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Norway Could Reform Nobel Prize

The parliamentary election in Norway of a coalition led by the Conservative Party and its female head, "Iron Erna" Solberg, may change a number of things, including the composition of future Nobel Peace Prize selection committees. Solberg will be the first Conservative to lead Norway since 1990.

People who were annoyed that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his global warming campaign and Barack Obama won it right after becoming elected President probably are unaware of how the award is tainted with politics. (See Jay Nordlinger's history: Peace They Say.)

The selection is by a committee that in turn is selected by the Parliament of Norway (other Nobel Prizes are awarded by a process in Sweden). Parliamentarians tend to chose former members to serve on the Nobel committee.

But who selects the Parliament that selects the committee that selects the Nobel Peace Prize winners?

The people of Norway, of course. And for many years they have elected left wingers who--guess what?--have a leftist perspective on peace. That now seems set to change.


The next prize winner, to be announced next month, will be the product of the old committee, so don't expect much of a turnaround. But the one after that seems likely to have a more traditional idea about the peace prize; namely, that you do not give it to score political points but to reward achievement.

The Nobel process has come under rebuke in Norway as well as elsewhere. The award to Obama, for example, was made on the basis of little more than campaign rhetoric--including the new President's planned outreach to Muslims--not on anything he had had a chance to do in his brief Senate career or in his few weeks as President. He himself was surprised to receive the prize, though he accepted it.

Norway was bound to come under increased criticism for corrupting the Nobel Prize for Peace. Let's see if the new government can do better.

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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