When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring Because You Never Were Taught About Nazi Germany

In Montana, the Valley County Health Department sent out a flier to businesses decreeing that all essential workers from outside the county must wear pink armbands or bracelets signifying their quarantine status in order to shop in the county. Anyone not wearing a pink armband, the flyer said, would be reported to police.

If that graphic is too blurry for you, it reads in part,

Anyone who is from out of town or out of Valley County who has a PINK wristband has been here 14 days or more and no longer needs to do the strict self-quarantine. They may enter your business. Anyone who is from out of town or out of Valley County, staying here/working here, and has not completed the 14 day quarantine is REQUIRED BY THE VALLEY COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER ORDER to use curbside delivery only. They are not to enter your business to shop.

Boy, that reminds me of something. What is it? It’s right on the tip of my tongue…something to do with..is it the Holocaust? Could that be it? No, it can’t be. No health department would be that stupid, would it? Especially when mayors and governors around the country are being accused of having a “Who’s the best dictator?” competition? Would it? Really?

Here’s the Nazi badge code, in case you can’t read German:

Now, the pink triangle…

…signified homosexual men, bisexuals, rapists and pedophiles. If a prisoner so labelled was also identified as Jewish, the pink triangle was superimposed over a yellow  triangle  to resemble the yellow Star of David badge.

I think it was great that the county evoked the rich history of such labels, don’t you? It’s like a living history lesson for the kids!

Apparently a few people in the county had a competent history teacher at some point; maybe they watch the History Channel. Anyway, someone tipped off the SS at the Valley County Health Department that this neat armband system was not evoking the desired reaction, so it issued an apology and retraction:

…it continued,

…their14- day quarantine. This was implemented to help alleviate community concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19. These bands are not government issued and are not a part of any of the current health orders in place. Rather, they are a good faith effort by these contractors to try to put the community at ease. In a break-down of our internal processes, a flier went out to local business owners seemingly indicating such wrist bands are required for out of county individuals, and that local business owners were obligated to report violations of the health orders. That is not the intent of Valley County, and that flier has been rescinded.
We apologize, again, for any confusion this has caused. We are addressing our internal processes and want to thank all community members for continuing to work with us during this unprecedented time.


Does anyone believe that? “What we said in ALL CAPS was not what we intended to convey, and anyway, some rogue staffer sent out the flyers that we didn’t want sent”?

The ethics issues here are incompetence, dishonesty, ignorance, and thinking like a Nazi.

The more power local bureaucrats think they have, the longer the temptation to use it goes on, and the more submissive the public is responding to these aspiring totalitarians, the more incidents like this will be popping up all over America.

16 thoughts on “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring Because You Never Were Taught About Nazi Germany

  1. The thing that authoritarians miss is that they could just set up handy systems and ask people to use them, to help keep themselves and each other safe. People can then make their own decisions based on the situation. There’s no need to impose blanket rules or consequences for everything if you work with people. I’m willing to consider that this is well-intentioned, but it’s extremely clumsy hubris.

    We see the same problems with the way people are taught to deal with racists: make rules and punishments for them. There’s no sense of how to make things better, so the only thing to do is to hurt all the people who make things worse.

    Granted, most humans are not naturally good at empathy and foresight, so they’ve developed learned helplessness when it comes to understanding those who think and feel differently, or preventing problems in advance when trying something new.

    Those of us who are skilled with such mindsets need to step up and start demonstrating their skills. As we do, other people will start to realize how effective they can be if they learn constructive approaches, and they’ll relinquish their misguided and destructive assumptions. That’s the basis for the project I just launched.

  2. I have said that a simple request would go much farther than blanket rules as EC stated. They did leave some wiggle room for their clarification. What was in ALL CAPS referred to the requirement for curbside delivery only and not to report non wrist band wearers to the health department or law enforcement.

    “Anyone who is from out of town or out of Valley County, staying here/working here, and has not completed the 14 day quarantine is REQUIRED BY THE VALLEY COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER ORDER to use curbside delivery only.”

    Where the problem lies with their response is in the next paragraph that basically says if they don’t follow orders call the police.

    This kind of crap reminds me of some high school teachers I once had who when confronted with their abuse of power over a student (me) by a parent (mine, who were also teachers) went into total obfuscating BS mode in response to being challenged.

      • Jack.

        I was not suggesting that the writers do not have a closet full of brown shirts. My main point is showing how the writer communicated exactly what you described but with the ability to claim that people misunderstood the writer’s intent.

        • That frequent propensity write something with clear intentions in a formula which permits denying those intentions after the fact in a way which nobody actually believes is one of the central things we as a species need to stop taking seriously. In a courtroom, if someone is proven to have pointed a gun at a victim’s face, stared deliberately into the victim’s eyes for more than just a moment, and pulled the trigger, all confirmed by the testimony of witnesses, the defendant who argues “even still, it wasn’t my intention to shoot him” would certainly be electrocuted beyond a reasonable doubt. For some reason we allow unreasonable doubt to reign in the case of bureaucratic injunctions from which only one interpretation is possible. Maybe if we put electrocution in place as a penalty we could also lower our standard of judgment.

          Not that I’m saying you don’t also think the Valley County health officiate is full of it. No, it’s exactly my point that it isn’t humanly possible not to think they’re full of it.

          That widening gap between “official truth“ and truth is probably the enemy’s actual goal, and not any of the superficial antics. Once the officials can declare anything to be anything else, all that’s necessary is for the party to stage a real coup, declare it to have been an election, and declare any recognition of the coup as such an act of Nazi-racism-hate-privilege. If their coup fails, they can declare it to have been necessary “speech”, regroup without consequence, and try again as often as necessary.

          My kingdom for a single shared concept under the thinning floor of our conventions! Alas, we’ve been undermined by subversives for decades, and their work is nearly complete.

  3. (1) But what is the county going to do with all those wristbands now? I mean, they just had them lying around, they didn’t order them for this or anything…

    (2) It exasperates me that all these people finally read the Bible and all they get out of it is “Wow, that Rev 13:16-17 is a great idea!”. Rev 13:16-17 “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” How many such schemes have you heard in the last few weeks. There is this one, the ‘antibody test’ mark…

    (3) Oh, and for all those people who said it is OK for Facebook, Google, etc to censor their clients and have different levels of service and standards of conduct for different groups of people because “they are a private company”, Facebook has banned protest sties “after consultations with state governments.” From Fox, “Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook,” a company rep told Fox News.

    • 3. I heard the Zuckerberg interview. The best way to test him on this is for government to ban social media. Zuckerberg wants to emerge as one of the elites in the new technocracy that gets created when people stop thinking for themselves and rely on “experts” provided by the government who tell us that the world is truly flat. This whole “we will follow the science” crap scares me to no end. Science is the process of seeking what truly is and not simply telling us what is because that was the result the government wanted and paid for.

      For all those people out there that pooh pooh studies funded by private corporations they should know that if you want to get the grant to study XYZ you must be sure to write your proposal in a manner that comports with the government’s reviewers thoughts on the matter. The government selects its experts to review grant applications. It is a quasi-political process to get funded despite the fact that the rules sequester the reviewers during the review process but not during the Q&A leading up to submission.

    • And it’s quite simple for me, at least. From the Revelationary cautions, to my own simple pigheadedness – any attempt to introduce a physical, unalterable tell to differentiate between us and them – beautiful catch, La Syphide – will 100% end with me identifying with them. I want no part of an us who would do such a thing, desire such a thing, or not be immediately repulsed by such a thing.

      Now, as for my wife and kids, I’ll just have to burn that bridge when I come to it.

  4. As much as I am dismayed by the overreach of many officials across the nation during this crisis, I am reminded daily of the lack of such petty despotism in my own neck of the woods. I am confident that this difference is due to the knowledge that our citizens -the considerable majority at least- would not stand for it. The marches and demonstrations that occurred in other states after a month of excessive restrictions would have been happening here virtually overnight. Nothing like a healthy skepticism of government’s “solutions” to ward off budding Nazism! My grandpa used to be fond of saying that the South would rise again. It’s beginning to look like we will only have to hold on while the rest of the mess crumbles around us.

  5. What makes the fake apology and retraction particularly galling is that Valley County, Montana has about 7500 residents in the whole county. For a county that size, there can’t be more than a half-dozen people in the entire health department. For them to act like it was a “breakdown of internal processes” when every single employee of the health department most likely was part of the “internal process” is insulting beyond belief. If this were Los Angeles County or Cook County or someplace like that, such an excuse might have an element of believability. But a tiny rural county in Montana? Come on, guys. It’s not possible to be stupid enough to buy your lame excuse-making and still be smart enough to be a functioning human being.

    • It would only be better if it were 1 person. “Well the outside company told me they were doing this voluntarily, but I forgot to explain it to myself and thought I was doing it. However, I didn’t ask myself for clarification if I was actually doing this or whether it was an outside group. So, I assumed that I was actually doing it and that it was mandatory. When I wrote up the guidelines for it, I forgot to tell myself that I wasn’t actually doing this and it wasn’t mandatory. I should have double-checked with myself to see if I had ordered this or not. I’m sorry for the confusion this has caused.”

  6. The other thing that’s completely stupid about this is: How exactly does wearing a pink wrist band actually mean the wearer has been quarantined for 14-days? How do we know that FOR SURE? Who is issuing them? How does one get one? How does one PROVE that they qualify?

    It sounds like the whole thing was just on the honor system, which is even worse!

    It seems like it would be trivial to have many many instances of people who have been quarantined who didn’t get a band and/or people who have a band who were not.

    Take it one step further: How do we know that a delivery guy who WAS quarantined for 14 days AND has a pink band didn’t just get accidentally infected at the delivery location he stopped at before mine?


    …yet people are instructed to call the police.



  7. One of my concerns along the monitoring lines is the new “black people are more susceptible” mantra now being said. In the wrong hands this could get to a “no blacks allowed” scenario, for fear of them being supposedly more likely to have it. In China a few places have banned blacks and Africans from entering stores.

    Another scenario is a program where if someone doesn’t get tested for the antibodies and doesn’t get a vaccine, they may not have access to various in-person services. I suppose then people will have to wear masks.

    And are we really supposed to assume this contact-tracing paradigm will be temporary or limited to the WuFlu?

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