Kentucky LP Takes Heat For Comparing ‘Vaccine Passports’ to Holocaust Badges

The Libertarian Party of Kentucky is drawing fire from a variety of officials, Jewish organizations and even the state’s governor after posting a tweet that compared the idea of “vaccine passports” to the yellow stars that Jewish people were mandated to wear during the Holocaust.

“Are the vaccine passports going to be yellow, shaped like a star, and sewn on our clothes?” the party tweeted out on Monday.

Louisville Rabbi Robert Slosberg was among those who reacted publicly, telling the Louisville Herald-Leader that the tweet was “just not appropriate.”

“It’s not intellectually correct. It’s very difficult to argue against something that is nonsensical. And this argument is nonsense.”

The Herald-Leader notes: Slosberg said he didn’t want to be dismissive of people’s concerns about vaccinations and how to determine who has been vaccinated. But he wanted the debate to be “intellectual,” and comparing the issue to the Holocaust was “kind of sick.”

“When we can’t come up with a good, intellectual debate, we go low,” Slosberg told the paper. “There’s no connection whatsoever. None. Zero. Oppose it, that’s fine. But pulling in the Holocaust kind of says to me, ‘well, we’re out of arguments, and we don’t know what to say.’”

Another Rabbi from Lexington charged that this was not the first time that the Libertarian Party of Kentucky had engaged in what he termed “Holocaust Denial”:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2796793897298377&id=100009033830728

This morning the Kentucky LP released a series of tweets to clarify their position, respond to critics, and further pledge the party’s opposition to the notion of the government requiring vaccination records for certain forms of travel or to engage in certain activities.

“This is a fight worth having. Our tweet the other day, while it may have been insensitive especially, considering the timing of passover, was in no way antisemitic,” the party tweeted. “We fight hard against this because the holocaust was evil and we want to prevent atrocities like it.”

27 thoughts on “Kentucky LP Takes Heat For Comparing ‘Vaccine Passports’ to Holocaust Badges

  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    That’s right, Kentucky LP… just keep digging that hole you’ve dug for yourself.

  2. SocraticGadfly

    Innnteresting that Amash was in approval of the tweet without any stated objections, at least in his initial approval.

  3. Richard Winger

    The U.S. government is not going to be promulgating “vaccination passports”. It will be done privately. Furthermore the star was forced on Jews in Germany in the 1930’s, but no one is forcing anyone to wear a vaccination passport. Its use is voluntary. So the analogy is weak, as well as insensitive.

  4. Thomas L Knapp

    Whether the tweet was “good messaging” depends on who they were trying to reach and for what purpose with it.

    But historically, the comparison is completely apt. The early anti-Jewish laws in Germany were often predicated on the same “public health” propaganda — Jews were characterized as carriers of typhus and the visible stars were so that “clean Germans” would be able to avoid them.

  5. Joe Wendt

    Libertarians are demonstrating that they are the party of extremism with a cult-like devotion to bad ideas. Just look at Knapp’s analogy, essentially just a justification of arguments against vaccinations in general (which isn’t surprising given the large number of anti-vax extremists in the LP) that is incredibly tone deaf and demonstrates the lack of the average Libertarian to determine what is appropriate behavior in general

  6. Thomas L Knapp

    Mr. Wendt,

    I acknowledge your expertise on the subject of lacking ability to determine what is appropriate behavior.

    Other than that, though, your comment is completely nonsense without any basis in reality. Opposing government ID / segregation / ghettoization schemes that use vaccinations as an excuse is not “anti-vax” any more than opposing the Nuremberg Laws was “pro-typhus.”

  7. SocraticGadfly

    And, Knapp is showing how well he understands Kentucky Libertarian Party bad messaging by continuing to dig further with the shovel when he should be putting it down.

  8. Thomas L Knapp

    Whether the messaging is “good” or “bad” depends on:

    1) Who it was aimed at;
    2) What its promulgators hoped to accomplish;
    3) Whether it accomplished that thing; and
    4) If so, whether the accomplishment was worth the cost.

    I didn’t express any opinion as to whether the messaging was “good” or “bad.” I simply pointed out that the particular message was not “anti-vax.” And that’s just a fact. You don’t have to like the fact that it’s a fact. It’s a fact whether you like the fact that it’s a fact or not.

  9. wolfefan

    How hard is it to say “We made a mistake and posted something really dumb and offensive” instead of blathering on about important conversations and artfulness. The important conversation might be why the KY LP is opposed to private property owners seeking to set regulations for the use of their property.

  10. Thomas L Knapp

    “The important conversation might be why the KY LP is opposed to private property owners seeking to set regulations for the use of their property.”

    I’d be interested in knowing more about that. Last time I checked, “vaccine passports” were, at best, a “public-private partnership” type project, with e.g. the airlines whining for government to come up with, implement, and enforce a uniform scheme.

    If a particular property owner doesn’t want un-vaccinated people in his store or whatever, that’s his business. Not the state’s — either from the angle of forbidding him to discriminate OR from the angle of facilitating ID so that he doesn’t have to do the work himself.

  11. Shawn Levasseur

    I understand what the LPKY was cautioning against, but its an inept metaphor. The “Papers Please” metaphor used without a direct comparison to any specific historical authoritarian regime would have done the job better, and would have been a closer parallel.

    I am intending to wear a pin saying I’ve been vaccinated (once I get vaccinated) as a means of encouraging people to get vaccinated, by setting an example. So, I have an additional angle above and beyond the overwrought hyperbole to object to this.

  12. Thomas L Knapp

    “I am intending to wear a pin saying I’ve been vaccinated (once I get vaccinated) as a means of encouraging people to get vaccinated, by setting an example. So, I have an additional angle above and beyond the overwrought hyperbole to object to this.”

    To apply your intent to that analogy, there is a difference between choosing to wear a yarmulke and being required to wear a Star of David.

    As to whether the LPKY could have done the job “better,” that’s certainly something to consider — but, again, “better” and “worse” vis a vis public communication is dependent on the intended outcome and whether or not that outcome was achieved.

    Last time I checked, no recent tweet from LPHQ had as many as 1/100th the “likes” of the LPKY tweet. So if that’s any kind of criterion of success, I’d say the LNC is in poor position to lecture LPKY on the matter of messaging.

  13. Jared

    The tweet was in poor taste, but to call it antisemitic or some form of Holocaust denial is patent nonsense.

  14. Oliver Steinberg

    I agree with Richard Winger’s comments. As for wearing a pin or other emblem, mine might say “Anti-vaxxers make me sick.”

  15. Thomas L Knapp

    Mr. Winger (and by extension you) is simply incorrect. Several state governments, and the Biden administration, and a number of foreign governments, are involved in these “vaccine passport” schemes.

    Furthermore, opposition to “vaccine passports” is not the same thing as opposition to vaccines. I’m not opposed to vaccines. In fact, I’m a Phase 3 trial volunteer for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.

    I am, however, against the government deciding where I can and cant’ go based on whether I’ve had a particular vaccine. To extend the metaphor in the tweet at issue, the word for creating such go/no-go zones is “ghettoization.” Which, as it happens, the Nazis also used “public health” claims to implement.

  16. Richard Winger

    Tom, do you have a source for your claim that some state governments are issuing these “vaccination passports?”?

  17. Joe Wendt

    Mr Knapp,

    I don’t expect you to use common sense, since you are heavily brainwashed in a cult.

    Considering that, throughout the history of vaccination, there is no well known documented case of vaccination discrimination with the polio or small pox vaccines. So, we don’t live in a sci-fi dystopia like Gattaca where that discrimination exists. If anything, these passports would make travel easier, increasing freedom of movement.

    Furthermore, allowing local communities to determine if such passports are required would be the libertarian position, just like deciding if prostitution or marijuana should be legal in a local community. So the official LPF position, which Knapp as a member represents, of denying local communities that is hypocritical.

    Additionally, it could be argued that his defense of the inappropriate and anti-semitic tweet (which it is, no one who has a pro-jewish would make that analogy) because he agrees with it. Just my thoughts

  18. Thomas L Knapp

    Richard,

    I didn’t claim that some state governments are issuing them, I claimed that some state governments are involved in the schemes.

    However, yes, some state governments are issuing them — for example, New York state and its “Excelsior Pass.”

  19. Thomas L Knapp

    “throughout the history of vaccination, there is no well known documented case of vaccination discrimination with the polio or small pox vaccines. ”

    In English, please?

    It’s interesting that you never learned, or have long since forgotten, what libertarian positions are.

    Numerous Jewish and “pro-Jewish” people have made the exact analogy you’ve said they wouldn’t make, about many things, including this.

  20. Joe Wendt

    Ahh, william saturn, the known Trump supporter, and probable insurrectionist and militant white supremacist or conspiracy theorist for all we know. (Got to love the weirdness of this world)

    Knapp, if telling a group of people what they can’t do in their community because someone disagrees with it is Libertarian, than you are a hypocrite. And given the revelations by the latest resignation by a prominent LPF member, I am not phased by your sad attempts to spin while trying to sound superior.

  21. Thomas L Knapp

    I’m unaware of LPF “telling a group of people what they can’t do in their community because someone disagrees with it.” But then, I don’t claim to be greatly aware of what LPF is up to these days. I haven’t been active in LPF for several years.

  22. wolfefan

    Any kind of passport scheme will require some level of govt. involvement since (at least around here) it’s the govt. that is giving the vaccine and is the only entity thus far that can confirm that one has been vaccinated. I don’t see how it might be different than the owner of a private road requiring that anyone who wishes to drive on that road have a govt. issued driver’s license.

  23. April June Carter

    In my neck of the woods, most of the vaccines are provided at Walmart and CVS. Private insurance pays private drug companies, except for the uninsured, who have the bill footed by federal taxpayers. There’s government involvement throughout the supply chain, drug development, stock ownership, and transportation infrastructure, among other things. Some, but not most, vaccines are administered at county health departments. I think “public-private partnership” is probably pretty accurate.

  24. William Saturn

    Wendt makes accusations without providing any evidence. Let’s look at Wendt’s past statements with links:

    “Just because someone has a racist view or makes a racist statement, doesn’t mean they are bad people, it’s an opinion.”

    https://web.archive.org/web/20111110192747/http://bostontea.us/node/1010#comment-4

    “So what if Mr. Roper is part of a white supremacist group. Truman and Byrd were KKK members, and look at their contributions to society. Strom Thurmond was a stauch segregationist, and look at his brilliant career. Just because someone has a belief that offends others does not mean he should be discounted from any party nomination, that is for a convention and the voters to decide. And besides, look at the platform Mr. Roper is running under:

    http://vote4roper.webs.com/issues.htm

    [. . .]

    And My Question to Mr. Perry: Why should we disqualify someone because of an un-pc personal belief? Like it or not, everyone is a tad racist; hell I dispise midgets. Shouldn’t we judge some on their actions rather then an eccentric personal belief?”

    https://web.archive.org/web/20111110192747/http://bostontea.us/node/1010#comment-21

    “Something tells me that Billy Roper is perhaps as much of a libertarian, if not more so, as the Paul clan.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/20111110192747/http://bostontea.us/node/1010#comment-2

    “Carl Person is the only candidate of principle. Bestiality is a real victim-less crime. I am just happy to see a candidate understand the kind of relationship me and my dog have. You go Carl!!!”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/11/lp-pres-carl-person-defends-comments-on-legalizing-bestiality/#comment-718062

    “Carl Person is a much better candidate, and beastiality is fun.”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/01/duensing-withdrew-from-libertarian-presidential-race-in-november-2011/#comment-723849

    “I also openly admire Pinochet, because I am an anti-communist”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2013/05/updates-on-libertarian-party-nomination-race-for-florida-governor/#comment-835033

    “I also vehemently dislike Russians.”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2013/05/updates-on-libertarian-party-nomination-race-for-florida-governor/#comment-835057

    “I’m all for respecting other religions, however atheists do not deserve tolerance. … I will not tolerate atheists because they don’t deserve it.”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2013/02/adrian-wyllie-religion-atheism-and-the-libertarian/#comment-812882

    “I may have fought for your right to protest, but your act is disrespectful and you deserve a good beat down, you un-grateful asshole.”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/06/darryl-w-perry-in-defense-of-my-pro-peace-message/#comment-753978

  25. dL

    If anything, these passports would make travel easier, increasing freedom of movement.

    Furthermore, allowing local communities to determine if such passports are required would be the libertarian position,

    The libertarian position is that you don’t need permission to travel or associate. The authoritarian position is that you do. In authoritarian , controlled societies, biometric passports would indeed increase the freedom[sic] of movement by simple mathematical virtue that the default freedom of movement in such a society is zero.

  26. Jared

    Acting as though German anti-Jewish policies in the 1930s were so extraordinarily wicked–because Nazis were extraordinarily wicked and these policies led ultimately to the Holocaust–that no valid analogies can ever be made to governments in the present day, and to draw any comparisons somehow denies the uniquely evil character of the Hitler regime, is a great way to excuse or downplay examples of political discrimination and statist oppression. The reason we should “Never Forget” is that no nation-state is immune to this kind of destructive spiral. Something similar can in fact happen again.

    Hannah Arendt, the German-American Jewish philosopher who coined the term “totalitarianism,” spoke of the banality of evil, how an anal-retentive momma’s boy like Himmler or a vacuum cleaner salesman like Eichmann could be responsible for such moral atrocities. They weren’t sociopathic demons. They were insecure regular people, quirky, submissive, eager to please and attracted to powerful authority figures. It’s easy for people to believe they would be the ones standing their ground, accepting the ridicule of their peers as the culture gets swept away.

    Yes, the LPKY tweet was crude and provocative and over-the-top and kind of gets things backward, but the hysterical reaction has been far worse.

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