Posted on September 14, 2020

‘If We Lose, We Burn the Place Down’

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, September 14, 2020

The Atlantic has published two remarkable pieces almost back to back. On September 11, Graeme Wood wrote “End the Nobel Peace Prize” — because Donald Trump has been nominated for it. Two days later, contributing writer Shadi Hamid published “The Democrats May Not Be Able to Concede,” arguing that if Donald Trump is reelected, furious Democrats will riot, and so “law-and-order” Republicans should help Biden win. These were not outsider opinion pieces; Mr. Wood is a staff writer and Dr. Hamid is a contributing writer.

To start with Mr. Wood, he thinks a treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is unworthy of the prize because Arab-Israeli peace efforts have already won three Nobels and peace has not yet come. He also complains — irrelevantly, it seems to me — that “a deal between Israel and the absolute monarchs of a small Gulf state is not a deal between Israel and the people of the Emirates, let alone between Israelis and Palestinians.” Even the Washington Post writes that “dominoes are falling in the Middle East in the right direction for a change,” and contributing columnist Hugh Hewitt says the agreement means “the prospects for regional peace in the Middle East will have taken a giant leap forward.”

It’s clear that Mr. Wood just doesn’t like Donald Trump. And, of course, Mr. Trump won’t win. Even Christian Tybring-Gjedde, the Norwegian legislator who nominated him, says that the Nobel committee is “looking for people who should behave a certain way,” and that excludes Mr. Trump. Just the nomination is enough for Mr. Wood to want to abolish the prize.

Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t think Mr. Wood worried much about the integrity of the prize when doubtful people actually won it. These days, most winners — unlike Mr. Trump — have nothing to do with peace-making, and at least one was a fraud.

Rigoberta Menchu, who won in 1992, became famous for her imaginative biography, I, Rigoberta Menchú. On the first page, she claimed that, as a Q’iche’ Mayan living in Guatemala, she never went to school and couldn’t speak Spanish or read until she was in her mid-20s. In fact, she got a middle-school education as a scholarship student at two prestigious Catholic boarding schools. She claims she saw a younger brother starve to death, but this younger brother never existed. Etc.

Miss Menchu didn’t make peace; she campaigned for rights for Indians and women. After the Guatemalan civil war ended, her idea of peace was to extradite police and army officers to Spain to stand trial.

Since Miss Menchu, the Nobel Committee has had a run of non-white lady winners with unpronounceable names who didn’t do much for peace. Wangarĩ Muta Maathai of Kenya won in 2004 for efforts in “the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights.” Malala Yousafzani won in 2014, at age 17, mainly for surviving a Taliban assassination attempt for trying to promote education for girls. Nadia Murad won in 2018 for “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, who won in 2011, did try to get Liberian men to stop fighting a civil war. One of her tactics was to promote a women’s sex strike. She says it didn’t work, but it won welcome attention from Western media.

Some of these women may have been remarkable and dedicated, but I fear considerable “affirmative action” goes into choosing Nobel laureates. The real point is that the definition of “peace” has drifted badly since the days when Teddy Roosevelt won the peace prize for helping negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese War.

Barack Obama won in 2009 — after being nominated in his second week in office — for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” How much peace did he bring?

Mr. Obama has had a number of what appear to be easy wins. He won two Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards (2006 and 2008), for abridged audiobook versions of his two autobiographies, Dreams From my Father and The Audacity of Hope. In 2008, a few phrases from one of his speeches were set to music — watch it here — and Mr. Obama won a Daytime Emmy Award.

But Mr. Trump gets a nomination — apparently for making a real contribution to peace — and Mr. Wood is so furious he is ready to abolish the prize. This is another relatively harmless example of manic Trump hatred.

Shadi Hami is much worse. He writes:

I don’t believe Donald Trump is a fascist or a dictator in the making, and I don’t believe America is a failed state — I find myself truly worried about only one scenario: that Trump will win reelection and Democrats and others on the left will be unwilling, even unable, to accept the result.

It is hard to believe a Democrat would admit that his own party is so bigoted and power-hungry it will knock over the table if it loses, but that’s what he’s saying:

A loss by Joe Biden under these circumstances is the worst case . . . because it is the outcome most likely to undermine faith in democracy, resulting in more of the social unrest and street battles that cities including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have seen in recent months.

Dr. Hamid continues: “For this reason, strictly law-and-order Republicans who have responded in dismay to scenes of rioting and looting have an interest in Biden winning . . . .”

Make America Great Again hat on fire outside The National Press Club. Photo credit: Lorie Shaull.

Republicans better help Mr. Biden win, or the country goes up in flames. I compliment Dr. Hamid on his candor. Yes, it is the Democrats who won’t accept the voters’ will and will tear down the system if they lose.

This is the sort of politics we expect in Guatemala or Afghanistan. I wonder if Dr. Hamid sees any connection between the changing flavor of our politics and our changing population.