April 26, 2005

A French Blogger Speaks Truth to Power

Étienne Chouard, a Marseilles high school teacher, has come to prominence in France by questioning the European "constitutional treaty" soon to be voted on by the French electorate, and sinking in the polls daily:

In this public matter, the basic principles of consitutional law are distorted, which causes us to focus on five traditional principles desinged to protect citizens:

1. A Constitution ought to be readable to permit a popular vote: this text is unreadable.

2. A Constitution doesn't impose one politics or another: this text is partisan.

3. A Constitution can be revised: this text is infected with a requirement of double unanimity.

4. A Constitution protects from tyranny by the separation of powers and by the control of powers: this text offers netiher a true control of powers nor a real separation of powers.

5. A Constitution isn't imposed by the powerful but is established by the people itself, precisely to protect itsself from the arbitrariness of the powerful, through an independent constituent assembly elected for this purpose. This text emerges from European institutions designed for 50 years by men of power who are at the same time judges and partisans.

The translation is my hurried one, and may be imprecise. I have, however, translated correctly and particularly like Point 1 -- the idea that a referendum on an unreadable documents is inherently undemocratic (the Internal Revenue Code, anyone?).

The French ex-President Giscard d'Estaing is the midwife of this atrocious document (444 articles compared to 7 in the U.S.Constitution), but France may for once bring honor on itself by voting "Non!"

This Constitution is not viable and is neither in the interest of Europe nor the U.S

Let us hope it fails now, before it brings on disaster.

HT: Christopher Caldwell in the Weekly Standard.

No comments: