Oct 112009
 

I'll be honest: I don't like President Obama. I didn't vote for him. I don't agree with his policies and I think he's bad for America... but I'm going to try to not let that influence how I really feel about him being awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part 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. The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiology or medical works by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.

-- Excerpt from the last will and testament of Alfred Nobel

The last time I looked, a will was a legally binding document by which a person declares how their estate is supposed to be managed and disposed of upon his death. I suppose it's possible that Mr. Nobel's will has been challenged at some point, but I'm going to assume it is currently deemed to be valid since these awards have been given to deserving individuals since 1901.

What I have a problem with is that the NNC has deliberately ignored the guidelines set forth in the will:

... and one part 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.
... in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize...

I'm not aware of anything President Obama has actually done to promote peace. Perhaps what he hasn't done is better than what the other 204 candidates actually did? Or maybe all of the 205 candidates were being considered because of their hopes and promises instead of recent accomplishments?

That said, I have to give credit where credit is due. Had the Swedish Academy decided to give President Obama the Nobel Prize in Literature, I'd have no issue whatsoever. One only needs to listen to a few of his many speeches to know that our President is quite skilled at spinning a captivating yarn.

References:

Excerpt from the Last Will & Testament of Alfred Nobel
The Norwegian Nobel Committee