Vive la France! I never thought I’d be writing this–until Sunday, when an astounding 60 percent of the French electorate cast their nay votes to the mind-numbing 300-page constitution of the European Union and the vision of socialism, pacifism, and forcing an anything-goes social morality down the throats of those who have other ideas that the Jacques Chirac-drafted, verbiage-choked document embodies.
The usual talking heads of the elite media quickly blamed the devastating anti-E.U. vote on les francais and their visceral dislike of les anglo-saxons and their Gallic determination not to ratify any constitution approved by the Brits. Hah! On Tuesday the Dutch followed suit and voted against the E.U. constitution by an even bigger margin: 62 percent. As The Other Charlotte says, Theo van Gogh did not die in vain. Those votes were vetoes; there now just won’t be any E.U.
So, it’s adieu and buh-bye, E.U.! Naturally, the elite politicos who came up with the E.U. idea plan to forge ahead with the ratification votes and hope that somehow they can somehow make the European Union a reality even if no one wants it. As E.U. president Jean-Claude Juncker declared, “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue.'” So much for the E.U.’s vaunted commitment to democracy.
For years, Europeans have been fighting their own version of the American culture wars, and for years, the other side–the socialism-loving, America-hating intellectuals who resemble our own blue-staters–seemed to have been winning. We didn’t notice that Euro-culture war–and many of us couldn’t believe it actually existed–because the liberal elite so thoroughly controls the European discourse in media and government that it has succeeded in criminalizing, outlawing as “hate speech,” all complaints. To pacify the masses, it threw them a cradle-to-grave welfare system that bought their votes.
Now, there has been a rebellion. Cradle-to-grave welfare costs money, and average Western Europeans now worry more about their sky-high unemployment rates (7 percent even in the prosperous Netherlands) and competition from the booming non-socialistic Eastern European economies than about whether government-subsidized day-care centers and a mandatory 35-hour work week will help maman fulfill herself on the job.
The Euros also worry a lot about immigration and the insouciance of the intellectual elite over the inundation of their countries with Islamist fanatics intent on enforcing sharia law against everyone, including non-Muslims. When the Dutch government started building mosques, and a U.K. town wouldn’t allow the singing of Christmas carols in public places but had no problem with celebrating Ramadan, average-Joe Europeans decided to veto the quiet compact they had made with their elites. There was also a move to extend E.U. membership to Turkey, a large, populous, and geographically non-European (outside of Istanbul) Islamic country that, in order to preserve its fragile secular democracy, has had to make disturbing concessions to its own radical-Islamist contingent (which is why Turkey has refused to participate in the war in Iraq). The admission of Turkey and the implications of that move for the Islamicization of the European continent, scared a lot of Europeans.
And of course the E.U. constitution is all about making the unappealing social, religious (or rather, anti-religious, except for Islam) and economic visions of Juncker and the rest of the mandarins a willy-nilly reality for everyone obliged to live under their rule. For example, the E.U.’s socialist bloc last fall prevented the Italian Catholic politician Rocco Buttiglione from becoming E.U. justice minister. The reason? Buttiglione said the purpose of marriage was “to allow women to have children and to have the protection of a male.” We can’t have that, said the socialists. The E.U. constitution of course never mentions God or Christianity, the religion that more than any other force shaped the making of Europe. And it contains language like this:
“[The E.U.] shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law.”
That’s code for a perpetual welfare state, economically devastating environmental draconianism, being nice to Islamist fanatics, and “rights of the child” that trump parents’ decisions on how to raise and educate their offspring. Oh, and “international law”–that means that Europeans wouldn’t be able to make and live under their own countries’ laws.
I’ll end with these words from Mark Steyn in the U.K. Telegraph on the French vote:
“Confronted by the voice of the people, ‘President’ Juncker covers his ears and says: ‘Nya, nya, nya, can’t hear you!’ There are several lessons worth learning from the French vote. The first is that the Junckers are a big part of the problem.
“Only in totalitarian dictatorships does the ballot come with a pre-ordained correct answer. Yet President Juncker distilled the great flaw at the heart of the EU constitution into one straightforward sentence that cut through all the thickets of Giscard’s unreadable verbiage. The American constitution begins with the words ‘We the people”. The starting point for the EU constitution is: ‘We know better than the people.'”
And with these words from Max Boot in today’s Los Angeles Times on the Dutch vote:
“People are as mad as hell that their economies are stagnating while crime, immigration and welfare dependency — the three are intertwined in the average European’s mind — are all on the rise.
“So why are the guardians of the new Europe so hated? Words such as arrogance and elitism come to mind. Although the EU has its own parliament, there is a well-founded fear throughout the continent that decisions are being made by unelected mandarins. The populations of the 25 EU member states may not agree on what should be done. What unites them is a desire to determine their own destinies, which is impossible as long as Brussels is calling the shots.”
Well, it’s all over now, no matter what Juncker and the rest say. Our European cousins aren’t so stupid or death wish-overcome after all. They’ve proved to have a resevoir of resilience and independence and a desire to preserve the distinctive civilizations that make them justifiably proud. Hooray for them–and good luck as they embark for the first time in decades on a new non-elite-driven course suitable for a new millennium.