The Corner

Is Hope Worthy of Prizes?

Some people have noted that Barack Obama has not actually achieved peace, anywhere, or diminution of hostilities, or the destruction of even one nuclear weapon, (or even any of his domestic agenda). But, as the Nobel Committee announced, this award is about a new climate of hope.

Of course, it’s a serious question, as readers of the Greek story about Pandora and her box know, whether hope is one of the world’s blessings or curses. I’ve always leaned toward the view that hope is an opiate (yes, like Marx’s view of religion), which lulls people into passivity. It wasn’t in that box with war, plague, poverty, and famine by accident. The esteemed classicist Mabel Lang used to teach that it was left in the box because it eats at people from within, instead of attacking in plain sight.

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