More U.S. right-wing lunancy.
Remind me never to win an award - or do anything - of which Peggy Noonan disapproves.
The former Reagan speechwriter, who parlayed that long-ago job into a columnist post at the WSJ and a regular spot on Sunday morning talking-head TV, has gone, well, bonkers, over Obama's Nobel prize.
Bear in mind the president himself has said "I'm not sure I deserve this." He promptly announced he would donate the $1.4-million prize money, And he accepted the award "on behalf of America and its values" - not quite what the folks in Oslo had in mind, I am sure. For all that, looney right just can't get over the infamy of a fellow American deemed worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I can't - I don't imagine anyone could - do justice to Noonan's cry for help, her completed application form for self-admission to a dry-out spa where her delusions can be gradually drawn out, possibly through leeching, and "processed," as they say in the Therapy World. Noonan, in a WSJ column headlined "A Wicked and Ignorant Award" (the overtly Catholic Noonan is a theocrat who frames public policy according to her moral worldview), seems to think the Oslo committee's selection is an attack on America, or at the very least a denigration of it:
For instance: The Peace Prize judges won't see it this way, but America has gone to Europe twice in the past century to fight for peace. This is an old concept, and has to do with killing killers so they can't kill anymore. It cost America a lot to do this, and we kept no territory, as they say, beyond the graves where our soldiers lie. America then taxed itself and gave its wealth not only to its allies but to its former adversaries, to help them rebuild. We didn't actually have to do this. We did it to make the world better. We did it to foster peace. (They should give us a prize.)
America hasn't just helped the world, it literally lit the world with its inventions, which are the product of its freedoms. The lights under which the Peace Prize judges read, and rejected, the worthy nominations? Why, those lights were invented by an American. The emails the committee members sent to each other, sharing their banal insights on leadership? They came through the Internet. Who invented the Internet? It was a Norwegian bureaucrat with a long face and hair on his nose and little plastic geometric eyeglasses? Oh wait, it was Americans. The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are healthy because they have been inoculated against diseases such as polio. Who invented the polio vaccine, an enfeebled old leftist academic in Oslo? Nah, it was a man named Jonas Salk. He was an American.
Well, so were Nobel recipients Pearl S. Buck, Milton Friedman and Martin Luther King. Americans have dominated the Nobel economics and science prizes the way the NYT cornered the Pulitzer since that prize's inception. Americans took both Nobel's awarded in economics this year. So from whence comes this idea that the Nobel committees have it in for Americans?
America in the mid-20th-century fought in two theatres to protect America from the terrifying encroachment of fascism. The subsequent Marshall Plan was self-interested, a humanitarian imposition of American free-market values on a continent where communism was still widely potent. And a means of creating an economically and politically stable buffer between the U.S. and the emerging new U.S. enemy, the Soviet Union. It most definitely was not charity, something we "didn't actually have to do." The postwar U.S. policy of Soviet containment, as conceived by George F. Kennan and quickly adopted as U.S. policy for two generations, required it be done to protect America's national security and corporate interests.
That's the bizarre part of the column, dashed off by an American patriot who wears her parochialism on her sleeve but is ignorant of the recent history of her own homeland. Then Noonan's rant turns into a fact-checker's nightmare.
Many innovators share credit for electricity, going back to Ben Franklin. But the alternating currrent in Noonan's household - and by which the Norwegian judges read - was developed by Nikola Tesla, a Croatian. (Edison developed direct current, more dangerous and unsuitable in most non-industrial applications.)
The Internet was indeed a U.S. creation, tracing its roots to the Darpanet, developed by the Pentagon to enable scientists to exchange information among university computers worldwide. The Internet as we know it, however, is the World Wide Web. The Web made the information superhighway, as it was once quaintly known, useful to Noonan and billions of others by assigning an address to each of millions and then billions of Web pages. Tim Berners-Lee, an Englishman working at the Swiss-based CERN labs, invented the Web.
Antibiotics were first identified by a Frenchman, Louis Pasteur, and the first antibiotic treatment by Alexander Fleming of Scotland, whose Adam Smith contributed mightily to the American ethic of raw capitalism. Shakespeare didn't set foot in the New World. The composition commonly known as the New World Symphony was written by a Czech. Commercial banking was perfected by Italians, investment banking by the Rothschilds. Television was invented in Russia, as was The Nutcracker and The Cherry Orchard. A Canadian invented standard time and the BlackBerry, The internal combustion engine, still in ubiquitous use worldwide, was invented in the 1880s by German's Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz independent of each other. The theory of relativity and modern psychoanalysis were pioneered by an ethnic German of Swiss nationality and an Austrian, respectively. A Spaniard gave us Don Quixote. The rocket propulsion systems behind the Apollo program orignated with the genius in rocketry of the Germans and Russians. The plastic hula hoop, an icon of 1950s America, was invented by an Australian, Alex Tolmer. One could go on.
Noonan, like Madonna, invented herself. I'll grant that.