Skip to comments.“60 Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong”
Posted on 06/01/2005 4:31:34 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob
The title quote is from Le Monde a year ago. It has been updated over the decades, as France has grown. It is false. That many Frenchmen (or Englishmen, or Americans) can be wrong. The French proved that this week in voting down the proposed Constitution of the European Union.
Oh, they were quite right to vote it down, as was the Netherlands, later in the week. The error was in their reasons for voting it down.
Unlike most whove written on this story, I read that 28-page constitutional monstrosity. Here are a few examples why this is a mishmash of (presumably) good intentions, but nothing resembling enforceable law. The Preamble states the purpose as, to live together in freedom, justice and peace, to advance our common interests in the world, and resolved to continue the process of creating an ever closer Union among the peoples of Europe, whilst respecting the diverse cultures of Europe,...
This Constitution does not even define its own terms. Under Founding Values, it says, (4) The Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Social Charter of Turin and the constitutional traditions common to the Member States. So other sources and documents, unknown to the people voting to ratify or reject this Constitution, will define it in unknown ways at unknown times.
Under Solidarity Rights, one of the reasons for the failure of this Constitution rears its head. (2) Workers and employers, or their respective organisations, have, in accordance with Union law and national laws and practices, the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate levels and, in cases of conflicts of interest, to take collective action to defend their interests, including strike action.
The simple truth is that the major economies of Europe, especially those of France and Germany, are already stagnating and dying because of a death grip that their unions now have over the operation of all manner of businesses and institutions. There is no reason for Americans or the British to be smug about this. For historical reasons rather than good planning, both those nations avoided that same failure point, though Britain still faces that possibility.
Looking at the demographics of Europe and its various benefits, those economies are much closer to collapse than is the US one, due to Social Security failure. Still, the Constitution would have locked Europe in its march toward economic doom. Under Solidarity Rights it also says, (8) The Union recognises and respects the entitlement to social security benefits and social services providing protection in cases such as maternity, illness, industrial accidents, dependency or old age, and in the case of loss of employment, in accordance with the rules laid down by Union law and national laws and practices.
The height of silliness, in a Monty Python sense, comes in Article 22 : Sincere Cooperation which provides that Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the Unions tasks and abstain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives of the Union.
So far, almost all of the approvals of this Constitution have come from the governmental elites in each nation. Now two of the three rejections of the Constitution have come from nations which committed their approvals to a national referendum. There is a strong, and ancient, tradition in Europe that the elite know best and should govern for, and over, the ordinary people. But those two groups think entirely differently.
William Buckley in his column this week, Europe Kaput, points out that We know that 70 percent of French farmers voted no on the new constitution. Now, French farmers are the most coddled economic tribe in the entire world, so why should they invite any change in the laws they live under? Public and blue collar workers, and of course the unemployed, voted no on the constitution.
The irony is that the Constitution, which seeks to give away the store, has been defeated by those who want the government to give away even more. So, the rejection of the Constitution was a correct French decision. But the reason for that objection is absurd.
Alistair Cook was a modern equivalent of Alexis deToqueville. He came from another nation, but studied and understood America better than its own residents. I saw Cook present in person the 13th and last program in his series, America, at a fundraiser in Baltimore decades ago. The last sentence Cook used to sum up the genius of America was in a quote from a street vendor used to end the series.
It was, There aint no free lunch. Societies which hold the failed belief that rights or benefits can be made up from thin air, without consequences, are doomed. France, Germany, and many other nations of Western Europe have exactly that failing. They just havent recognized the truth in front of their faces.
About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
John / Billybob
I got my orientation to America listening to Cook prior to emmigrating.
Sheesh. Talk about the Mark of the Beast!
I can't resist correcting Alistair Cook, however. The original version of the phrase he ended his program with was: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Robert Heinlein popularized that saying in one of his stories, in which he gave it an acronymn: TANSTAAFL.
Any number of Frenchmen can be wrong. Never forget that.
Ha ha ha ha ha
Thats right just askem they will tell ya they can't.
Mmm, everything that I've heard says that the "Constitution" is closer to 500 pages.
Tell you what I like best: The value of the Euro has been declining since France and the Netherlands said "No !"
George Soros,who reportedly has a very strong position in Euros (and has shorted the Dollar),just might be having some digestive disturbances about now.
There is Justice in the world!
A few years ago I talked with a friend from the Netherlands. It's not just the farmers and workers who are opposed but the top feeders who profit or lose in currency trading.
The individual members (nations) won't risk a bad play or performance by another member.
To know why it failed, you don't have to read past the Preamble. Here's ours:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF THE BELGIANS, THE PRESIDENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC, HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF DENMARK, THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC, HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF SPAIN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC, THE PRESIDENT OF IRELAND, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA, THE
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE GRAND DUKE OF LUXEMBOURG, THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HUNGARY, THE PRESIDENT OF MALTA, HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS, THE FEDERAL PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND, THE PRESIDENT OF THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF FINLAND, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF SWEDEN, HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND,
Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law,
Believing that Europe, reunited after bitter experiences, intends to continue along the path of civilisation, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived; that it wishes to remain a continent open to culture, learning and social progress; and that it wishes to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for
peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world,
Convinced that, while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their ancient divisions and, united ever more closely, to forge a common destiny,
Convinced that, thus "united in its diversity", Europe offers them the best chance of pursuing, with due regard for the rights of each individual and in awareness of their responsibilities towards future generations and the Earth, the great venture which makes of it a special area of human hope,
Determined to continue the work accomplished within the framework of the Treaties establishing the European Communities and the Treaty on European Union, by ensuring the continuity of the Community acquis,
Grateful to the members of the European Convention for having prepared the draft of this Constitution on behalf of the citizens and States of Europe, Have designated as their plenipotentiaries:
HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF THE BELGIANS,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC,
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF DENMARK,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC,
HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF SPAIN,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC,
THE PRESIDENT OF IRELAND,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA,
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE GRAND DUKE OF LUXEMBOURG,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HUNGARY,
THE PRESIDENT OF MALTA,
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS,
THE FEDERAL PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF FINLAND,
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF SWEDEN,
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND,
Who, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:
Followed by 300+ pages of crap.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
When I think about how much money Soros and Buffett are losing, I smile.
I think a reflection on sacrifice illustrates the real problem here. The signators of the Declaration of Independence pledged (and ended up giving, most of them) their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" in support of creating a new political entity. The French voters won't even pledge their cushy August vacations. That, to me, is the difference.
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