The E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights, approved in Nice on December 8, 2000, sets forth the principles upon which the future European constitution should be based. Drafted by a commission of experts from various countries, the document consists of a preamble and 54 articles. It was presented to the E.U. Council as “unamendable”: The charter must be accepted or rejected as a whole.

When the Maastricht Treaty was adopted ten years ago, its objective was said to be of a merely economic nature: First, a single European market would be constituted through the free circulation of goods, services, and capital; the abolition of exchanges and the introduction of a single European currency would follow. Today, the declared objective is political unification. The Charter of Fundamental Rights is a major step in this process, though the immediate attempt to turn it into an E.U. constitutional charter has failed. As a matter of fact, the charter (as Italy’s minister of foreign affairs, Lamberto Dini, claims) marks a crucial contribution to the constitutionalization process of the European Union, for it “provides a network of rights around which a European constitutional patriotism can be gradually built up.”

“Constitutional patriotism” is typical of the language employed by such leftist European intellectuals as Jürgen Habermas. Habermas opposes Verfassungspatriotismus, the constitutional patriotism of rights, to traditional patriotism, tied to an historic country. Habermas and his disciples want to denationalize citizenship, to disconnect the idea of citizenship from that of nation in order to reattach it to the idea of a democratic and universalist constitution. The architects of the European Union identify with this vision. Since it is impossible to found European citizenship on a European nation that has never existed, they want to found it on a constitution—a core of figurative principles and “new rights.” These new principles and rights are a postmodern reinterpretation of human rights that constitutes a qualitative leap beyond even the modern formulation ushered in by the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Article 21 is the core of the charter. It reads: “Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation, shall be prohibited.”

This article takes up and extends Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty, which states: “the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.” In both cases, a new juridical tenet is being created: the principle of nondiscrimination. As a matter of fact, this principle is the old Jacobin one of absolute equality, reformulated in new language and adapted to contemporary sensitivity. It is difficult to find a term as ambiguous as “discrimination.” The very idea of justice—which, in the traditional formulation, means giving to each his due (suum cuique tribuere)—implies some sort of “discrimination.” A real law discriminates to the extent that it promotes or safeguards some behavioral patterns, seeing them as just and appropriate, and discourages and represses others, deeming them unjust and harmful. Each law is somehow compelled to discriminate by the very fact that it lay’s out what is just and unjust, licit or illicit, promoting the former and curbing the latter. The pretense of abolishing any form of discrimination constitutes an act of brutal egalitarianism.

Article 21 identifies more than 15 possible discriminations: “Sex” is the first and “sexual orientation” the last. What is the difference between these two terms? Sex—like race, color, genetic features—is received from nature and cannot be changed at will. “Sexual orientation,” however, stems from human will and can be treated like such choices as religious beliefs or political convictions. Pretending not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation means applying a strictly egalitarian criterion to all acts of human sexuality. A coherent egalitarian criterion would lead us to accord juridical protection to any sort of moral disorder, from homosexual unions to pedophilia and incest, at least when people are consenting and there is no explicit violence.

Furthermore, any public criticism of a behavior regarded as disordered and immoral will constitute a form of “discrimination.” Predictably, any activity or expression criticizing sexual orientation will be banned and criminally and heavily repressed. Will a priest from the pulpit or a professor from the chair be able to present the natural and Christian family as “superior” to hetero- and homosexual “de facto unions,” without this qualifying as “discrimination” worthy of criminal sanction? Will a religious institution, a private school, or a Christian group be able to dismiss members who promote or practice behaviors they consider immoral, without this being considered discrimination?

Under the pretext of impeding discrimination, all those who profess an objective system of values are discriminated against and penalized. While pretending to guarantee (false) freedoms. Article 21 poses a serious threat to (true) freedom. The charter of rights, like any totalitarian regime, attempts to deny Freedom of opression.

If we apply this egalitarian criterion to all the “qualities” mentioned in Article 21 (including language and being a member of a national minority), we realize that, besides the family, the state is the main target of the nondiscrimination principles. The effect will be to prevent states from reining in ethnic, cultural, and linguistic strife. The inevitable result will be the remixing of national identity and the creation of a non-state rather than a European suprastate.

We should read Article 52, one of the most pernicious of the charter, in the light of Article 21. Article 52 has been aptly described as “Orwellian” by British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Charles Tannock:

Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

Therefore, in ease of “aims of general interest acknowledged by the Union,” “rights and freedoms” recognized by the present charter may be limited. The implications of such a statement are far-reaching. What are the cases in which the fundamental rights of European citizens may be suspended, and who will be entitled to do so?

E.U. Commissioner of Justice Antonio Vitorino has stated: “With the Charter of Rights there will be no new Haider cases in [the] future.” German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer, at the time of the Haider hubbub, openly said: “We and our partners cannot accept that a party whose polities are directed against Europe can get into a position where it can block the further integration of Europe.”

Haider was accused of xenophobia and Nazi sympathies, but ultimately his fault was that he is a Euroskeptic. Now, according to Commissioner Vitorino, the charter will provide an indispensable tool to corner those who do not identify with the new European values. The Jacobin and Soviet constitutions provided equal rights for all citizens, save for “enemies of the people.”

The E.U. Charter of Rights seems to protect the rights of all, save “the enemies of Europe,” and all rights, save that of criticizing the principles from which it draws its inspiration. The European Court of Justice seems to have been vested with the task of interpreting and applying the European Charter of Fundamental Human Rights. The jurisdiction already granted by the Amsterdam Treaty to the Court of Justice represents, as aptly described by the French MEP Georges Berthu, a “juridical upheaval.” As a matter of fact, the court operates as both a constitutional (supreme) court and as a criminal, civil, and administrative court. When it declares a piece of national legislation to be contrary to the Treaty of Amsterdam, the nations concerned have no ability to appeal the verdict. Moreover, the Treaty of Amsterdam actually gives the court full jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the law in the interpretation and application of Article 13 on matters of discrimination. In light of Articles 21 and 52, the power of the Court of Justice is bound lo increase to the point where it becomes supreme. The exorbitant powers being conferred on the European Court of Justice are part and parcel of a postmodern process related to the emergence of new rights; the transfer of sovereignty from the political to the judicial power, which thus becomes the real “superpower” in the rising European non-state.

The Court of Justice consists of 15 judges designated by the E.U. member governments. Once appointed, they form a jurisdictional body that can override the will of the governments and the peoples represented by them. The Court of Justice may not be contradicted, but it may invalidate a legitimate popular vote. In fact, one of the possible limitations of the rights listed in the European Charter pertains to the delegitimization of a popular vote that does not meet the political approval of the upper echelons of the European Union. Therefore, what was not possible at the time of the Haider case may be possible after the Nice Charter has been approved.

Recently, Vladimir Bukovski has highlighted the affinities between the totalitarianism of the former Soviet Union and that of the present European Union. According to the former dissident, this affinity is based on the fact that neither Soviet communism nor the neosocialism that has inspired the European Union acknowledges the existence of natural institutions that are inseparable from human life itself.

Bukovski’s judgment is severe, but no more so than Pope John Paul II’s judgment of the European Union. On December 16, 2000, in a speech to mark the 1,200th anniversary of the coronation of Charlemagne, Pope John Paul II lamented the fact that the Nice Charter made no reference to God, noting that “The ideologies which caused torrents of tears and blood during the 20th century came from a Europe which wanted to forget its Christian foundations.”

He wanted to warn the European government concerning the totalitarian risks of a constitution such as the one produced in Nice, where any reference to God or natural law is suppressed. But the totalitarian spirit of the Charter of Rights might turn out to be its Achilles’ heel. The attempt to entrench it in the constitution has failed for the time being, and the fears of one of the most adamant proponents of the charter, Stefano Rodotà, the representative of the Italian government at the convention which drafted its text, may come true.

If European citizens perceive the Charter as a weak tool, without real substance and binding juridical power, if they realise that it guarantees them less protection than that of their own constitutions and E.U. acts, this Charter will become a boomerang and further push them away from the E.U.’s institutions.

The Europhile and globalist projects to liquidate the state and its sovereignty are analogous to the relativist project to dissolve the family: They are Utopian and, thus, against human nature. Society is not a personal, voluntary choice but a necessary consequence of the nature of human beings, who are social creatures. Human society has its own rules, its own immutable nature. This natural order makes us certain of our victory. If we distance ourselves from this order, we w ill surely face disaster, as we did in the 20th century—the century of totalitarianism, of relativism, of the rejection of the natural and Christian order. Let us not repeat its errors and horrors.