Filed under: Europe, History, Socialism | Tags: EU, Gordon Brown, Treaty of Lisbon
The heads of all the states in the European Union have signed up to the Lisbon Treaty. Once this treaty is finally ratified, the EU acquires a constitution and becomes a legal entity, in effect the United States of Europe. Politicians and their bureaucrats in Brussels have settled the matter behind closed doors. None of the 27 countries involved was allowed to hold an election to say whether or not their people approved of the surrender of national sovereignty that is at the core of this unprecedented political experiment. Several countries, Britain among them, had promised to hold a referendum, but all, again led by Britain, found some crafty way to cheat on their promise.
The preceding paragraph opens a column by David Pryce-Jones on National Review Online. Do read the whole thing.
It is really hard for Americans to understand why the British or the Continentals go along with this sort of thing. Do I only imagine that I would refuse to sit passively by as I was deprived of the right to vote on my own future and that of my family? That we would just turn it all over to a bunch of unelected bureaucrats to decide about our laws and security and customs?
Our own notions of freedom and rights came from our British heritage. Now you have Labour Prime Minister Brown trying to figure out how to give the British people back some sense of patriotism, of Englishness. (In the meantime, they have dumped Winston Churchill out of the school curriculum as unimportant.) Gordon Brown commissioned a review of citizenship in order to find ways of “increasing a shared sense of belonging”.
According to Melanie Phillips, suggestions are that schoolchildren should swear an oath to the Queen and promise to obey the laws in a ceremony similar to those for new immigrants. Apparently British ministers look enviously at the way Americans pledge allegiance and proudly fly their flag, and feel that the right kind of loyalty oath will increase a feeling of Britishness.
But Gordon Brown misses the point. Americans rally to the flag, not because of a pledge, but because of great pride and belief in what their country stands for. We love our country for what it represents — freedom and equality — which are just superior to anything else. And because we believe so strongly in the importance of freedom, we are prepared to fight and die for it.
The facts of our history have thus made it easy for us to assume that our national life, as distinguished from that of the European peoples who trace their identity to a remote era, has had a clear purpose. Life in America — appropriately called the American Experiment — has again and again been described as the test or the proof of values supposed to have been clearly in the minds of the Founders. [Daniel Boorstin: Hidden History]
Never, Boorstin suggests, has there been a nation which so firmly believes that it was founded on a full-blown perfect theory. The words of Lincoln in 1863 affirm that “our fathers brought forth on this continent , a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”.
It is worth reflecting on this a little at a time when sovereignty supposedly is so unimportant, and patriotism is derided. When former presidents are chatting with the enemy, and some make a big deal out of a decision not to wear a flag pin. There are many in our own country that believe that sovereignty is not a big deal and that international law and international governance might be desirable.
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