Constitution and Nation: Validity of the 1812 Constitution


The president of the José Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón Foundation, José Varela Ortega, has pronounced a conference on the first day of the course on Constitutional Policy of the 2012 FAES Campus. The title of his lecture was ‘Constitution and Nation: Validity of the 1812 Constitution’. Varela Ortega was introduced by the Director of the FAES department of Constitution and Institutions, Ignacio Astarloa.

José Varela Ortega:

“The essential legacy of ‘la Pepa’ is the formulation of freedom and nation and the joining of the two. Its main subject is national sovereignty”.

“The main principle of the Spanish left as of 1812 was also national sovereignty, until in 2004 Zapatero decided to change it for a pact whose objective was not winning an electoral advantage, but displacing the Partido Popular from the system”.

“The concerning issue is not just the Left’s idea of renouncing to national sovereignty, but rather that it should not stir a deep debate among them. Zapatero is the same as Azaña only with 50 000 less books in his head”.

“The wish of the recent left of guaranteeing a natural majority with sovereignist parties is one of the worst things that have happened to the Spanish left since the Republic. There’s a politically intellectual tradition that breaks with this”.

“The problem is not fixing the car, but rather that the Spanish left has changed the car for a cart”.

“Of that text we’ve inherited the idea that there’s a Spanish people, a national sovereignty, a very deep idea of freedoms and an interpretation of classical-liberalism based on free and equal citizens. The idea of globalising or collectivising from one person to a people is the principle of national sovereignty on which it was based”.

“The Constitution of 1812 is the classical-liberal expression along with fundamental rights, which should not be mistaken with opportunities. At that time nobody said that every Spanish person was entitled to have a mortgage, unless he paid for it”.

“The American projection on the Constitution of Cadiz entailed making a statement from a people made of free and equal individuals into one comprised by a confederation of very different provinces. A debate which is still valid now”.

Ignacio Astarloa:

“It’s good to return to the foundations of national sovereignty, division of powers and the acknowledgement of the Constitution’s fundamental rights, even though they’ve been questioned even by the former Prime Minister of Spain, Zapatero”.

“The man climbed into the car and gave it all sorts of blows, so changing the driver, called Mariano, is not enough, the car will need to be taken to be repaired”.