The Nobel Gamble

At 14-to-1, President Obama and former President Clinton received equal odds by an online bookmaker to win the Nobel Peace Prize. How could a president who was nominated for the Nobel just 12 days after entering office share equal status with a two-term ex-president with a lengthy foreign policy resume? My bet: worldview.

When the International Olympic Committee rejected Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics, I argued here that the IOC must have recognized that their decision would appear to some observers as a rejection, in part, of President Obama’s progressive/globalist worldview. This idea must have seemed silly to some readers. Yet, when the president won the Nobel Friday, left-leaning writers acknowledged that the prize is a means of bolstering Obama and his view of the world.

“The award is a useful affirmation to Obama’s faith in internationalism on issues like global warming and nuclear disarmament,” wrote Michael Crowley in The New Republic. The Huffington Post ran an article stating, “That’s what the Nobel Committee is trying to do for Obama now. It’s giving an award to encourage the change in world relations that Obama has promised, and to try to help shield Obama against his domestic adversaries.” The Washington Post said that President Obama’s Nobel Prize “seems so goofy,” yet their writer recognized significance in the award.

As citizens going about our daily lives, we need to understand that those who seek to shape culture are driven by their worldview. In his book, Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver wrote, “Those who have not discovered that world view is the most important thing about a man, as about the men composing a culture, should consider the train of circumstances which have with perfect logic proceeded from this” (e.g., 100 million killed by atheist communists in the 20th century). Just as the Nobel committee gambled in selecting Obama based on his short résumé, we gamble when we ignore “the most important thing about a man.”

How can we begin to understand our own worldview and those of leading intellectuals’ Weaver said, “The issue ultimately involved is whether there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of man.”

Are there God-shaped truths? Is man the measure of all things, perfectible or sinful? If there is a God or gods, what is man’s relationship with deity? Accordingly, how should human relationships function? What are the best forms of government, education, economics, art, and music to dignify individuals and, in turn, shape culture? Finding the answers to these challenging questions begins by asking, “Who is God and who is man?”

So, why was President Obama chosen for the Nobel Peace Prize? As the liberal writers above acknowledge, the Nobel committee sought to affirm President Obama’s worldview (secular/progressive/global).

Weaver notes ironically that the story of the West’s drift over the past 400 years from a religious worldview (he implies a Judeo-Christian worldview) to a predominantly secular worldview is told “as a story of progress.” Weaver was rightly concerned that “it is extremely difficult today to get people in any number to see contrary implications.”

For example, three days after he took office, and nine days before he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama made a significant foreign policy decision. He lifted the ban on providing funding for U.S. non-governmental organizations that provide foreign abortion services. What kind of “progress” and “peace” is this? Worldview is indeed the most important thing about a man, and we shouldn’t gamble with it.