s the estimated range of insurance claims caused by those 93 percent peaceful protests as of September, according to Axios. That’s the most expensive series of riots in United States history.
— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) September 16, 2020
“It’s not just happening in one city or state — it’s all over the country,” Loretta L. Worters of the Insurance information Institute told Axios.
“And this is still happening, so the losses could be significantly more.”
And it’s worth noting that’s insurance claims, not damages.
“The obvious problem here is that not all the damages were insured,” Brad Polumbo wrote at the Foundation for Economic Education. “As I have previously explained, insurance is no panacea for the societal ills imposed by rioting. Indeed, 75 percent of US businesses are under-insured and about 40 percent of small businesses have no insurance at all. Their untold millions in losses don’t show up in the $2 billion figure.”
That isn’t $2 billion in Robert E. Lee and Alexander Stephens statues. That number can’t be waved away by blaming it on far-right agents provocateur. And, as we emerge from the economic damage that 2020 hath wrought, that $2 billion will be another millstone around the neck of the American economy — a lighter one than lockdowns or debt, to be sure, but a millstone nonetheless.
If you’re nominating either the group, the hash-tagged movement it spawned or some squishy middle ground, you own that number. If the Nobel Peace Prize was serious about its mission, it would reject this nomination out of hand.
Then again, the Peace Prize is fundamentally unserious. Giving awards to Al Gore and Barack Obama may be hilarious in hindsight. The awards doled out to ghouls like Palestinian leader and terrorist Yasser Arafat or Vietnamese communist leader Le Duc Tho (who refused it, it’s worth noting) were significantly less humorous.
While not as undeserving as Arafat, giving Black Lives Matter the prize a year after the movement played a role in the most expensive riots in history would be a slap in the face to the very concept of peace — no matter how “93 percent” peaceful the protests may have been.
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