2003 5 October, TMD’s Europe


DRAFT TEXT PREAMBLE to the European Constitution
(The draft is in bold, our comments in italics)

"Our Constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number" (Thucydides 11, 37).

Thucydides,
Father of European peace,
member of a democracy
in which one out of three men and nearly all women were slaves,
you who arrived too late for your decisive sea battle
and spent the rest of your life writing about it,
you who handed down to us the imperishable words of Pericles
that a woman should distinguish herself
neither by excess of vice nor virtue,
intercede for us
with Zeus, Wisdom, War, Art and Love -
because in today’s Europe
power is not in the hands of a minority!

Conscious that Europe is a continent that has brought forth civilisation; that its inhabitants, arriving in successive waves since the first ages of mankind, have gradually developed the values underlying humanism: equality of persons, freedom, respect for reason,

We have brought forth civilisation!
Slowly, but surely,
we crawled, in successive waves,
through the darkness of obscurity
to the eighteenth century of our Common Era
when the Dawn of the Enlightenment
came down upon us from On High.
Father Descartes
nobly overcoming your natural desire
to send us all on pilgrimage to Loreto,
you pointed the way
to Equality, Liberty and Reason
when before we could scarcely lay claim to commonsense
And why?
that at last,
we might discover
Humanism!

Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, which, always present in its heritage, has embedded within the life of society its perception of the central role of the human person and his inviolable and inalienable rights, and of respect for law,

Culture!
Religion!
- which has come amongst us,
unique among the continents of the earth,
without a Deity -
and, once again,
Humanism,
have shown us,
the Children of Europa
the inviolable and inalienable rights
of the human person.

It is not, however,
clear
how we have derived from this trinity
a respect for law.
As evidence for this respect is happily diminishing
we can, safely,
go on

Believing that reunited Europe intends to continue along this path of civilisation, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived; that it wishes to remain a continent open to culture, learning, and social progress; and that it wishes to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world,

Reunited Europe?
What once forged the unity
that we have so negligently mislaid?
O Pax Romana!
her roads, her drains, her chains -
how transparent were her institutions!
how unequalled her justice!
how economic her community!
how justly solid,
beneath the Roman sandal
was the soul of that peace
which made us one!

Convinced that, while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their ancient divisions, and, united ever more closely, to forge a common destiny,

Our manifest destiny
is to exceed our children:
the United Euro
shall outnumber the United States
The kingdom of this world shall become
the kingdom of our European homeland.
Together,
we, too,
shall lean upon the United Nations,
and forge our commmon destiny.

Convinced that, thus "united in its diversity," Europe offers them the best chance of pursuing, with due regard for the rights of each individual

and equally convinced that united in diversity
it will offer the peoples of Europe
the best chance
(with some slight disclaimers)
of pursuing the main chance.

and in awareness of their responsibilities towards future generations and the Earth, the great venture which makes of it a special area of human hope.

Human hope?
shall we settle for benevolent
wishfulthinking
in the face of our humanist future
or,
do we still feel, still,
that from the Word of God
comes faith,
and faith gives us hope
that we may live in charity.
(Verbum Dei)


OR, ALTERNATIVELY
TMD’s revised text of the Preamble to the European Constitution

Europe is a first world.
Built on ethnic and cultural diversity, it has been brought into unity by sharing the same essential belief in one God.
Having foundations in the expanded Greco-Roman civilisation this sense of Europeaness was forged in the Middle Ages by negative reaction to other cultures.
Unity in the face of threat did not, however, create peace between the peoples of what was becoming the European homeland of a world expansion.
Contemplating two millennia of internal and external wars, the founders of our Economic Community perceived that a common European identity can finally, only be built on the willingness to share resources, skills and values in a manner transcending the frontiers of her divers states.
From the acknowledgement of one God has grown the understanding of one people, sharing different forms of religion, language and lifestyle as part of one common heritage.
Set free by the unity for which she has worked, the European Economic Community now takes her place in the covenant of continents, neither as threat nor being threatened, but in solidarity and freedom, to work with all to build a world founded on truth, justice and democracy, with mutual love, respect and responsibility.