The cynic will say that Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama at its most recent commencement gave the Nobel Prize Selectors their cue. We do not know whether to laugh or cry.
The “Peace” Prize is now awarded not for actually doing anything to bring about peace but rather for the announced intention to do so. “Peace, peace, and there is no peace.” Words matter; deeds are irrelevant. “Walk softly and carry a big stick” has been replaced by “If you talk eloquently, you can lay down your sword.”
War is caused by those who fight against those who cause it, we are now taught. I understand the Taliban are angry at this selection because they think it fosters “violence,” against which they naturally fight bravely on, as they tell us. We are overturning all the shibboleths of the past. The new age has arrived. Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” was ahead of its time.
Actually, I cannot take it all seriously. It is the most politically motivated of all the Peace Prize awards made thus far.
—Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., is a professor of government at Georgetown University.