Is it time to start loving the French? The French voted non on the European Union's constitution, dealing a blow to elitist internationalism. Writing on the eve of the French vote, columnist George Will described the European Union as having "a flag no one salutes and an anthem no one knows," seeking "ratification of a constitution few have read."
"Surely only its authors have read its turgid earnestness without laughing, which is one reason why the European project is foundering. Today in France, and Wednesday in the Netherlands, Europe's elites -- political, commercial and media -- may learn the limits of their ability to impose their political fetishes on restive and rarely consulted publics."
Well, we now know what the French think. The EU plan has gotten as far as it has because it has until now been decided by internationalist elites who don't mind (Will's words) the "leeching away" each nation's sovereignty. The constitution sounds ludicrous:
"The proposed constitution has 448 articles -- 441 more than the U.S. Constitution. It is a jumble of pieties, giving canonical status to sentiments such as 'the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen' should be protected. It establishes, among many other rights, a right to 'social and housing assistance' sufficient for a 'decent existence.' Presumably, supranational courts and bureaucracies will define and enforce those rights, as well as the right of children to 'express their views fully.' And it stipulates that 'preventive action should be taken' to protect the environment.
"The constitution says member states can 'exercise their competence' only where the European Union does not exercise its. But the constitution gives E.U. institutions jurisdiction over foreign affairs, defense, immigration, trade, energy, agriculture, fishing and much more."
While protecting such important aspects of civilization as the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen, the constitution's authors adamantly refused to acknowledge Europe's Christian roots. As columnist William Murchison writes:
"The Constitution's defeat this week doesn't translate as victory for a God annoyed at being snubbed -- not when fears for the future of the welfare state mingled at the polls with deep distrust of Chirac. But what a chance now for some rethinking! About what? About the connection between God and freedom -- a connection that appears presently to escape most Europeans."
Bill Kristol is good on the establishment that produced the document:
"It's hard for Americans to appreciate just how out-of-touch the establishment (and it really is a single establishment) of Paris, Berlin, the Hague, and Brussels is. Its arrogance almost beyond belief. Former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the father of the 448-article constitution, early on in the campaign dismissed complaints about the document's opacity by assuring his countrymen, 'The text is easily read and quite well phrased, which I can say all the more easily since I wrote it myself.'"
The Church of the Absurd
A good summary of a recent decision by the Anglican Church:
"The senior bishops of the Church of England, led by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, have said that clergy can 'marry' their boyfriends - and of course, the female clergy, can 'marry' their girlfriends - if they promise to refrain from sexual activities with their 'spouse.' In a decision that may go down in history as being the first to render Monty Python parodies redundant, Rowan Williams offered this compromise as a solution to the problem created by a British law that recognizes same-sex unions for purposes of tax and inheritance benefits. The decision is part of the Anglican bishops' draft Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships. The bishops also agreed to change ecclesiastical law to enable gay partners to occupy vicarages for up to two months after the death of their clergy 'partners.'"