We all know that after 9/11 the Patriot act was constructed to give the U.S.A. more power in combatting Islamic terrorists (the war on terror).

After the fire in the Reichstag in Nazi Germany, the Enabling act ensued which was meant to give Hitler more power to fight (arrest, torture, kill) the communists who were seen as terrorists.

In the U.S.A. too, people could be arrested more easily (especially those who had an Arabic appearance), were tortured (Guantanamo Bay) and killed in faraway lands (think of Afghanistan).

I know a question comparing the U.S.A. and Nazi Germany lies very sensitive but I really can't see any difference in changing the law and using the change for political reasons.

Many people though believe the Nazis put the building themselves on fire, as many people nowadays believe that the 9/11 terrorist attack was a U.S.A. government conspiracy. The F.B.I. knew already four days before the attack what was going to happen. And what to think about W.T.C. number seven? Etc.

Can we say these two situations stand on equal footing? I mean, in both cases the law was changed to get rid, in an easy and authoritarian way, of the so-called terrorists (in these cases, communist and Muslim extremists). New politics ensued. But was the law changed in the same way in both examples?

closed as off-topic by feetwet Jun 20 at 15:34

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The Enabling Act was an amendment to the constitution by which the Reichstag effectively abolished itself - transferring all legislative power to the Chancellor (Adolf Hitler). Given the suppression and intimidation of members of that body it is likely that the law itself was unconstitutional. With this legal facade, the Nazis proceeded to institute a militaristic, undemocratic and illegal regime.

The Patriot Act did not amend the constitution and is subject to all the constitutional constraints on legislative and executive power. It delegated powers to the President that were within the constitutional power of the congress to so delegate. In particular, it did not in any way transfer legislative power to the executive; that would be unconstitutional. Further, it did not purport to put the powers of either branch beyond judicial review.

  • But in both cases, the acts were meant to give more possibilities to those in power to combat a supposed opponent [communists, extremists, Islamic extremist, who are (were) both supposed to be a threat to society]. – descheleschilder Jun 20 at 8:36
  • @descheleschilder “why” is a political question, not a legal one – Dale M Jun 20 at 9:58
  • Where do I ask "Why?". – descheleschilder Jun 20 at 11:16
  • What an Act was “meant” to do is a political question - what it “does” is a legal one – Dale M Jun 20 at 11:17
  • In both cases, one can speak of a change in the law to the advantage of those in power (Bush's administration, Hitler and his criminal friends). And in both cases, the citizens are told that it's for their own good ("Wir wollen euch schutzen von dieses Gefahr"", "We want to protect you from these dangers".) – descheleschilder Jun 20 at 11:23

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