How wrong can a Nobel Peace Prize winner be?

This wrong: Peaceful revolution ‘only solution’.

You could believe that only by ignoring all of history and current events including those in her own country.

More realistically, one could say that peaceful revolution is preferable. But far less likely.

History proves that successful revolutions are violent: even those that are touted as “peaceful.” Violent and lasting revolutions have produced the current democratic governments of the United States, France, Mexico and others.

So-called peaceful revolutions have all involved violence and prevailed only because of the eventual moral use of violence and continued threats of violence against the counter-revolutionaries. India, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya (one hopes) and the American Civil Rights Movement all started with violence against non-violent protesters. They succeeded because the violence against the non-violent created outrage among those with a conscience who also had the the will and the power to change things.
The fall of the Soviet Union may be the best example of a peaceful revolution. Obviously preferable, but more a factor of economic decay that allowed the decline of power.

On the other hand, China’s Tiananmen Square, and the slaughter of innocents in Syria, and Iran are among many excellent — and more recent — examples of the abject failure of peaceful protest without power. If you have the guns and the will, you can always slaughter your way into the status quo.

On the other hand, if you have the guns and the will, you can make sure that democracy and human rights prevail.


UCLA Professor Bradford Stone, the hero of my book Perfect Killer, made this point when discussing the role of non-violent protest in the United States civil rights movement. Here, he is discussing the prosecution of a cold-case hate crime with Jasmine Thompson, a Black civil rights attorney. The conversation also addresses the issue of why former dictators, despots and war criminals should be brought to justice.

“But why prosecute Talmadge now? The man’s old and coming apart at the seams. His awful seizures tear him apart and he’s got terminal larynx cancer from cigarettes. Why doesn’t somebody just let him die. The cancer’s its own punishment.”

“Punishment is not always justice,” Jasmine said. “Do you think the Nuremberg trials were only about punishment and the culpability of those being tried?”

She paused for an answer I did not have, then shook her head.

“Justice outranks punishment. It brings a cultural repudiation of criminal behavior and that act brings justice—to the individual directly wronged and to society as a whole.”

“But why Talmadge and why now?”

“What’s happening now began in 1990, a couple of weeks before Christmas when a grand jury in Jackson indicted Byron De La Beckwith for the murder of Medgar Evers.”

I was familiar with the case. Evers had been gunned down in front of his home in 1963. An ambitious young district attorney in Hinds County, Bill Waller, brought De La
Beckwith to trial and endured abuse and anonymous death threats to see justice done.

Waller also resisted intense pressure from the racists who controlled the state—the Stennis/Eastland Democrats who had made their careers standing in the schoolhouse door and who thought good race relations was providing new paint to freshen up the Colored Only signs smeared across the Mississippi landscape like ugly cultural graffiti. In this atmosphere, Waller got hung juries in two separate trials. I suppose that, given the all-white juries back then, the verdicts stood as a partial victory, and indicated that not all white people were behind Mississippi’s brutal apartheid.

Less than ten years later, Mississippi elected “nigger lover” Waller as governor thanks in large part to the FBI backed up by the guns and steel of the federal government and National Guard troops.

Many think the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent protests did the whole job. Partly true enough, Dr. King and his protesters had to be the first wave to show the nation their dedication, their suffering, and to help Americans understand the evil. Build a nationwide outrage intense enough to commit federal guns and bullets to protect the innocent.

Reality is that this is a nasty Darwinian world and you can’t love your enemies to death. The world ain’t about Kumbaya. And if that’s all you have, you and all your good intentions are gonna be eaten alive. The Civil Rights Movement would never have succeeded without the threat of federal violence even the Klan had to respect.

“Bobby DeLaughter got a conviction in the Evers case,” Jasmine continued. “And produced more than simple justice for Myrlie Evers and her children. It sent a tremendous signal that Mississippi had changed, and if we got a conviction here, it might happen everywhere. Light bulbs went off all over the South, and pretty soon we had convictions in the Birmingham church bombings and in a whole lot of other Klan killings. All the way up to Indianapolis and Pennsylvania.”

“A compelling case, counselor,” I said.

“Feed one person’s hunger for justice and you can feed a whole people. It’s a fish and loaves kind of thing.”

  1. bobbo, many things are actually plain to see says:

    Like this gem from the header: “Reality is that this is a nasty Darwinian world and you can’t love your enemies to death.”

    And yet the notion of peaceful protest will always be given inappropriate lip service by media and those who don’t want any changes==ie, those in power.

    If you see plainly thru this issue–bravo. But there are so many others.

    1. The rich create jobs.
    2. USA needs to spend even more than every other nation combined on the military in order to be safe.
    3. The free market works in any area except meaningless consumer goods.
    4. Healthcare can be made affordable within any free market system.
    5. The pukes care about the 99%.
    6. YOU aren’t part of the 99%.

    ……and so forth. Just about every idea that passes for talking points in todays political/cultural environment.

    Same as it ever was.

    • HUGSaLOT says:

      Not every rich person creates jobs. EMPLOYERS create jobs, they are the ones filling out the W2 forms, not some spoiled rich brat.

      Employers prefer to give jobs to those who work cheap. Thanks to union jobs, high education costs, and the overall high cost of living, the “ri–employers” don’t want to hire Americans since we demand to much money.

      • bobbo, many things are actually plain to see says:

        Hugs—beyond the blistering obvious, what’s your point?

      • Jess Hurchist says:

        I suspect rich people don’t always employ people but do create jobs just by spending their wealth on, for instance, expensive cars, wristwatches, fashion and suchlike.

  2. ± says:

    So someone else won the wiesel, gorbachev, arafat, rabin, carter, gore, obama prize ….. and surely I missed many more inappropriate recipients.

    When I was a kid, this was a hallowed award. Now it is garbage. I would still do what the worthy physicists, chemists etc. do, and compromise myself in an interview so I can get the $1.5M, then I would spit on the medal or whatever after I have the money.

    The politicization of this award surely was not what Alfred Nobel intended.

    And Nobel screwed up when not allowing for an award in the field of mathematics; that field without which most other REAL accomplishments are possible and dependent on.

    PS to bobbo —– it is no surprise that you are still here after you said that you would leave. What a hubris fail that was.

  3. bobbo, many things are actually plain to see says:

    PM—like most rightwingnuts==thats not what I said and even under your misconstrusement, changes have been made. Is your brain that fallow? Ha, ha. Yes, I think it is. Just like all other Pukes. Can’t think at all. Just a pile on with other like minded scent following thumpers.

    But I post to offer my harusinspection on a topical related subject: the peaceful occupy wallstreet demonstration. Looks like the NYPD is going to sweep the streets Friday Morning. “Please leave so we can clean the place up -vs- we ain’t leaving.” Looks to me that Friday will be make or break for the event. So typical for cops to riot causing the movement they attack to gain credibility but will it be enough once it starts to rain?


    Fascinating affect on human beings/our history/our sociology. Its non violent too.

    Yea, verily.

    • bobbo, many things are actually plain to see says:

      Hmmmm–I thought I corrected that. Should be haruspication. Had to look that word up a long time ago and it has always stuck with me.

      BTW—this blog organization still really sucks. I’d like to see an explanation of what prompted the changes==what the goal is. Nesting is ok but this version doesn’t work past 4 so it is FUBAR like the rest of the changes.

      The stinking outgoing tide of modernization fouls all boats.

  4. pcsmith says:

    I didn’t read the article, much.

    Peace is not a way of life, it a time between conflict.

    The measure of a civilization is/are the periods between peace.

    Hopefully someone said that before me!

  5. Its a good debate and discussion
    While it may be argued that the biggest effects overall were the direct result of non-violence
    Ghandi , Martin Luther King and Uncle Tom’s Cabin all had the most lasting and major results than any of the violent events
    Yet we live in a world of bullies and power trips that are the rule
    The worst part is when do-gooders like Hillary Clinton and her tech-experts socially engineer the Middle East to create big time trouble
    If you think that Christian fundamentalists insist on imposing their wills on others – try left wing – Soros funded clones with the “Way the world is and the Way It Should Be”
    The only problem – its the way that these people perceive it should be
    Look at the trouble they causes
    I’d rather be sitting nicely and relax on the beach

    • bobbo, many things are actually plain to see says:

      I can see this idea MOMENTARILY flitting thru one’s mind but even while typing it you should have immediately recognized how silly/wrong you are: “Ghandi , Martin Luther King and Uncle Tom’s Cabin all had the most lasting and major results than any of the violent events.”

      Ghandi–freed India from Britain. Probably the best example of non-violence working===but it was against the British who were tiring of maintaining their empire. Timing was everything and pure luck. Note the Colony of India was Established by violence. I’d call that a push.

      MLK–it took the Civil War to free the slaves. MLK only got the vote. Hardly comparable.

      Uncle Tom’s Cabin?==most books are published without violence.

      So what do we have here? I think you need to RTFA once again. What is a bigger event? The USA, French, Russian revolutions, or securing the ability to vote?

  6. fromuNDAzcheese says:

    she won the Peace Prize right? so why bash her for being non violent?

  7. deowll says:

    Thomas Jefferson believed peaceful revolutions had a lot of advantages over the alternatives. That’s why he and the founding fathers set our government up to have peaceful revolutions that can completely overthrow the government without anyone getting killed. They are called elections.

    As for as the Arab Spring revolutions go, you should with hold judgement for at least a decade. From where I’m setting things look at to likely to end up with Muslim religious conservatives killing/purging all the non Muslims as they have in Afghanistan before moving on to the rest of the world.

    There may be as many as a 1,500 non Muslims left in that nation of 24,000,000 give or take.

    Why are we still there? We aren’t winning.

  8. Milo says:

    As alluded to already, only the science Nobels are worth the time of day. And the likely outcome of the Arab Spring is a wasteland stretching across all Muslim countries.

  9. tomdennis says:

    I have lived in peace since 1967. It is by choice and the environment I place my body in. It is not difficult.
    How many of you live in a peaceful surrounding by choice.
    Or do you live in a violent environment by choice?

  10. Bryan P. Carney says:

    I agree. I also predict that Adbusters will get a Nobel Prize for #ows.


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