At first glance, Rush Limbaugh would seem a strange nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. In the United States he is well known as a political advocate and agitator, but hardly someone who is known to contribute to peace. Indeed he has been a supporter of the War on Terror, including the Iraq campaign. His views are sometimes considered controversial and have caused conflict.
The Landmark Legal Foundation, which nominated Limbaugh, stated in its letter to the Nobel Institute, “Rush Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host in the United States and one of the most popular broadcasters in the world. His daily radio show is heard on more than 600 radio stations in the United States and around the world. For 18 years he has used his show to become the foremost advocate for freedom and democracy in the world today. Every day he gives voice to the values of democratic governance, individual opportunity and the just, equal application of the rule of law — and it is fitting the Nobel Committee recognize the power of these ideals to build a truly peaceful world for future generations.”
The last sentence is the key for the case for awarding Rush Limbaugh the Nobel Peace Prize. Freedom and democracy begets peace. Virtually every war that has occurred in the past century or so has been started by tyrants and other people who eschew individual opportunity and the rule of law. So the more freedom, democracy, individual opportunity and the just, equal application of the rule of law, the more peace there will be. Rush Limbaugh has been a scourge against anyone who would oppose liberty and use force to advance that opposition.
The Nobel Committee has recognized the principle that freedom begets peace in making past selections. In 1964, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Martin Luther King, whose main claim to fame was his tireless campaign for equal rights and justice for African Americans. Desmond Tutu got a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his struggle against the pernicious system of apartheid in South Africa. The year before, Lech Walesa got a Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign against Communist tyranny in Poland. Andrei Sakharov received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 for his struggle against Soviet tyranny. Each man, like Rush Limbaugh, in his own way contributed to the cause of peace by fighting tirelessly for freedom.
But what about Rush Limbaugh’s association with the War on Terror? Can a man who advocates war, even on a horrible enemy such as Al Qaeda, receive the Nobel Peace Prize? There was no more warlike person in his time than President Teddy Roosevelt. But that did not prevent the Nobel Committee from awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for President Roosevelt’s mediation in the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt’s political rival, President Woodward Wilson, received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1919, despite the fact he led the United States into the First World War. Even a military General, George C. Marshal, got a Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the Marshal Plan to rebuild Europe, despite the fact that he was Chief of Staff of the United States Army in World War II.
But won’t Rush Limbaugh be a controversial recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize because of his politics? The Nobel Committee has not eschewed controversy in some of their past awards. Can there be no more controversial Nobel Prize Laureate than Yasser Arafat, the terrorist chieftain what was undoubtedly responsible for the deaths of thousands? And what about Mikhail Gorbachev, the 1990 winner, who was the last tyrant of the Soviet Union and all that implies? And then there’s Kofi Annan, the 2001 recipient, who presided as Secretary General of the United Nations over an era of graft and corruption?
So by all means, Rush Limbaugh is very qualified to receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Besides, Rush’s Nobel Lecture is bound to be far more entertaining and illuminating that any that might be given by the other famous American who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, former Vice President Al Gore, a man not known for his rhetorical skills.