Sunday, October 11, 2009

Winning and Earning with Honor

When I was a debate Coach, I had a student ask me to check his point total because he didn’t think he had earned his place in the finals. I grumbling to Dean that if he kept his mouth shut “we’d” win a trophy. “Do you think I want a trophy that says, 'You’re a cheater?'”

Each year, I warn the merit badge instructors at Loll that someday that boy’s dad will hang his Eagle Badge on his chest; don’t ruin the joy of that moment by forcing him to hear that award say, "You didn’t earn this."

At school there are a pair of problems, cheating and grade inflation. Many students cheat. I warn mine not to. I point out that they learn nothing by it, and remind them that they will go to Hell for cheating – no doubt Hell will be eternity in my class! A joke, perhaps, but Hell is regret, and in the years to come, when they want or need the knowledge they did not gain, they will know what their empty grades have to say about their failure to themselves. As for grad inflation; PHD thesis spawned educational theories encourage teachers to give students grades that are aimed at boosting their self-esteem rather than rewarding their effort. When a student receives an A for nothing, he knows the grade says your a sham; there is only shame in such a prize.

Friday morning, President Obama was handed a Nobel Peace Prize. Why would he want it? President Obama has earned a great prize; he has been elected President of the United States. Those who respect our President are rightly dismayed, and those who dislike him are unfortunately pleased by this latest accolade, foisted on our President by the agenda driven Nobel Committee. What does it say?

Consider these past recipients: Jimmy Carter – who handed Iran over to the terrorists, Afghanistan to the Soviets, and Latin America to the communists, Al Gore – whose global warming hoax piles up millions of dollars in his carbon credit scam while threatening to derail the world economy and starve and impoverish millions of human beings, Yasser Arafat – a bloody handed terrorist murderer who grubbed power by exploiting religious hate, Kofi Annan – who presided over the U. N. while millions died of aggression and murder in Ruanda, Iraq, and the former Yugoslavia, Mohamed ElBaradei – whose direction of the U. N’s nuclear watchdogs has permitted North Korea to developed an atomic bomb and Iran to advance toward acquiring one, Le Duc Tho – who lied his way through the “peace negotiation” on the conflict in South East Asia in order to facilitate the communist invasion of South Vietnam and initiate the murder of millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians, and Aristide Brand – who, in 1925, crafted the Locarno Pact to end all war.

Perhaps Mr. Obama should carefully evaluate the implications of accepting such an award. It may be an even a more regrettable “honor” than a debate trophy one cheats to earn, or a merit badge handed out for nothing, or an A stolen by cheating or given without growth.


RealFruitBeverage said...

I have a couple of reservations about your indirect criticisms of the Nobel Peace Prize. You point to a number of winners that were dubious in the advancement of peace. Jimmy Carter was a bad President that I won’t contest. However, he was awarded the prize not for the actions he did during his presidency but for his actions as a diplomat and a third party member for peace among conflicting parties. You can debate the success of those actions, but they are clearly a different set of actions than the ones you attributed to him. Al Gore is a proponent of climate change awareness. However (I seem to be using this word a lot lately), I think it fair to say that there is enough evidence and members of the scientific community that back his point of view that you can at least say it is credible. Maybe you don’t believe it, but you have to at least acknowledge that a reasonable person can come to the conclusions that he has come to. Yasser Arafat, yeah he was a thug. However, who am I kidding he was a murdering thug that set back the Middle East Peace process back at least 10 years. Kofi Annan was guilty of running an inefficient and corrupt U.N. However some of those issues you pointed out were out of his power. First the U.N. doesn’t have an enforcement branch, nor do I think the majority of the world would want it to. Second Kofi Annan doesn’t control the Security Council which is the only real power in the U.N. Third most of the corruption associated with Kofi Annan was done by his underlings, much like U. S. Grant’s presidency. It is enough to say there are always suspect members in any award if the award is around long enough.

Let’s see who else made the list that might be of note: Mother Teresa, I hope you don’t have anything negative to say about this one, Martin Luther King Jr., another one where I hope you don’t have anything negative to say, the United Nations Children’s Fund, The International Committee of the Red Cross (two time awardee by the way), Woodrow Wilson, another U.S. President of some note, and the International Campaign to Ban Land mines. Wow that is a handful of well noted people and organizations that seems to say lot about getting the Nobel Prize. Let’s take a closer look at some of the other not so well known winners.

First one that comes to mind is Elie Wiesel. For those of you how don’t know he was once the Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust. At the time he was awarded the Nobel Prize it was done on the grounds that even after going through Hitler’s genocide project he still was an advocate of peace, human dignity and forgiveness. After the award the thing that has caught my attention is his stance on Darfur and how we should intervene. I suppose when you witness evil in the face like Mr. Wiesel you tend to want to fight it as much as you can. Second one that comes to mind is Linus Pauling (another two time winner granted one was for chemistry). His award was based on his opposition to surface testing of nuclear weapons. I know that seems like a common sense notion now, heck what could go wrong if we tested all our nuclear weapons above ground? At the time Linus Pauling took a lot of heat for his stance. It was seen as un-American. He had true courage to take a stance that could ruin him because it was right. The third that comes to mind is Lord Boyd Orr. Lord Boyd-Orr did nothing spectacular. You know he only tried to end malnutrition in the world. Too bad the U.S. and the U.K. were to anti U.N. at the time to consider or implement his plans. I’m sure the list goes on and on.

So what does it mean that an U.S. President was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? It is simple, for a long time now people have disliked Americans. People of the world are tired of it, nobody wants to dislike Americans (well maybe the French). The prize was more of the world saying hey America we want to like you again, and we sort of do. As an Afghan person said to me, “You Americans can do anything, it’s wonderful, I love you guys.”

Lysis said...


It is so nice to hear from you. A quick point by point; I’m not supposed to be too political.

The specific Carter “accomplishment” entitling him to the Peace Prize was getting the North Koreans to give up their development of nuclear weapons. Talk about lies within lies. Evil before and nothing after seems an odd formula for recognition.

As for Al Gore – members of the scientific community once agreed that putting leaches on sick people would cure them; they were wrong. Masses of misguided scientists do not counter the facts about global climate change. That it is cyclical, human influence or no, and that the mean temperature of the earth has been going down for over a decade. I would remind you that Aristotle was a reasonable person and he was damn sure the sun went around the earth – didn’t make it so.

Glad you agree on Arafat.

As for Annan – I wish to point out that the primary job of the U. N. is to prevent aggression and that if it can’t do it, its head shouldn’t be getting awards for failure. Had Annan marshaled the world to end genocide in Iraq, as George Bush did, he might have been worthy of recognition. One is forced to wonder why the man who did stop the killing was not rewarded. Finally, a captain is responsible for his ship, and should he fail to prevent the misbehavior of his crew he must at least discipline them, and take responsibility for their misdeeds.

I agree with you that many worthy men and women have received the Peace Prize. I’m a big fan of Lech Walesa and Anwar al-Sadat are among my favorites. The other Nobel Prizes are somewhat less political and perhaps beyond the scope of my commentary.

Perhaps Lord Orr’s intentions were laudable, once again, it seems to me that it would be more efficacious to reward someone who’s efforts actually did save millions of live; like say, George W. Bush, whose AIDS program has saved more African lives that any “thing” in history. But then once again politics are politics.

Finally, as an American, I am not sure that I want a President whose primary goal is to get other peoples like him or even us. The last President who foreigners liked was Bill Clinton. Osama bin Laden was particularly pleased with Clinton, no doubt sincere gratitude for Bill’s letting him go, and for demonstrating to the world that Americans will run from any casualties; his stated inspiration for 9/11. I would give Clinton some credit for his efforts in the former Yugoslavia – but then people didn’t like him for that, did they.

As for your Afghan friend, I wonder how he will feel about the omnipotence of America when, to make folks happy, Obama leaves his freedom to the discretion of the Taliban? About this, you know more that I.

Thank you for your service – thank you for being in a position to speak with an Afghan who has come to love America. I tend to believe you and others like you have more to do with his feelings toward America than any Nobel Prize “winner”.