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Chileans reject a radical constitution

American voters should take note


Chileans celebrate the defeat of the proposed constitution in Santiago, Chile, on Sept. 4. Associated Press/Photo by Matias Basualdo

Chileans reject a radical constitution
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Chile’s voters soundly defeated a radical new constitution for their country. We in the United States and citizens across the Americas should take careful note of both the revolutionary agenda of the Left and be heartened that an active, common-sense electorate can thwart socialism.

Chile’s existing constitution is a limited and narrow document, hammered out decades ago before progressive judges and elites began to “discover” new rights. Chile called a constitutional convention to update the constitution, but over two-thirds of the delegates were progressives, populists, and socialists. Only a third were social or fiscal conservatives and they were largely shut out of the drafting of the massive document. One can sum up the document as a wish list for a coalition against private property and conservative Christianity and in favor of extreme environmentalism, gender equality, and abortion.

As Science magazine reports, the failed constitution declared Chile an “ecological nation” and a “plurinational country.” It would have changed Chilean government by enforcing ‘gender parity’ in all institutions, establishing a national health service, recognizing nearly a dozen “nations” within Chile. Such a move would have severely limited private property, and would have effectively legalized abortion. In addition, it enumerated a host of other rights, including:

The rights of Nature and the “special protection” of animals

Right to “personal integrity” (including sexual, affective, and psychosocial “integrity”)

Right to progressive autonomy of children and adolescents (an anti-parents’ rights provision that mirrors efforts at mandatory doctor-assisted child suicide laws in Europe and transgender activism in the United States)

Respect for neurodiversity, domestic work, “dignified death,” right to create social media and digital connectivity, and to one’s “own worldview”

Rights to sport, leisure, and artistic participation

Some of this is dangerous, some of it is ridiculous, and some elements are just silly, but the overall effort must be taken very seriously.

Chile’s progressives are just one example of a regional pattern of leftist lawfare. “Lawfare” is a term borrowed from the politics of military action, meaning the “cynical manipulation of the rule of law and the humanitarian values it represents.” A case in point is the sustained quasi-legal campaign against Israel, from public shaming to lawsuits in international courts to the “boycott-divest-sanctions” (BDS) movement.

The next step for Chileans, and for citizens in democracies everywhere, is to offer potent alternatives to the extreme positions of the left.

Just as the progressive left has used lawsuits, judge-imposed law, and media shaming in the United States impose the “right to an abortion,” smash Christian witness in the wedding industry, and persecute faith-based charities, so to we are seeing a form of progressive lawfare in Chile and around the world. Here is how it works. The left cooks up a new “right” and creates “buzz” through op-eds, speeches, and press releases about this new right. The chatter is picked up in the press and by academics, who cite each other’s work creating an impression of overwhelming argument whereby the new right is “recognized.” Then the legal action begins, often in the murky and unaccountable depths of United Nations committees and among radical lawyers in national capitals.

This is how much of the radical sexual orientation and gender identity ideology (SOGI) has spread around the globe in the past decade. In Latin America alone there have been about two dozen leftist attempts to use judges, court cases, or constitutional provisions to enforce SOGI, counter to the traditional views of marriage and human sexuality held by the majority of the public.

In the Chilean case, the left is licking its wounds and claiming that it did not do a good enough job “informing” the public. What really appears to have happened is that a large part of the electorate rejected the intellectual, political, economic, and social dismemberment of their country. They read the new constitution, and they didn’t like it.

The next step for Chileans, and for citizens in democracies everywhere, is to offer potent alternatives to the extreme positions of the left, lest we follow the path of Canada, Belgium, and other nations where abortion is available on demand, the environment is a person, Western civilization is anathema, assisted suicide of children and the elderly is a fact of law, and transgenderism demands affirmation.

The good news is that we do have such a positive agenda, found in the principles of Christianity, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. We have available to us a pro-family, pro-religious freedom, pro-rule of law, pro-civil liberties, and pro-life agenda that rejects the left’s revolution and offers a path toward human flourishing that is for everyone, everywhere.

The Chilean silent majority won big at the polls. Americans should take note. November is coming. This is an important election year and the time to make the right choices is now.


Eric Patterson

Eric Patterson is executive vice president of the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington, D.C., and past dean of the School of Government at Regent University. He is the author or editor of 15 books, including Just American Wars, Politics in a Religious World, and Ending Wars Well.


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