Dressed to the Nons

I watched the results of yesterday's French referendum on the European Union Constitution with what I can only describe as disinterested interest, not being a European myself. The French gave the measure a resounding defeat by more than 55% of the vote. I think they did the right thing, although many of them may have done it for the wrong reasons.

I went to the E.U. site on the link above yesterday morning and tried to actually read the proposed E.U. Constitution, and my eyes glazed over after about 30 pages or so. It runs a couple of hundred pages, and it prescribes in minute detail how the the E.U.'s subjects would be allowed to live their lives under its provisions. There is so much small print that just about anything could be hidden in there that would be useful to the Eurocrats who actually run the E.U. While paying lip service to individual rights such as "freedom of expression," it also abridges them by saying that:

"The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."

In other words, any speech that might be perceived as infringing any of the other rights in the E.U. Constitution would be prohibited and punished. Indeed, at that point, about the only thing the French would really be free to say would be "Bonjour!" Such a provision would be unconstitutional in the United States.

I think the main difference between our constitution and the one the E.U. proposes is that in America, the people are sovereign and have inherent rights, and grant such powers to the State as it needs to function, and no more. In Europe, the State is sovereign and has inherent power, and grants such rights to the people as it deems necessary, and no more. We are a people who have a government; they are governments who have people. This is why so many of the leadership positions in the E.U. are unelected and unaccountable to the people they rule.