May 29, 2005

The Problem Of The EU Constitution

It appears that both France and the Netherlands will reject the proposed EU Constitution before the end of the current week. That would, one would imagine, kill the much maligned document. After all, those two countries are founding membrs of the EU, and represent large chunk out of a united Europe. The political leaders of Europe, though, are seeking to impose the document over the objections of the people.

There remains a remote chance that the people of France and the Netherlands will confound the opinion polls and endorse the constitution. But it is far more likely that, by the end of this week, two of the union’s founding members will have rejected the 474-page tome that was cobbled together after years of wrangling and which, our leaders would have us believe, paves the way for a more democratic and more accountable European Union.

However, it does not take a Eurosceptic to notice that at the first sign that their constitution might get thrown out, Europe’s politicians and bureaucrats take flight from democracy and seek refuge in the more comfortable world of inter-governmental negotiations. The constitution that is trumpeted as a triumph in democracy will not be allowed to suffer defeat at the hands of the people.

That is, of course, emblematic of the problem of the political Left in most parts of the world. So certain are they that their prescriptions for a better society are right and righteous, they will go to great lengths to implement their schemes over the objections of those that the plans allegedly benefit. Anything that stands in their way -- including the people themselves -- is simply dismissed as an obstacle to democracy. But let's be clear about one thing. Any further movement towards implementing the EU Constitution if either of the two countries ratifies it is a blow to real democracy.

What is the problem with the document? Why haven't people embraced it? I think this is the problem.

Above all, though, it is a document that few Europeans will actually read, even if they are determined to. And therein lies its central problem: a constitution, whose supporters claim will bring the institutions of Europe closer to its people, will forever be distant, unloved and largely unread

A 447 page document, written in legalese by lawyers and bureaucrats, will not gain the support of the people. The average European will never understand it. In short, it will not be a social contract. It will be the antithesis of the US Constitution.

Consider our Constitution. It is short, written in language that the average American can understand, and delineates functions and limits that the people embrace. That is what makes the government legitimate in the eyes of most Americans. We may disagree with the policies and practices of the government, but it is the Constitution that renders those things legitimate in our eyes.

Americans accept court decisions that they dislike when they are rendered in accord with that document and are rooted in it. It is only when the roots of a decision are not clearly and firmly planted in Constitutional soil that large segments of the people stand in opposition. That was the problem with Dred Scott, with Roe v. Wade, and with Lawrence v. Texas. That was the reason for the outcry over the recent Simmons case and its use of foreign law. It is the problem with the current cases moving towards a judicially created "right" to homosexual marriage. We Americans are familiar enough with our Constitution that we will not accept when it is transgressed.

What do the Europeans need to do to make an acceptable Constitution? Go back and make it shorter, less complex, and more accessible. Keep it simple and clear. Make it a document that the people of Europe can know and love. Only then will the people of Europe embrace it.

UPDATE -- France rejects the EU Constitution.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: French Voters Reject First EU Constitution
» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 04:52 PM || Permalink || Comments (5) || Comments

Comments on The Problem Of The EU Constitution

How dare you twist the article around by not quoting every letter of it. Oh well, I guess it's just another case of an attack by The Dishonest And Intellectually Deficient Right.

|| Posted by dolphin, May 30, 2005 05:09 AM ||

On the contrary, Democracy is initself a "left" idea. Take for instance the "privatization" of Social Security. It's something that the vast majority of the American people oppose, yet the GOP is pushing forward with it. Terri Schiavo, the VAST majority of the population agreed that her husband had the right to make the decision, the GOP felt it was time to write a new law for one case. The Iraq war, plans were going ahead for that at a time when only 28% of the country supported it. The FMA, opposed by a majority of Americans, the GOP still attemptes to push it through. The list goes on.

|| Posted by dolphin, May 30, 2005 10:38 AM ||

The European Union, now consisting of 25 members, has come a long way since its initial inception in the post-WWII era. Hundreds of treaties provide economic as well as ecological benefits to all member nations. With that said, I fail to see how a United States of Europe will contribute more to "union" than has already been achieved. Why should France or any other nation give up its cultural history and national identity? To become "more" European?

This issue is best left to Europeans; they are capable of deciding for themselves what is best. I hope they are looking at the long term issues more than the short term; how would the USE deal with the problem of immigration and the Islamification of Western Culture? Is the bureaucracy "too large" to be effective and responsive to the needs of member states? Could the train be slowed or stopped once it got going?

If I were French, I would have voted "contre" also. Indeed, we live in interesting times.

|| Posted by Mustang, May 30, 2005 12:32 PM ||

What's a “letter of marque”? How about “bill of attainder”?

Otherwise, good post.

|| Posted by Dave Schuler, September 28, 2005 03:06 PM ||

1) Essentially, it is a license to act as a privateer.

2) It is a law which declares an individual to be guilty of a crime without trial -- "tainting" them with guilt of a high crime such as treason. It was often related to the notion of "corruption of blood", which imposed punishment or legal disabilities upon future generations of the family.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, September 28, 2005 04:27 PM ||
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