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The unlikely and over-esteemed provenance of the Nobel Peace Price is a paltry six former members of the Norwegian Parliament. Except for brief overlappings, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are not allowed to serve simultaneously on the Committee and in Parliament. The prize is thought to be something like God's seal of approval. Is there a higher honor? If the Pope gave the President a gold medal for helping to bring peace to a troubled world while waging two unnecessary wars — maybe he already has — that incidental fact might be skipped in the nightly news to allow more coverage of the First Lady's outfit. The amount of money that goes with the prize — tax free I'm told — and its interesting history have a lot to do with its brief but immense popularity. Of course, the Emmys and the Oscars will always outrank the Nobel, at least in raw viewership. Strangely, while it offers considerable cachet, it seems never once to have interfered with a peaceful Latte at Starbucks. So, when the dust finally settles, perhaps we will see the Nobel Peace Prize for what it actually is — the opinion, the desire, the intent of six Norwegian politicians. In fact, were it not for the prize itself, the long winters and its complete lack of strategic importance, we might long ago have occupied Norway.
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