Constituting EUDAVID WARREN
“The black heart of Europe” — i.e. the European Union bureaucracy, has tied the continent together in a great stagnant mass, and presides over its accelerating slide into the trash heap of history.
This week the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has tried to complete her term at the revolving EU presidency with a spectacular achievement. It would be to take the proposed constitutional charter that was rejected by the voters of the Netherlands and France—and would have been rejected everywhere else had it been put to plebiscite—and get it made into law by another name after a few cosmetic alterations.
The new draft treaty, like the old, would include longer terms for president and members of the EU Council, and lay the foundations for a centralized European foreign office. It would assign new voting weights in legislative elections, and alter other voting formulae to enhance the power of France and Germany, and extend the EU’s ability to interfere in the smaller states’ domestic and judicial arrangements. The most frightening proposal is the one least appreciated: to create a European “charter of fundamental rights” that will accomplish the precise opposite of what it claims. It will swing the iron claw of “progressive thought” through the soft flesh of human variety, enterprise, and freedom, on an unprecedented scale.
It is time people realized that “human rights codes” are a weapon employed by the state to suppress disapproved behaviour by the individual. They cannot be wielded by the individual against the state, as independent civil and criminal courts could be. They are star chambers used, and designed to be used, to mount show trials, in which persons who fail to snap to attention when commissar issues the latest political corrections may be publicly demonized. By removing all of their victims’ established legal protections—presumption of innocence, the right to know one’s accuser, to be tried by a jury of one’s peers, et cetera—they put a jackboot directly in the teeth of the tradition of human liberty descending from Magna Charta. The tribunals are created, always, by bureaucratic fiat.
Democracy is not quite dead in Europe, but getting that way. The cumbersome, incompetent, ridiculously corrupt, incredibly arrogant, and unelected Euro-bureaucracy is already in a position to dictate trans-European policies that by-pass all national legislatures. There is nothing to stop, or even slow, the metastasis of micro-managing regulations that interfere with the daily lives and customs of half-a-billion souls.
While the European Parliament is nominally elected, it exists for show, and is effectively powerless against that bureaucracy, voting on only a tiny proportion of that bureaucracy’s diktats, and having no power whatever to initiate legislation.
An organization that began after the Second World War as a free-trade agreement has morphed into the world’s biggest nanny state. It has tremendous power, and no responsibilities: the prerogative of the harlot on a scale that is impossible for the citizen to imagine.
David Warren. "Constituting EU." Ottawa Citizen (June 23, 2007).
This article reprinted with permission from David Warren.
David Warren, once editor of the Idler Magazine, is widely travelled especially in the Middle and Far East. He has been writing for the Ottawa Citizen since 1996. His commentaries on international affairs appear Wednesdays & Saturdays; on Sundays he writes a general essay on the editorial page. Read more from David Warren at David Warren Online.
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