political commentary

name and address
oct 18, 2012; updated nov 01, 2012

The Curse of Oslo

S ometimes we humans take this metonymy thing too far. As a form of shorthand, we say "The White House" said this, and "France" said that. Well, as your mother told you, it's all fun and games until someone loses a tooth. Meaning that if you keep it up, someone is liable to take what you say seriously, and maybe do something stupid. But an economic organization like the European Union is not really a person, worthy of praise for its successes and blame for its failures; it's the people who created it who actually did the work, and it is they, not the building they work in, who must be held to account.

Even Alfred Nobel, in his famous will, explicitly stipulated that his Peace Prize should only go to a "person." The Nobel Prize Committee seems to think the European Union, which has brought so much economic misery to our European friends, is just the guy. As Iain Martin said, this is beyond parody, not least because the EU has done more to put Europeans at each others' throats than anyone in the past 75 years.

The Nobel Peace Prize is a kiss of death. Yasser Arafat died a lingering, ignominious death within ten years of receiving one. Al Gore and Jimmy Carter both went mad after receiving it. The year the IPCC won the prize, the Earth suddenly stopped getting warmer. And ask the people of a certain tribe in Rwanda, if you can find any still alive, what they think of the United Nations peace-keeping forces that went there to protect them a few years after winning the Prize in 1988. The Nobel Peace Prize is cursed.

As for Barack Obama ... well, who knows what he might have accomplished if not for the curse of Oslo? Maybe we would still have a space program and a booming economy. We can only speculate.

Maybe the Committee suspects that the whole undemocratic enterprise is about to explode, and they want to do what little they can to help. Or maybe they realized that they'd better hurry up and give the EU something before it's declared legally dead, and therefore ineligible.

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Pink fluffy clouds Just some fluffy clouds. So peaceful ... they deserve a prize.

But Euroskeptics should not celebrate too soon. There are only two ways to solve a government-manufactured crisis: to return things to the way they were before, or to plunge forward with even more government, which in this case means unification. Europeans seem not to mind living under a state that dictates every aspect of life and bankrupts their grandchildren, as long as it continues to provide them with free health care, 35-hour work weeks, and employment for life. All the while, they fantasize that this arrangement is somehow different than what Greece had. But the EU is structured in such a way as to make the Greek path inevitable for the entire region—with Oslo now cheering them on.

Those who built the European Empire see in every setback another reason why their work is all the more urgent. Only an unassailable proof of the value of nation-states or an absolute calamity that sends the continent up in flames will dissuade them. Calamity? the curse of Oslo virtually guarantees one.