: I have one bit of advice for the governing council that will create a new constitution for Iraq: Do nothing that California does.
: As I repeat with obnoxious frequency, I’m a populist; I believe in the intelligence and essential good will and common sense of the people. But that must be tempered with time and the way to do that is through structure and process. If we all voted on everything, we’d have the anarchy of the moment. That is the genius of our system and our Constitution, of our representative democracy with its checks and balances. California essentially throws all that out to, instead, rule by whim, impulse, and insanity.
: See also a wonderful piece by William Niskanen of the Cato Instutite comparing the U.S. Constitution with the wordy and ill-conceived proposed EU constitution.
The most important difference between the US Constitution and the proposed EU constitution, however, is the concept of rights.
The US Bill of Rights is a list of individual rights against the state. In contrast, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which constitutes Part II of the proposed EU constitution, includes a long list of rights to services provided by the state. Such rights, for example, include education, a free placement service, paid maternity leave, social security benefits and social services, housing assistance, preventive health care, services of general economic interest and high levels of environmental and consumer protection.
These claims on the state represent the most important potential tension in the Union. On the one hand, the proposed EU constitution states that the “Free movement of persons, goods, services and capital, and freedom of establishment shall be guaranteed within and by the Union … [and] any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.”
Fine. On the other hand, any citizen of the Union seems to have a claim on a wide range of social services wherever that person chooses to live. This will lead to either a massive movement of people to states with a higher level of social services or the harmonization of these services among the member states.
Archive posts on the EU efforts here, here here, here. [via Anil]