Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Courage & Sacrifice

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg (what a great title!) is the last Grand Duke in the world, and one of the few royals who is not merely ceremonial. He is apparently in the process of losing his executive power to veto legislation, after objecting to a new Luxembourgian law that allowed euthenasia.  

Over at The Distributist Review, John Medaille offers this commentary:
He was a minor prince on a minor throne in a tiny country. But the Grand Duke was right to make one last Grand Gesture in the name of life, in the name of Europe, in the name of his own people... The Duke is accused of violating democracy; in fact he has defended it by attempting to stop its illegitimate use.

There's something brilliantly romantic (in the old sense of that word) about a bold, principled gesture that comes at such a cost.  Long live the Grand Duke, executive powers or not.

Contrast his action with the Prime Minister's. PM Jean-Claude Junker also opposes the law, but he says parliament's authority should override the Grand Duke's objection. Nevermind that the Grand Duke is constitutionally endowed with veto power (for now, that is). The PM apparently does not object to Parliament stripping the Grand Duke's authority. I wonder - in what sense does he oppose the law? In fact, he seems to be supporting it.

Spiegel online quotes the PM as saying “I understand the Grand Duke's problems of conscience, but I believe that if the parliament votes in a law, it must be brought into force."

Maybe he thinks the Grand Duke should have only used his veto on bills which the Parliament didn't pass? I wonder -if the PM were in the Duke's position and was asked to sign a law he did not believe in, what would he do?

If it was me, I hope I would follow the Grand Duke's example.

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