So it was, my dear friends, that I have been captivated by the modern world. Yes, I admit, I have begun to slip into an uncomfortable apathy with all the modern conveniences. At work, which I still work at a radio shanty, events are slow and listless. My friend Ludwig and I continue our study and search for Julius Rothsbard, but we have heard little from him now since his disappearance. We don't understand many of the clues left behind, and fear now he is in hiding outside the United States.
Regardless, and too much aplomb, I make about my merry way with friends et al. I was discussing some of the world's latest news just the other day with Natalie...
So I did, it was a rather confusing conversation...
I have a feeling there is a stark contrast theses days between conventional and unconventional wisdom. Of course, this is not the only relevant news of the day. I was incredibly excited to learn that Europe was considering its own Constitutional charter, to span their states, although am disappointed to hear it may already be a lost cause. All 25 nations must ratify the new Constitution of the "European Union", but France, a pivotal member of the group as it has always been, has declined the matter by referendum.
It is quite ironic that when the United States signed and sealed its Constitution, I was far away in France, a distant observer. Today, being in America, it's the matters of France and her latest part to play in a European Constitution, and I am again still a distant observer. That this matter may be over is uncertain, however the issue did spark much of my curiosity & imagination. As it was, I decided to investigate the new Constitution and offer my point of view.
The European Constitution, not so much like the Constitution which forms the United States, is more an international treaty of far-ranging scope that creates something of a federal organization housed within the economic household of the European Union congregation. The body is a true federal one (unlike the modern United States) and actually allows member statehoods their sovereignty in almost all matters. The first object that struck me was the sheer length, at 300 pages it is far too much for a single man to read, despite it being far smaller than the treaties it consolidates. The great success of the United States Constitution, if you can call our modern government a successful derivative of it, was that it was short and much clearer. At 3 pages it could be read at the dinner table, or at the bedside. I myself have not had the time to scour all of its pages, instead focusing more on the philosophies behind it. I feel some of these ideas would have better contributed to the formation of our union, although with some pitfalls.
The philosophies that enter into this Constitution-treatise are varied but very well principled. Take, for instance, the philosophy of conferral. This idea is based upon the notion that the European Union derives it's authority from its member nations. That was one of the many ideas that I knew went into the principles of our Constitution, but it was something never truly explicitly stated. It was an idea attempted to be protected by our Ninth and Tenth amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, which would reserve all powers not granted to the Federal body via the Constitution to the member states. However, it is one thing I now regret we founders failed to elaborate enough, as it is a concept that is not readily understood as important.
The principle of subsidiarity is somewhat vague, but I believe it is well intentioned. It states that the decisions of the EU should be taken as close to the people as it can be. I believe this to re-enforce the first idea above, that member statehoods are sovereign over their own populations, and that their decisions are to be respected. The vague aspect of it is that it sounds like a loose democracy. If the first principle is so strong, it shouldn't need a reiteration. And in interpretation, this principle could be taken to mean something different entirely.
The EU being able to act upon the principle of proportionality means that it may only act in the capacity it is required to, to achieve an objective. This concept is again very good, and I wish a similar principle was placed again in our own Constitution. While the Ninth and Tenth Amendments clearly express a similar limit on Federal authority, that the principle wasn't elaborated enough seems to have such provisions ignored by the populace of today. With a Constitution written on the principle of limitation of powers would create a longer-lasting Federal rule.
A principle of consistency is required to prevent the laws of the EU to become confused with the laws of the member nations, and that principle of primacy is important for consistency. With this single body, the treaties created and built upon the body of work existing within Europe today would allow for free trade between member nations without abhorrent restrictions.
The policies are perhaps more fair than any other international diplomatic body like it. However, it's nothing like a United States of Europe, as it should be. While it can restrict many of the policies of member nations and prevent them from dispute, as well as liberate trade between them, it does not prevent them from deploying armies against one another in any substantial way, it likewise does not prevent despotism in any region of it's body. This is perhaps best for the people of Europe today. As I read through the rulers of the land, the democratic nations that remain have fallen to deep rooted "socialism" as it is called, and the remainders are still in an economically crippled state, or under a monarchial rule (still). This is perhaps the greatest downfall of Europe, which it has not progressed into the era of Enlightenment that was set forth 200 years ago, or had it, it surely rejected the idea. France, leading the charge against this new union not for diplomatic purposes but perhaps for it's own greedy preservation of powers, fears the loss of it's social programs and large government controls. As is of course the fear of most people, in most places, even today.
That there is even an idea to bring more civility and rationality to the body of Europe, in light of the huge success that is the United States, is somewhat reassuring - however one cannot escape the sense that the EU Constitution lacks a certain degree of purpose. As is true even of Constitutions like our own, the process needs more work. If there ever were a United States of Europe, may it be wary of the lessons we have already learned about the quick corruption of even the most limited & principled authorities.
your most obedient and most humble servant,
- TH. Jefferson
Well, after a bit of a reprieve, good ol' TeeJ has come back for some words on recent events. I'm actually a bit annoyed at the whole Deep Throat porn thing, so I decided to toss it in to some modern relevant discussion and then see if the contrast doesn't show people just how stupid the whole situation was. "Oh wow, a porno was in mainstream theaters in the '70s!" Give me a break. No one should care.
As for the EU trying to establish a Constitution, the Constitution is too big and if it can't be read in a sitting, no one, not even an absent minded Frenchmen, will accept it. It would definitely simplify some treaties... which will loosen and civilize trade between European nations, hopefully tempering the outgrowth of Socialism. However, it seems that is the fundamental objection the Netherlands and France have against it - it's too much of a threat to their social programs. It's hard to say if there is even a purpose for the other member nations to continue their referendums and votes to accept the EU Constitution, because every one of them must agree on it. Then again there is a year still remaining, and there is also the possibility that the Constitution will be greatly reformed.
Either way, it's not a true federal government like the kind we have in America, but then again our government isn't so "federal" anymore. The EU Constitution, a united treaty, is perhaps a better concept than a top-down federal order. However, it doesn't temper the devices of each nation to increase it's power over it's own citizens, so it may just be a confederation of otherwise corrupt bodies. In which case, it's likely to fall to it's own interior corruption.
The United States is only second the EU in terms of economic size... and up until now, the notion of the EU being a single body was challenged by the fact that it didn't have much of a diplomatic organization. Yes it did manage treaties, but it was mostly an economic policy maker. Now that confidence in the union has fallen from the French and now Netherlander decline, it threatens the stability of the European common market. An increased division will ensure that even these otherwise economically small nations cannot cooperate enough to ever compare to the United States economy, making the U.S. perhaps the better place to live, with far more free policies domestically and economically than any single European nation.
And that's really what's important here. If the Europeans want to step up and tackle limitation of their own authorities for the betterment of their whole, then let them try. France and the Netherlands both already say "no". Of course their ideology and concept of what's "better" are a tad askew... which will ultimately place them at their disadvantage here. I'm just glad I'm not over there and subject to that idiocy.