Saturday, February 3, 2007

Delusions Of Adequacy: Limbaugh "Nominated" For Nobel

Taylor Marsh has an irritating article this morning on Rush Limbaugh being "nominated" by right-wing pundit/blowhard Mark Levin for the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, Levin, and Limbaugh presumably, are just upset that Al Gore was nominated for the prize. Is it because they don't think that Gore's work qualifies for a peace prize? Possibly, but I think there's something to be said for the idea that these guys would object no matter what Al Gore did (see the comments).

My own feeling on the matter is that while Gore's work might not strictly be thought of as peace work, it is related. The climate changes and loss of land that would accompany serious global warming (I hate that term, but use it in the interest of simplicity) will inevitably result in conflict for the resources that are still available, and for any resources that become available. To quote the Environmental Protection Agency on this subject:

Many global issues are climate-related and thus may be affected by climate change. These include water resource availability and food security, especially for areas already afflicted by drought and extreme weather events. Sea-level rise is a particular concern for low-lying coasts and island nations.

EPA: Climate Change: International Impacts

Thus, preventing catastrophic warming of the planet is worthy of recognition as work in the name of peace.

There have also been worse nominees for the prize. As commenter Karin points out at Netscape:

However, the Nobel Foundation has published a database of nominations spanning the years 1901-1955. The fact that Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini appear in this database is only slightly less controversial than the fact that Yasser Arafat won a Peace Prize, and Mahatma Ghandi did not. On the database front page, the Foundation takes pains to imply that Ghandi would have received the prize in 1948 had he not been assassinated; Nobel Prizes cannot be awarded posthumously, and there was no award handed out that year.

Netscape Anchor Commentary: Al Gore Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

As several commenters to Taylor's article pointed out, you have to be invited to nominate someone for a Nobel Prize. Otherwise, it's just a joke or an exercise in futility. Here's the explanation at the official Nobel Prize site:

Each year the respective Nobel Committees send individual invitations to thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists from numerous countries, previous Nobel Laureates, members of parliamentary assemblies and others, asking them to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year. These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.

Nobel Prize: Nomination

I doubt that Mark Levin was one of the invited, since he's not a government, a university rector, or a past awardee, and someone with his critical thinking skills could only dream of being a scientist. According to TPM Muckraker, two Norwegian political leaders nominated Al Gore:

Gore was selected jointly by Norwegian political leaders from both the Conservative and Socialist parties, who are both qualified nominators.

Gore Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

From the AP report cited by TPM:

“A prerequisite for winning the Nobel Peace Prize is making a difference, and Al Gore has made a difference,” Conservative Member of Parliament Boerge Brende, a former minister of environment and then of trade, told The Associated Press.

Brende said he joined political opponent Heidi Soerensen of the Socialist Left Party to nominate Gore as well as Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier before the nomination deadline expired Thursday.
Norwegian lawmakers are among the thousands of people and groups with rights to nominate Nobel candidates.

And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to ... Al Gore?

So Al Gore was legitimately nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Argue with the merits of that nomination all you want, but Gore can legitimately be described as a nominee for the award. Rush Limbaugh was not nominated for the Nobel Prize. Some of his friends just think he should be, and were willing to make an effort to demonstrate how they felt.

Nevertheless, I think it's safe to predict that the right and much of the "news" in this country will treat this stunt as a legitimate nomination. Lying and being oblivious to reality are what the right do best, and uncritically reciting those lies is what the news organizations in America do best. I'd love to be proved wrong, because to quote a line, I hate it when I'm right.

UPDATE: Peterr at Firedoglake has an interesting roundup of articles and opinions about the recent U.N. report on climate change. The summary is out now (PDF), and apparently the full report will be available in May.

No comments: