October 09, 2014

Pope Francis, Nobel Laureate? Neither likely nor good, IMO

Pope Francis, your Nobel Peace Prize winner?
I think his chances are insubstantial, not transubstantial.
Francis the Talking Pope is the favorite of oddsmakers to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

I think they're wrong. The Nobel folks sometimes like to send a message. Novaya Gazeta, listed No. 4, would do just that. Edward Snowden, listed No. 2, is interesting. His leaks have done nothing to stop warrantless snooping, which actually isn't connected to warfare, anyway.

The full list, which is not disclosed, has 278 candidates.


First, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama are the only major religious leaders among past laureates, and she was at least halfway a fraud, exploiting many of the poor for foreign rich donors and being purer than the Vatican, if that's possible, on opposing birth control. Sorry, folks, or not sorry, folks, but Chris Hitchens was right.

Second, he's not been on the seat long enough.

Third, personally? Given that the Nobelists have in the past honored people addressing environmental issues in the third world, any major leader officially opposing most birth control would go against Nobel history, because overpopulation is a legitimate concern. And, that's not just the Nobelists' possible train of thought, it's my definite personal one.

If Francis just opposed abortion, it would be one thing. Opposing all birth control other than the rhythm method, and on twisted religious grounds, is another thing entirely.

Fourth? The Nobelists also like people who address poverty. While Francis has critiqued the rich, his opposition to some liberation theology leaders when a prelate in Argentina probably also wouldn't sit well.

So, I'll bet on Novaya, myself. Pakistan's iconic Malala Yousufzai might be a decent option in the betting.

(Update: She's the winner, paired with Kailash Satyarthi of India. An icon wins, while the Nobel folks once again, with co-winners from India and Pakistan, send a message. And British betting houses were too dumb to see that possibility.)

Of course, "sending messages" also backfires. Dear Leader got the nod a few years ago, primarily on the grounds he wasn't George W. Bush, and we see how that's worked out.

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