The Bush Regime from Elections to Detentions: A Moral Economy of Carl Schmitt and Human Rights

26 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2006 Last revised: 16 Nov 2007

See all articles by David Abraham

David Abraham

University of Miami - School of Law

Date Written: May 2007


This essay, presented in Vienna at an international conference on the Bush Administration and America's Future and to be published in updated form, analyzes the Bush administration through two lenses: one developed by Marx in his analysis of the rise of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and the other Hans Mommsen's analysis of the happenstantial construction of Hitler's dictatorship. The essay moves through a look at the coup of 22 November 2000 and then proceeds to look at the analogous dynamics of the Reichstagsbrand/Ermaechtigungsgesetz and 9/11-USA Patriot Act. Next, the essay examines the role of sovereignty in states of exception and the role of the decider, as developed from the Weimar Constitution's Art. 48 and Carl Schmitt to John Yoo. Finally, the essay touches upon the ironic and pernicious role of radical human rights discourses in abetting an imperialist agenda. The essay concludes by considering whether the legal, moral, political, and social construct of the West, which the US has shared with Europe for over half a century, has now come to an end in an era of unchallenged, if ineffective, American hegemony.

Keywords: coup, dictatorship, human rights, citizenship, detention, imperialism, fascism, Schmitt, Weimar, Marx

JEL Classification: P16, K10, K19, K33, N14, N33, N44, B24, B25, D63

Suggested Citation

Abraham, David, The Bush Regime from Elections to Detentions: A Moral Economy of Carl Schmitt and Human Rights (May 2007). University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-20, Available at SSRN: or

David Abraham (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

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United States
305-284-5535 (Phone)
305-284-1588 (Fax)

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