Cultural Revolutions

Where Are Our Principles?

The E.U. Constitution, drafted by a committee chaired by former French “conservative” president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, debuted on June 10.  With a metaphysical sweep worthy of Hegel, d’Estaing described the 75-page document as “an edifice, a construction, an equilibrium, a balance . . . a synthesis.”  Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the anthem of the European Union, accompanied the official presentation of the draft prepared by a 15-member “Presidency” representing 105 members of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

The insane finale of the Ninth Symphony should make any sensible person wary of any event it adorns (such as Hitler’s birthdays and East German state ceremonies), and the launching of the E.U. constitution was no exception.  Both in sentiment and in style, its Preamble could have been composed by a Jacobin fanatic two centuries ago.  It defines the fundamental values of “Europe” as humanism, equality of persons, freedom, and respect for reason.  It refers to “the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe” and upholds “the central role of the human person and his inviolable and inalienable rights.”  It heralds Europe’s continued march along the “path of civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all...

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