Fernando Aranguiz

Web Developer

After downloading and reading the most recent copy of the Chilean Constitution, I think it’s time to review everything from the beginning, especially if we consider the family to be the basic nucleus of society. Thus we begin with the part entitled “The Bases of Institutionality.”

Until now, the family has been the tacit nucleus of society, and this is absolutely understandable considering its long history and the deep feelings that exist among fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. And if we add in the grandparents, grandmothers, uncles and aunts, we have a complex family group where it is almost naturally obvious that the family structure is the nucleus of society.

However, there are many people who do not experience family in the same way. Sometimes because the nucleus is not such a nucleus, sometimes because their own family has abused them, sometimes because the feeling of not really belonging to their family is stronger than any questionable or even non-existent ties.

Such cases are numerous and multiple and they tell us something that is almost always kept in the dark out of fear or shame, but that in many cases is the preferred food for banal conversations, scandals, social discrediting, social comparison, and everything that is crude gossip. There is no family that does not have at least one black sheep, and usually more than one; but that is always taken lightly as an intrinsic part of that nucleus that we call the family.

For many centuries this structure has been kept intact thanks to the hierarchical organization of the family and its economic needs. In the 21st century, however, such an institution does not seem all that important, necessary or sacrosanct.

Considering certain dire aspects of this construction, it is fair to ask about the validity of its core, especially when thinking about drafting a new constitution.

Historically the family has survived due to natural conditions. In countries conquered by the kingdoms of Spain and to a lesser extent France and Portugal, the family has depended on the Catholic Church in a more or less symbiotic and incestuous relationship.

The family is protected by various religious ceremonies that follow its members from birth to death. Baptisms, communions, confirmations, marriages, blessings, anointing of the sick, deaths and burials – in all the vital stages of every human being, I don’t think they left anything untouched. And that same Church benefits from the generous contributions of its parishioners and from possessing the best lands on all the continents, without having to contribute economically for anything in the societies in which it is inserted. 

From the beginning of its existence as an institution, the Church has been organized in a hierarchical and patriarchal way. Until this day, that patriarchy has functioned through sexual repression, sexual abuse, the enormous power concentrated in the monarchies that still exist as the supposed intermediaries between the divine and the earthly, the absolutist management of fear and guilt, and of course the total and complete abandonment of the teachings of its founder. Many centuries ago the kingdom of heaven was declared to exist on earth via the excessive possession of goods, the control of political and economic power and territorial expansion across the globe.

Minimally considering these antecedents and looking towards the future, it is essential to evaluate, on the one hand, the concept of family and, on the other hand, the most important questions that must be asked if we are to fully replace what until now has been the basic component of the social body.

The family historically has had its process, from the Paleolithic tribe to the contemporary “civil union,” from the polygamous families of Africa and the East, to the monastic religious societies, hippie communities and arranged marriages of India and the European monarchies. In all cases, it appears that their background, their “raison d’être” has been to promote the union of individuals for survival, protection, and economic security.

There is a kind of essential solidarity here, in the human being defining herself in relation to others, creating diverse and multiple ambits out of necessity. Defining the family as a value and attempting to impose it as the “basis of society” seems to be, more than something natural, a manipulative imposition lacking any real foundation.

This is especially evident when “One God” is imposed and proclaims, for example, that the monogamous heterosexual family is a dictate of the Law of God. All of this is absurd from a constitutional perspective.

Some questions are then fitting: Is a gay couple family? Is a lesbian couple family? Is a couple that includes someone not traditionally considered to be within the framework of the male-female gender binary a family? What about orphans? What about “natural children”?

Too many questions with too few answers, which is why it would be a good idea not only to review these questions but to ask ourselves once and for all if perhaps the most significant nucleus of society might simply be the “human being,” regardless of race, religion, origin, gender, etc.

The human being is part of the “human species” and that species represents the basic social nucleus. This is inclusive and necessary for this historic moment.

Thus, when the new constitution is read, it would look something like this:

Chapter I

BASES OF INSTITUTIONALITY

Article 1 – All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The Human Being as a member of the human species, with freedom of choice, equal opportunities and in a relationship of solidarity with her fellow human beings, is the fundamental nucleus of society.

The State is at the service of the human being and its purpose is to promote the common good. Therefore it must contribute to creating the social conditions that allow each and every one of the members of the national community their greatest possible spiritual and material fulfillment, with full respect for the rights and guarantees that this Constitution establishes.

It is the duty of the State to safeguard national security, provide protection to the population and the human being, foster the empowerment of the human being, promote the harmonious integration of all sectors of the Nation and ensure the right of all people to participate with equal opportunities in national life.

 

Portland, January 11, 2021