The EU and owning your own house
The relationship between freedom and a country's sovereignty is like the relationship between a man and his house – without a house he has no bed to sleep in and no place to shower and cook.
I was a little incredulous when Paul Mirengoff reported that first-year law students at George Mason will take a course titled The Founders’ Constitution and be required to read “a large number of important original legal sources familiar to the founding generation, ranging from Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights to the Federalist (and Anti-Federalist) Papers, along with constitutional debates at the Philadelphia Convention and in the First Congress”. How else would you study constitutional law in America?
For observers of the EU, Paul points out that the faculty for The Founders' Constitution “includes the brilliant Jeremy Rabkin, a leading authority on international law and a powerful voice for national sovereignty. The study of our written constitution and its origins probably bears some relationship to the case for preserving our sovereignty.”
“Probably bears some relationship” is Paul being ironic. A country cannot have a constitution of its own unless it is sovereign, that is to say, independent. If it is not sovereign and independent, it has some other country’s constitution ruling it. This looks to be the future of Britain in the European Union.
Britain, the country that inspired the United States with Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights and with a written constitution that John Adams called “the most stupendous invention” in human history, whose people fought for equality before the law, and for freedom of speech, may become part of a supranational state where EU police are above the law and it is explicitly forbidden to criticize the EU -
In Connolly vs. Commission (2001) the European Court of Justice unanimously asserted that the right of freedom of expression may only be exercised in a manner consistent with "the protection of the rights of others." Connolly's book had interfered with the "rights" of the European Union itself, the EU court explained, because the book "damaged the institution's image and reputation."
This means that the spectre of seditious libel is back from the dead. The EU court ruled that it does not matter whether Connolly is an employee of the EU (he was), nor does it matter whether what he said was true (it was). It only matters that he criticized the EU.
In England, Fox's Libel Act of 1792 allowed juries to render general verdicts of acquittal in seditious libel prosecutions. More than 200 enlightened years later, and the European Union has reestablished seditious libel and abolished the right to trial by jury. EU cases are not decided by your independent peers but by professional government employees.
The relationship between freedom and a country's sovereignty is like the relationship between a man and his house – without a house he has no bed to sleep in and no place to shower and cook. You might say, well, in the EU he will have a house – a huge mansion with 27 countries packed into it, but that is not a mansion, that’s an apartment building at best, slum housing at worst. In the EU block, the people of Britain will not be able to decide how they want to live in their own house, they will be one of 27 voices, all piping up to their lords and masters, who will tell them to pipe down, or else.
Why do we say this? Because that is what the EU's Lisbon constitution treaty says.