Fact is that the US constitution is much more similar to the Weimar constitution with regards to the presidential power. I do not believe that the design of the US constitution has proven to prevent any better the destruction of a set of laws that reflects current ethical values by an elected malevolent majority.
The fact that the US has never come under the rule of an elected dictator, who was capable of convincing the Congress to change laws so that democratic values would be destroyed, is IMHO pure luck and not the result of the US constitution's design.
I know that Americans believe otherwise, but I don't trust your constitutional laws that much.
Ethical values are NOT arbitrary. They are very fundamental and almost everywhere the same in all cultures and religions.
I don't think that the "ethical set of values" of the German populace changed within 12 years. What changed by force, with the collaboration of spineless legislators, were the laws and not the values. The laws were changed so that they could represent a set of new ethical values _Hitler_ wanted to impose on Germany. The "Rule of Law" was not swept out of the door, the "Laws" were changed, so that the "Rule of Law" became the "Rule of Hitler's Laws", that represented Hitler's ethical values. And it happened at gun point.
The trick was, that the wrong people had the weapons. So they were able to enforce those changes without any resistance.
The SS, a militia group that was used to infiltrate the German "Wehrmacht", the German "Police and Security Forces", used pure power and threats of their weapons to enforce *Hitler's* set of ethical values. And any little scumbag of nothingness, the German mob, felt just *great and strong* with their new weapon's power.
It was the rule of the police, of the SS and the bureaucrats, who were watched, controlled and threatened by the SS.
It was Hitler, who armed his SA and SS followers already in the early twenties. (I have proof, as I searched the National Archives and found original photos, where you can see how rifles and guns were distributed to a bunch of SA followers in 1922. This was illegal after WWI in Germany).
Hitler was a strong supporter of rearming and enlarging German Armed Forces later and was very successful in doing so.
But it was mainly the SS, that had controlled (and charmed) the Wehrmacht. They had their own network of security forces and worked very independently from and against the Wehrmacht and engaged in all the atrocities later on. In fact you could view the rise of Hitler as an example, where an extreme militia group undermined the Armed Forces and took them over, and where the propaganda war of the NSDAP cabal manipulated and brainwashed the intellectuals and populace.
To believe that a "general populace" changes its ethical values from one day to the other, is not correct.
To believe that you can brainwash people to accept the most outrageous political view points to be of good "ethical value" by merely convincing them to hate a certain target that supposedly is to blame for all their misery, is correct.
It's easy to do. Play with the right emotions and talk with the "right" rethoric, and the gullible masses will follow and believe you.
But it is a mind manipulating process of the masses. You won't find a lot of Germans, who, after they realized what really happened to them during the Third Reich, didn't say years after the war that they have the feeling they were "betrayed". You can't feel betrayed, if you hadn't believed and trusted in something.
Apparently Hitler's rethoric must have been so manipulating and "logically convincing" to many that the "little voice of conscience that might have been doubtful about what was going on with the Jews" was silenced in many Germans' minds.
Add the fact that any slightest publicly voiced resentment against Hitler's policies was answered with threats against your life and livelihood and you have a situation, where people watch paralyzed and don't know what to think and how to react.
Usually the rethoric and propaganda is so "smart" that the goals look "ethically" absolutely correct and convincing.
I am convinced a brainwashed fundamentalist Muslim today thinks he has the most pure "ethical values" when he starts preaching to kill the infidels. Matter of factly his ethical values are so holy to him, that he is happily willing to kill himself in serving those values.
When you look at the ethics of the current fundamentalist's preached values, you can't negate that they are simply the opposite of what they are sold for.
It is very easy to incite hatred in people and lead them to act on that hatred following a leader into a war. It's happening right now under Osama and other rethorical hate propagandists in form of fundamentalist Muslim clerics. They also are engaged in "Changing the sets of laws", by undermining secular sets of laws and replacing them with their form of Sharia law".
I think in a couple of sub-saharan countries you can find a competition for the rule of law between secular, constitutional law and Islamic laws. Who is winning that war? The ones, who have the weapons to terrorize the population into accepting the "new set of laws".
The populace will NOT have changed their individual set of ethical values, even if they look as if they were enthusiastically following the new leader's "Rules of Law". You should not underestimate the power of the weapons in the hands of bandits, who work for some political or religious strongman leader. They make ANYBODY a follower, easily, at gun point.
Simply said, a set of laws and their rule represents the enforcement of a set of ethical values. By changing the law you change the ethical values they represent. Or in other words, the populace doesn't change its feelings about what is right or wrong, it's that a couple of people in the legislative that have the power to change laws, that will reflect a change in ethical values for the population.
Example, take the death penalty in the US. Many people in Europe think that the death penalty in the US represents wrong ethical values. May be some people in the US think the same way. If it should happen that the death penalty is outlawed again, people will say that the ethical values of the US have changed to the better.
But in reality it might be that as many people as before support the death penalty, so their ethical values have not changed. Just the laws have. You can say that the set of laws and the rule of laws influences the ethical values you live by, in both directions, to the best and the worst.
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