In which the Head Girl is encouraged

Dutch voters have rejected the EU Constitution.

French voters have rejected the EU Constitution.

Maybe the EU is not the great powerhouse it was thought to be. And, yes, I do find that encouraging. I am all for international cooperation but this cooperation should not extend to destroying the autonomy and individuality of the cooperating countries. A European Constitution would go far in blurring a state’s legal rights.

International bodies with the scope and ambition of the EU have very few positive precedents. There was supposed to be international cooperation before WWI began, and this “cooperation” may well have worsened the war.
The League of Nations was started soon after. Vera Brittain, in her painful memoir, Testament of Youth*, discusses the optimism felt by the start of this League. Such optimism was misplaced. Japan and Germany simply left when the League’s policies got in the way of their murderous ambitions.

Apart from the very serious issues of war, there is also the fact that all countries cannot share all interests. The leaders of a country are given the responsibility of promoting their country’s self-interest. The EU Constitution could well compromise this responsibility.

I am encouraged, then, that these voters have expressed confidence in the constitutions and rules of their own governments. They should; they have centuries of excellent history behind them. With the EU Constitution, it would be too easy for a country’s prime aims to fall prey to the “collective good,” a good which usually turns out to be an evil.

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*Testament of Youth is an excellent book, for mature readers. It is heartbreaking, both in its history of WWI and in the author’s rejection of God. It should not be given in an off-handed sort of manner to an impressionable reader, but rather to someone who has studied objective histories and who can get a sense of Brittain’s grief without contracting her religious antagonism.

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