History Main / JustFollowingOrders

17th Jul '16 9:06:11 AM azul120
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Accordingly JustFollowingOrders is the StockPhrase motto/mantra/defense of the PunchClockVillain, as well as most bureaucrats ([[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive]] or otherwise), {{Mooks}}, and just about anyone during failures of nerve, job security, heroic fortitude...

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Accordingly JustFollowingOrders Just Following Orders is the StockPhrase motto/mantra/defense of the PunchClockVillain, as well as most bureaucrats ([[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive]] or otherwise), {{Mooks}}, and just about anyone during failures of nerve, job security, heroic fortitude...



* For a book which became notorious for discussing the "banality of evil", Hannah Arendt's ''Eichmann In Jerusalem'' is in fact a thorough and detailed takedown of the mentality of JustFollowingOrders. She notes that regardless of Eichmann's lack of DevilInPlainSight behaviour and his insistence that he was following orders, this is still not an excuse and that people have a moral obligation and can be tried for failing to pass on it, even in the most exceptionally difficult circumstances.

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* For a book which became notorious for discussing the "banality of evil", Hannah Arendt's ''Eichmann In Jerusalem'' is in fact a thorough and detailed takedown of the mentality of JustFollowingOrders.Just Following Orders. She notes that regardless of Eichmann's lack of DevilInPlainSight behaviour and his insistence that he was following orders, this is still not an excuse and that people have a moral obligation and can be tried for failing to pass on it, even in the most exceptionally difficult circumstances.



* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Gestapo", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]

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* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders Just Following Orders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Gestapo", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]
13th Jul '16 2:48:46 PM CrowTR0bot
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* Many of the torturers in the Hanoi Hotel were brainwashed teenage boys whose families were being held hostage by Pol Pot. They were told to either follow orders or they and their whole families would have the same fate as the prisoners. In later interviews, this trope is their justification, saying that they too were prisoners. It falls apart when one of the few survivors confronts his captor.

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* Many of the torturers in the Hanoi Hotel S-21 prison were brainwashed teenage boys whose families were being held hostage by Pol Pot. They were told to either follow orders or they and their whole families would have the same fate as the prisoners. In later interviews, this trope is their justification, saying that they too were prisoners. It falls apart when one of the few survivors confronts his captor.
30th May '16 1:05:01 PM Vilui
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** As it happens, UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler ''hated'' giving orders and liked to keep them as vague as possible, leading to what historian Ian Kershaw called "working towards the Fuhrer", i.e. doing what you ''think'' Hitler wants, which as it happens was usually just anything that made the problem go away. A common problem, even in the early days of the regime, was that the [=SA=], the [=SS=] and the more ideological members of the Party and the army would assault or kill more people than the leaders intended and had to be reined in (this was one of the reasons the [=SA=] was purged on the Night of the Long Knives, as they were considered too unruly compared to the "disciplined" [=SS=]). The initial plan for the occupation of Poland- then Eastern Europe- was to kill a certain % of various Polish social groups (e.g. Jews, academics, officers, lawyers etc.) and have the rest either deported or kept as slave labour (and/or held as hostages) while their land would be given to "ethnic" Germans, but the [=SS=] and sections of the German army ended up killing so much that even ''Himmler'' protested to Hitler (albeit on the grounds that it showed a lack of discipline). Eventually, for many, committing genocide simply became ''normal''.

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** As it happens, UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler ''hated'' giving orders and liked to keep them as vague as possible, leading to what historian Ian Kershaw called "working towards the Fuhrer", i.e. doing what you ''think'' Hitler wants, which as it happens was usually just anything that made the problem go away. A common problem, even in the early days of the regime, was that the [=SA=], the [=SS=] and the more ideological members of the Party and the army would assault or kill more people than the leaders intended and had to be reined in (this was one of the reasons the [=SA=] was purged on the Night of the Long Knives, as they were considered too unruly compared to the "disciplined" [=SS=]). The initial plan for the occupation of Poland- Poland -- then Eastern Europe- Europe -- was to kill a certain % percentage of various Polish social groups (e.g. Jews, academics, officers, lawyers etc.) and have the rest either deported or kept as slave labour (and/or held as hostages) while their land would be given to "ethnic" Germans, but the [=SS=] and sections of the German army ended up killing so much that even ''Himmler'' protested to Hitler (albeit on the grounds that it showed a lack of discipline). Eventually, for many, committing genocide simply became ''normal''.
28th May '16 9:15:08 PM Fireblood
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* OlderThanTheyThink: Henry Wirz, commandant of the notorious [[HellholePrison Andersonville POW camp]] during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, claimed that he was only following orders when the victorious Union finally put him on trial. It didn't work any better for him than it did for the Nazi officers at Nuremberg eighty years later; he was hanged after a trial whose [[KangarooCourt probable unfairness]] was made a moot point by the fact that he probably ''wasn't'' under orders to be that nasty anyway.

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* OlderThanTheyThink: Henry Wirz, commandant of the notorious [[HellholePrison Andersonville POW camp]] during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, claimed that he was only following orders when the victorious Union finally put him on trial. It didn't work any better for him than it did for the Nazi officers at Nuremberg eighty years later; he was hanged after a trial whose [[KangarooCourt probable unfairness]] was made a moot point by the fact that he probably ''wasn't'' under orders to be that nasty anyway. Critics have also pointed out a [[{{Hypocrite}} hypocrisy]] in this, as many Union prison camps were also hell holes, but naturally the commanders there were never punished for mistreating POWs.



** A critic has alleged that the results were [[BasedOnAGreatBigLie falsified by Milgram]] to prove people would obey authorities (as an explanation of the Holocaust), with most test subjects actually ''refusing'' them.



* Lawyers by law and ethical norm are required to use a version of this. While Lawyers can resign from service (usually) of any particular client, an attorney is expected, within certain outer limits, to engage in whatever morally-questionable-but-legal tactics will best serve his clients' interests. This could include making a child witness cry so as to convince prosecutors to give your client a better deal to protect them from you or it could include burying the other side in discovery to make pursuing a case against your client extremely time consuming. The justification is built into the ethical norms of the profession: you are your clients' advocate, and therefore must help them to the greatest legal extent possible. This ethical weirdness is the origin of the AmoralAttorney trope.
* This was the defence line of the soldiers and officers implicated in the Malet coup of 1812. For instance, Captain Borderieux stated:

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* Lawyers by law and ethical norm are required to use a version of this. While Lawyers lawyers can resign from service (usually) of any particular client, an attorney is expected, within certain outer limits, to engage in whatever morally-questionable-but-legal tactics will best serve his clients' interests. This could include making a child witness cry so as to convince prosecutors to give your client a better deal to protect them from you or it could include burying the other side in discovery to make pursuing a case against your client extremely time consuming. The justification is built into the ethical norms of the profession: you are your clients' advocate, and therefore must help them to the greatest legal extent possible. This ethical weirdness is the origin of the AmoralAttorney trope.
* This was the defence defense line of the soldiers and officers implicated in the Malet coup of 1812. For instance, Captain Borderieux stated:



* In the aftermath of the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre My Lai Massacre]], one of the most heinous atrocities during the Vietnam War where between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians were butchered by US forces, Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader, pleaded he was just following the orders of his commanding officer, Captain Medina. This defence was rejected and he was sentenced to life in prison for 22 counts of murder. [[KarmaHoudini Then the sentence was commuted to three and a half years under house arrest at Fort Benning, and no-one else was convicted of any charges in relation to the massacre.]]

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* In the aftermath of the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre My Lai Massacre]], one of the most heinous atrocities during the Vietnam War where between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians were butchered by US forces, Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader, pleaded he was just following the orders of his commanding officer, Captain Medina. This defence defense was rejected and he was sentenced to life in prison for 22 counts of murder. [[KarmaHoudini Then the sentence was commuted to three and a half years under house arrest at Fort Benning, and no-one else was convicted of any charges in relation to the massacre.]]
17th May '16 2:34:48 PM Kalaong
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* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]

to:

* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", "Gestapo", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]
17th May '16 2:34:30 PM Kalaong
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* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]

to:

* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]
16th May '16 12:01:18 PM Kalaong
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* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but they are Just Following orders from ''Congress'' - orders they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity.

to:

* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but they he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are Just Following JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from ''Congress'' - their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity.similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]
16th May '16 11:58:15 AM Kalaong
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* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS for being ObstructiveBureaucrats who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but they are Just Following orders from ''Congress'' - orders they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity.

to:

* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS for being ObstructiveBureaucrats {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but they are Just Following orders from ''Congress'' - orders they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity.
16th May '16 11:57:52 AM Kalaong
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Added DiffLines:

* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the IntimidatingRevenueService on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IRS for being ObstructiveBureaucrats who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but they are Just Following orders from ''Congress'' - orders they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Nazis", one can see the similarity.
9th May '16 8:12:01 PM trixus
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Added DiffLines:

** Would be but even soldiers who win the war are still gonna be put on trial if someone can put them at the place of an ethnic cleansing. History shows that you can't always win but murder has no statute of limitation.
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