Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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Political update

People who are aware of my political orientation (Such as those of you who know I am THE official token straight liberal of iconoclast's blog) may suspect that you know where I fall regarding the recent French rejection of the European Union's constitution. You may think I side with my Jacques Chirac loving buddies and feel that the French made a mistake in rejection the constitution through referendum.

I do not.

I think the French made the right decision in rejecting the constitution and I hope the rest of Europe does the same. While I am not against some level of government involvement in the lives of its citizenry, especially in terms of protecting people from predatory companies or the ruthlessness of the market, I also recognize that when power vests too heavily in one place corruption is the inevitable result. The centralized government of the European Union has already made many decisions that I find deplorable. An example would be the fact that it refuses to allow British grocers to sell goods by the pound. They were forced to switch to the metric system. This may be a small thing, but it is made more disgusting because it is so small. What business is it of anyone's what measurement unit items are sold by? If they are worried about foreign tourists or residents, well, they almost all have cellphones. Surely if there were a demand cellphone companies could install a pound to kilogram calculator in the devices at virtually no cost to anyone. If the British public preferred the metric system then grocers would switch over due to market forces. This kind of niggling control over minor aspects of life, like the fact that in some states FLORISTS need to be licensed, is a step on the road to complete tyranny.

Tyranny of the majority is a terrible thing in and of itself, but the European government is not elected directly by the people. Instead it is selected by their respective governments. These may be democracies, but it has been shown that the further you remove the political elite from the will of the people the less in touch with it they become. There is a reason that the United States no longer allows state legislatures to select its senators, those senators were not truly beholden to their constituencies. Now you can argue there are trade offs, such senators were perhaps less inclined to pork, but when in doubt remember that the power rests with the people and act accordingly.

Those issues aside, the European constitution itself was simply a bad document. Over 400 pages long and full of articles on a myriad of issues that don't need to be in the constitution, the thing was a mess of conflicting theories of governance and special interest handouts. A constitution should be a relatively simple thing, readable and understandable by all the people it is meant to govern. It should be a structure for the government to be built upon, not a set of laws rules and regulations. The U.S. constitution is excellent in that respect. If you look through it, and the various amendments, you find almost no filler. The only example would be prohibition (that is not a necessary part of government procedure) and that has been repealed. Things like women's rights to vote and banning a poll tax are essential matters of the structure of government. The national anthem and flag are NOT constitutional issues. We have this problem in the States where amendments governing the sale of alcohol (only in mini-bottles!) are shoehorned into constitutions and it's moronic. Europe doesn't need to START with a full slate of silly provisions.

Let the European Union come up with a simple direct constitution readable and understandable by all literate people and containing provisions for direct election of the European parliament and important officials. Let them then put that to the vote in the member states by direct referendum (the current constitution can be ratified by legislatures.) At that point I will support its ratification (assuming that it is good.) Until then I think any country that rejects it is doing a wise thing, and the fact that the European bureaucrats want a re vote or to ratify without France against their own rules shows that its rejection is a wise thing. Regardless of their intentions they clearly want power, and people who want power usually should not be given it.

I would also like to put forward a note on Deep Throat Mark Felt. I do believe he was a hero to this nation and, in fact, to the world. I am, however, somewhat disappointed to learn his identity, specifically that he was so high up in the F.B.I. This is not because I do not approve of his behavior, but rather because of what his choices signify. If someone in that position did not believe that law enforcement could conduct an objective investigation into the Watergate break ins and come up with an objective result then he was probably correct. He believed that pressure from the media was a necessity in bringing the scandal to light. In this day and age when the Republicans have stocked the cupboard with loyalists, rather than competent workers, the chances of another Deep Throat in case of a scandal are remote. Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill did come out post facto, but they were never the closest confidants of the president and their ejection from his administration early on shows that there are probably few like them left in the ranks of his inner circle. Were a Deep Throat to arise today he would likely be easily identified and crushed by the might of Darth Cheney. We also have a less independent press and a less interested populace.

What all this means is that the lessons of Watergate were learned by those who operate in the shadows, not those who live in the light. They closed ranks, made sure to place obedience above all other qualities, and became better at spin. In response the media turned from watchdog to lapdog. Now we are left with no safety net and no clue as to what dark deeds could be brewing within the walls of the Bush Dynasty Whitehouse.

Deep Throat did the country a great service but while we praise him we must wonder, whither goest the country without another man as sure and true as him to reach out for the helm and put us back on course to waters calm and pure?
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