The Closet Moderate: They call it peace

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

They call it peace

In the past few years, the Nobel Prize folks gave out a number of peace prizes that were justly held up to ridicule: Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Barack Obama -- WE GET IT, YOU HATE GEORGE BUSH. But in 2010, Bush is gone and the Scandinavians can get down to business again. This year's Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, is someone whom ordinary folks can look to as a role model. As an advocate for democracy and transparency, Liu has suffered at the hands of his Red Chinese jailors, yet remains committed to his calling. This year, the Peace Prize recipient is no lightweight.

But, as I do every year, I asked myself: is this person someone who, as Alfred Nobel directed, "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses"? Has Liu worked to increase the peace?

The ChiComs say no. As their foreign ministry put it: "The Nobel Peace Prize is meant to award individuals who promote international harmony and friendship, peace and disarmament. Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law. Awarding the peace to Liu runs completely counter to the principle of the award and is also a desecration of the Peace Prize."

On the face of it, the Maoists have a point. Even getting beyond the narrow bounds of Nobel's will and looking at peace more generally, one could argue that Liu has done more to cause conflict than to cause peace. The peaceable man, from the Red Chinese government's point of view, would passively accept the state's boot upon his neck, never causing dissension, protest, or rebellion. Indeed, if all the world submitted to the Marxist state, there would be no conflict, no war, no strife. Is this not peace?

If you recognize a straw man argument, you will know that the answer is no. As another Nobel laureate once wrote, "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice." The socialist state, while it may prevent revolution and call it peace, is a system based on force, not consent; it is devoid of justice. Their power comes from the barrel of a gun, not the consent of the governed; their agreements are sealed with the jackboot, not the handshake. Liu Xiaobo may not have stopped a war or convened a peace congress, but he has dedicated his life to the destruction of a state made of war -- war of class against class, of a government against its own people. To the oppressed peoples of the world, this Nobel Prize must be a beacon of justice, and thus one of peace.

3 comments:

Fake Steve Hawking said...

Wow, SC, when you hate on the far, far left you sound a lot like the far left! Way to be a relative moderate!

Silent Cal said...

To the Maoists, you and I are both reactionaries.

Mike Cruickshank said...

Hey Guys,
This is a great blog with some good thoughts. I especially love the Preston Brooks/Charles Sumner photo.