Skip to comments.Steyn: EU just won't take 'no' for an answer
Posted on 05/29/2005 2:39:29 AM PDT by xjcsa
Following Sunday's vote in France, on Wednesday Dutch voters get to express their opinion on the proposed "European Constitution." Heartening to see democracy in action, notwithstanding the European elite's hysterical warnings that, without the constitution, the continent will be set back on the path to Auschwitz. I haven't seen the official ballot, but the choice seems to be: "Check Box A to support the new constitution; check Box B for genocide and conflagration."
Alas, this tactic doesn't seem to have worked. So, a couple of days before the first referendum, Jean-Claude Juncker, the "president" of the European Union, let French and Dutch voters know how much he values their opinion:
"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again," "President" Juncker told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.
Got that? You have the right to vote, but only if you give the answer your rulers want you to give. But don't worry, if you don't, we'll treat you like a particularly backward nursery school and keep asking the question until you get the answer right. Even America's bossiest nanny-state Democrats don't usually express their contempt for the will of the people quite so crudely.
Juncker is a man from Luxembourg, a country two-thirds the size of your rec room, and, under the agreeably clubby EU arrangements, he gets to serve as "president" without anything so tiresome as having to be voted into the job by "ordinary people." His remarks capture precisely the difference between the new Europe and the American republic.
Sick in bed a couple of months back, I started reading A Declaration of Interdependence: Why America Should Join the World by Will Hutton, and found it such a laugh I was soon hurling my medication away and doing cartwheels round the room. Hutton was a sort of eminence grise to Tony Blair, at least in his pre-warmongering pre-Bush-poodle phase. Hutton is the master of the dead language of statism that distinguishes the complacent Europhile from a good percentage of Americans, not all of them Republicans.
That said, even as a fully paid-up Eurobore, Hutton's at pains to establish how much he loves America: "I enjoy Sheryl Crow and Clint Eastwood alike, delight in Woody Allen . . ."
I'd wager he's faking at least two of these enthusiasms. As for the third, Woody Allen is the man the French government turned to for assistance with a commercial intended to restore their nation's image in America after anger at post-9/11 Gallic obstructionism began to have commercial implications for France. In the advertisement, Woody said he disliked the notion of renaming French fries "freedom fries." What next, he wondered. Freedom kissing?
Despite the queasy mental image of Woody French-kissing, I'm with him on that one: If you don't like the phrase "French fries," there's a perfectly good British word: "chip." It conveniently covers both the menu item, and what the French have on their shoulder. That the French government could think that an endorsement by Woody Allen would improve their standing with the American people is itself a sad testament to the ever-widening Atlantic chasm. And that Will Hutton could think his appreciation of Woody is proof of his own pro-Americanism only widens the gap by another half-mile.
But, having brandished his credentials, Hutton says that it's his "affection for the best of America that makes me so angry that it has fallen so far from the standards it expects of itself." The great Euro-thinker is not arguing that America is betraying the Founding Fathers, but that the Founding Fathers themselves got it hopelessly wrong. He compares the American and French Revolutions, and decides the latter was better because instead of the radical individualism of the 13 colonies the French promoted "a new social contract."
Well, you never know. It may be the defects of America's Founders that help explain why the United States has lagged so far behind France in technological innovation, economic growth, military performance, standard of living, etc. Entranced by his Europhilia, Hutton insists that "all western democracies subscribe to a broad family of ideas that are liberal or leftist."
Given that New Hampshire has been a continuous democracy for two centuries longer than Germany, this seems a doubtful proposition. It would be more accurate to say that almost all European nations subscribe to a broad family of ideas that are statist. Or, as Hutton has it, "the European tradition is much more mindful that men and women are social animals and that individual liberty is only one of a spectrum of values that generate a good society."
Precisely. And it's the willingness to subordinate individual liberty to what Hutton calls "the primacy of society" that has blighted the continent for over a century: Statism -- or "the primacy of society" -- is what fascism, Nazism, communism and now European Union all have in common. In fairness, after the first three, European Union seems a comparatively benign strain of the disease -- not a Blitzkrieg, just a Bitzkrieg, an accumulation of fluffy trivial pan-European laws that nevertheless takes for granted that the natural order is a world in which every itsy-bitsy activity is licensed and regulated and constitutionally defined by government.
That's why Will Hutton feels almost physically insecure when he's in one of the spots on the planet where the virtues of the state religion are questioned.
"In a world that is wholly private," he says of America, "we lose our bearings; deprived of any public anchor, all we have are our individual subjective values to guide us." He deplores the First Amendment and misses government-regulated media, which in the EU ensures that all public expression is within approved parameters (left to center-left). "Europe," he explains, "acts to ensure that television and radio conform to public interest criteria."
"Public interest criteria" doesn't mean criteria that the public decide is in their interest. It means that the elite -- via various appointed bodies -- decide what the public's interest is. Will Hutton is a member of the European elite, so that suits him fine. But it's never going to catch on in America -- I hope.
As European "president" Juncker spelled out to the French and Dutch electorates, a culture that subordinates the will of the people to the "primacy of society" is unlikely to take no for an answer. And, if you ignore referendum results, a frustrated citizenry turns to other outlets.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
Steyn is hilarious in this piece. Laughter at the Euro-leftist Will Hutton caused him to almost miraculously recover from his sick bed, and I see why.
Is ther eany chance that the Euro will go into free fall? I don't mean go from an exchange rate of 1.29 to 1.22 versus the dollar, but a fall to the year 2001 levels?
Best wishes to the people of France. May their vote be truly reflective of their hopes and dreams.
Another great article by Mark Steyn. Thanks for posting it.
Would that it were true. In the eight years we've lived in Maine, we've had three votes on the so-called North Woods, every time defeating a proposal to turn the two northernmost counties into a Nature Theme Park, and two votes on so-called "gay rights", defeating that horror both times. Now our 'Rat dominated legislature has passed "gay rights" with no citizen input and done so in a fashion that leaves only 90 days to get the required signatures for a referendum.
Maine is headed for the dumpster because of these odious, imperious elected "betters".
Individual liberty frightens people without it because the baggage attached is individual responsibility. Europe has been comfortable with Mama govt. telling them what to do and when to do it, plus paying through the nose for that doubtful privilege....not to mention the US picking up the tab for their defense so they were able to funnel millinos into social welfare programs.
And that's where we came in, after all, back in 1776. That's the basic difference, what drove us to revolution. Interesting to see that things haven't changed all that much. The basic tenets of our society define who we are -- it's that magic that turns immigrants into Americans, not just something in the water, it's the very air we breathe. Be whatever you like, the only limits are those you place upon yourself. (If you think about it, it's like jumping off a cliff and trusting that your wings work.)
I agree, Maine has been having serious problems. Sympathy from the great state of Taxachusetts.
'millinos' hmm, must have meant 'millions'. It's hard to type with four mini dachshunds in your lap. Sorry.
That people like Hutton can so easily nad shamelessly pput forward these thoughts shows how far we have fallen in the West.
ANd do not forget, the results of that election are nt in yet, and it will not matter anyway.
Many of those voting "Non" would agree with this Nazi. Vichy lives on.
That is not what is holding the dollar down. THe European goverment debt is even higher than ours and a percentage of GDP. You are not suppose to know that.
Steyn is right as usual!
My revenge on the statist Mainers is to keep telling them that the only reason they became a separate state from MA is so the people of Missouri could deal in human chattle. They hate to be reminded...
Similar occurance in Pittsburgh a couple years ago when the citizens voted down, by 70% no less, publically financed sports stadia. The pols came up w/ a plan "B" and built the danm things on public money anyway.
Pittsburgh is now in receivership and losing population faster than ever.
But here's the beautiful thing; they are going to elect another democrat mayor and nothing will change. Its the suicide of the City of Pittsburgh.
Interesting, what is the story?
Who says so? Why DemonRats, of course!
Steyn, as usual, comes up with some brilliant quips like this one.
"If you don't like the phrase "French fries," there's a perfectly good British word: "chip." It conveniently covers both the menu item, and what the French have on their shoulder."
Thanks for the info.
I was surprised to note that even the DUmmies got it right.
The American constitution is a concise, readable four pages. The EU constitution is an impossible 450 pages. Even they agreed that a 450 page constitution should not be signed.
My only quibble with Steyn's above observation is that in many places here in Iowa, we get exactly the same thing every two years or so... for school bonds or other special elections to raise taxes to increase educrat comfort levels.
They did with the ERA. When that lost the first thing they did was extend the years available for ratification. Then when the door was reopened for recalcitrant states to rethink their objections, a state or two decided support for the ERA was premature. They were told by liberals they could not "reconsider."
It's always entertaining when a liberal can't get his quiche baked.
The feminists in government CONTINUE to introduce the ERA in state govenments.
"Public interst criteria"? Somewhere in hell, Joseph Goebbels is laughing his a*s off!
Monarchist Europe still exists in a dispersed, bureaucratic, nannycratic form. The commoner is to be ruled by those wiser than he, and the commoner votes for it, again and again and again. The "rabble" is angry now only because of high prices and unemployment and the threat of cheap labor from the south and east, and in the Dutch case, additionally by the murder of a man by a religious nut.
The EU will not solve these problems, of course, but in the birthplace of existentialism and dialectical materialism, the belief that the EU will solve all problems persists, and will continue to persist until its final Islamification. Then, when the adherents of existentialism and dialectical materialism are annihilated by religious zealots unhindered by mercy and justice, well, it won't solve any socioeconomic problems either, but at least we won't have to listen to European ignorantsia anymore.
And so it will go in the U.S., since the Republicans refuse to stand up to the minority liberals in the Senate. And why should they care? They are the elite, want to be feted by their co-elites, and the Republican Party will not disabuse them of the notion that this is unacceptable.
Thank you. Now my mood can improve.
Eyes wide open bump.
Is there any common measure between the grouch vote of nostalgic crypto-peasants and the parochial vote of French Jews and neo-conservatives who want to stop the European machine in its tracks? Many voters will say NON to the Treaty for the establishment of a European Constitution this Sunday because they believe in democracy, cherish Europes Jewish and Christian values, and trust national sovereignty more than EU oligarchy. For these NON voters, the Treaty for a Constitution is more like a Munich agreement and nothing like the timeless, elegant, document framed by Americas Founding Fathers.[emphasis added]
It is by someone far more knowledgeable than I regarding European political sentiments, and supports your hopeful assertion.
Woody Allen, the man who stole his step-daughter's heart, was called on to restore the reputation of France. lol
Sorry about that.
Isn't that the truth. And the same statist, Marxist bastards want to force gay marriage down our throats. They just will not take NO for an answer. Notice the situation in Oregon, where we overwhelmingly supported a Const. Amend. banning sodomist "marriage", and yet our girly-man governor wants to introduce a bill that pretty much amounts to the same thing.
The right wing in America is the last bastion for the defense of our civilization.
"Best wishes to the people of France. May their vote be truly reflective of their hopes and dreams."
Hear! Hear! I second that emotion!
"The Left here wants to turn America into Europe through the courts by ignoring the will of the citizenry. Today's vote in France is a fortuitous sign that ordinary people have had enough and are intent on taking matters back in their own hands. Europe has a future but not one cowebbed by elite designs and the suffocating dead hand of Eurocrat busybodyness. 'Nuff said."
The EU is getting pissed off that Christians are rising up to finally say that they had had enough of this IslamoMarxist attitude the governments in the EU are taking. And they cannot supress this because they want to keep the US as far removed as possible.
Imagine if we get involved by saying look what is happening to global Christianty. It would only prove Bush was right once again.
Oh thats a hoot!
Huttons seems to forget we have national parks the size of some euroweenie countries!
This country is covered with public lands
Thanks for the ping, Pokey! Another wonderful article from our esteemed and brilliant Mr. Steyn.
Yellowstone Park is 4 times the size of Luxembourg!
Id be willing to bet that more than half of arizona is open to public use.
Prop 187. There's only one form of government above the village level and that's oligarchy. The only advantage of democracy is that it has somewhat more power to influence the oligarchs than other forms of government.
Really. Evertime I read something like the sentence you quoted, I'm reminded of the ponytailed nitwit during the first Clitnon run for President that said, "I want you to treat us like we're your children".
It's everything that's wrong with modern leftist thinking in one sentence.
The joke is the French are rejecting the EU for all the wrong reasons. Because it interferes with their 35 hour mandated work week, and their 6 weeks of vacation, and subsidized protected socialist lifestyle. NOT out of a rejection of the concept, or demand for liberty.
Thanks for the ping - big Steyn fan here. Does he still write for the Irish times? (can't bring myself to buy that liberal rag)
State and local gov't is even more tyrranical than federal
I know what you mean. Here in Black Hawk County (Waterloo/Cedar Falls), the casino boat gambling referendum passed last year -- on its third attempt. I'm guessing there won't be a fourth attempt just to make sure.
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