Parthenon in Greece
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Lamenting the destruction of important Western institutions

Victor Davis Hanson argues at National Review Online that ideology is driving destruction of cherished institutions we’ve inherited.

In the 21st century, hallmark American and international institutions have lost much of their prestige and respect.

Politics and biases explain the lack of public confidence in organizations and institutions such as the World Health Organization, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pulitzer Prizes, and the Academy Awards.

The overseers entrusted with preserving these institutions all caved to short-term political pressures. As a result, they have mostly destroyed what they inherited.

The World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is the first person without a medical degree to hold that position. Why? No one really knows.

In the critical first days of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, almost every statement issued by Tedros and the WHO about the origins, transmission, prevention, and treatment of the virus was inaccurate. Worse, the announcements predictably reflected the propaganda of the Chinese government.

The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates was formed in 1987 for two purposes: to ensure that during every presidential campaign, candidates would agree to debate; and to ensure that the debates would be impartial and not favor either major party.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the commission so far has a checkered record on both counts. …

… The Nobel Peace Prize has been subject to criticism over the years for failing to adequately recognize either diplomatic or humanitarian achievement.

Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization won the prize in 1994, despite conducting lethal terrorist operations. He allegedly gave the final order to execute U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel and two other diplomats in 1973.

In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize went to President Barack Obama, despite the fact that Obama had only been president for eight months when the prize was announced. Many felt the award was a political statement — aimed at empowering Obama and criticizing the policies of his then-unpopular predecessor, George W. Bush.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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