May 30, 2005

MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ on the French vote. Though Matt Welch offers his own explanation, involving a midget with pasties, for the outcome.

UPDATE: Read this column from David Ignatius, too, who stresses the fear of change I noted earlier. The overlong and overcomplicatd EU Constitution, of course, encouraged a “no” vote from skeptical voters.

MORE: Steven Den Beste comments on the fallout:

What I like is the way the pro-EU advocates are starting to show their true anti-democratic colors during this process. It’s making blatantly obvious what I concluded long ago: the constitution of the EU is intended to set up a benevolent dictatorship by the progressive (read “socialist”) elite of Europe.

It is, I think, an effort to restore the sort of transnational aristocracy that ran Europe before World War I, though with a somewhat different flavor.

UPDATE: Reader Kjell Hagen emails:

I have a great deal of respect for Steven den Beste´s analyses. However, I think this is over the top. The EU will be ruled by some mix of elected national governments compromising (as now), or by an elected, European assembly, with still a great deal of power in the hands of the national governments. Not totally unlike the US, actually, only with more power to the national governments than currently with the US states. I don´t really see how this is going to be a dictatorship. And as for the socialists, they are the minority
in the EU parliament.

(Also in the US, there are tendencies of centralization of power, as you have pointed out, and under a Republican president, no less.)

I agree that the constitution is bureaucratic, unnecessary and mostly a product of French elitist ambitions. However, even if they succeeded in making the EU into a superstate, it would be a similar structure as the US, hardly a dictatorship.

Another matter is that they won´t succeed. Even their own nation rejects this. Even most socialists reject this. The possible strategy of having referendums again and again until people vote for the constitution, won´t work. People vote independently, as we have seen now. It is much more likely to backfire on the political leaders trying it. And when it does, they will stop trying, in the interest
of not losing personal power.

Well, that certainly trumps. I think, however, that Hagen means something different than Den Beste when he talks about socialists. By American standards, pretty much all European politicians are socialists.

MORE: More on the French election map here, from Patrick Ruffini, and here, from Michael Barone.