About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread


Post 0

Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 4:35pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Having read your article, Glenn, I gave some thought to my posts on the subject (from which you quoted), and understand that my positions were wrong, partially because I had lost sight of the "big picture". Thanks for giving me a reason to go back and check my premises.



Post 1

Tuesday, June 4, 2002 - 4:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ah. The force is strong with this one...

Great article. I am glad to see that someone remembered that this movie series is fictional and cannot be expected to be a treatise on promoting false philosophical ideas (i.e. the force and most of the Jedi philosophy). Personally I have enjoyed all of the movies in the series thus far.

Pianoman



Post 2

Wednesday, June 5, 2002 - 10:20amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks, Pianoman. I don't think fiction is the disqualifier for judging philosophic ideas in movies. e.g. a movie set in 21st century America with no supernatural element that said, "trust your feelings, reject your mind" (and I'm sure there are plenty out there) would be hard to redeem. However, the Star Wars context is that you have this fictional metaphysical element of The Force, where relying on instinct at the expense of reason does not lead to destruction. "The Force guides your actions."

However, the argument against The Force is not a significant one. The overriding themes of the movies is good triumphing over evil, redemption and heroism.



Post 3

Friday, November 1, 2002 - 7:46amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for the very good article. I love Star Wars (and Rand! :-).



Post 4

Sunday, August 10, 2003 - 6:48pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
First of all, where did this "Force is fiction" train come from, and why is anyone jumping on it? Other than the ease with which the characters acheive the telekinetic potential, its few published tenets appear largely akin to Taoism and Buddhism. That's not fiction, friends. Those are some of the most credible explanations of the mysteries of life ever put forth.

Nevertheless, the mere fact that the movies are fiction doesn't resolve the moral hypothesis The Case poses. "The Empire is evil because Lucas the Creator says so" is for the weak-minded concrete thinker who needs the Empire to be evil in order to sleep at night. Clearly, Lucas wanted it that way, and so the article begins with the proposition that Lucas was wrong, not merely that viewers watched with unfounded presumptions. To challenge Lucas' fiction with some superficial and very tongue-in-cheek hypothesis testing-- to put Star Wars in the same philosophical stew pot as The Fountainhead and Fight Club-- is charming.

There are much better reasons to disagree with The Case in the end than that it upsets our delicate sensitivities. The opening narrative text to Episode IV states that the Empire is evil, and Vader & the Emperor discuss the same toward the end of Episode VI. Vader's conversion to the side of Luke, Obi Wan & Yoda contemporaneous with his abandonment of his hate in favor of compassion is absolutely compelling.

But The Case is worth discussing. I'd submit that Project Mayhem would work on the side of the Rebellion and the U.S. government on the side of the Empire. Questioning assumptions is always a worthwhile pursuit, regardless of whether we come full circle in the end.



Post 5

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I have a few points I'd like to make, rebutting the rebuttal.

"One alternative is ineffectual and corrupt, the other, clearly evil."

The evil alternative here is the dictatorship of the Emperor, but there's no support offered. Dictatorship is not an a priori bad thing if it provides good government, which we have little reason to believe the Empire does not do.

"His goal is complete coercive power over the galaxy."

We don't know this. His MEANS certainly involve coercive power over the galaxy, but his ends are not made clear at this point.

"The goal of the Empire and the Sith is political subjugation of the galaxy. The promise of order and stability is what attracts Anakin to Palpatine in the first instance."

Again, you have this backward (or, at least, possibly backward, and it's a possibility that needs to be considered). The means chosen by the Empire and the Sith include political subjugation of the galaxy, but those means lead to an end - in this case, order. If the goal is an orderly society, a strong military force and political subjugation might be just the way to do it.

"What the author neglects to tell us is that before Tarkin gives the firing orders, Leia does indeed give him the name of a planet where the rebels are based, albeit a false one. Tarkin accepts this and in true villainous style, carries out his threat anyway."

The relevant but of The Case's argument is kept from us here. As The Case for the Empire points out, no only is everything Leia tells Vader "willfully untrue," but Leia is also a member of a ruling aristocracy actively enganged in treason. Secondly, Tarkin may well have been planning to destroy Alderaan even before the opportunity arrose to threaten Leia with it. If he tells her, "Reveal the location of the hidden base or we'll destroy Alderaan," his statement is logically accurate if he fully intends to destroy Alderaan regardless of what Leia says. Leia drew a false conclusion here - she was not mislead.

I think the original Case for the Empire was a far more well-written piece than this rebuttal. The rebuttal offers no reasoned justification for the bulk of its positions, expecting the reader to simply accept the claims put forward without any investigation into their logical value.



Post 6

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 9:52pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Evan,

While I agree with you that a particular dictatorship is not necessarily a bad government, I think that the films provide ample evidence that this dictatorship is a bad dictatorship. In addition, I think a strong argument can be made that dictatorships in general are not good forms of government.

A good government is one that protects rights. I think it's a safe assumption that the majority of the people living on Alderaan were not criminals. The destruction of an entire planet (for the stated purpose of cowing possible dissidents) is not the action of a government trying to protect rights. You do not protect rights by violating right and committing mass-murder. Mass-murder in the name of order is the sort of argument put forth by Stalin and Mao.



Post 7

Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 8:46pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

About the no case for the Empire. We should agree that evil and good are relative concepts.  Some societies accept death as legal. I.E. There are death rows in the US; there are other examples though.

 

The Empire is supposed to be a huge organization and it means many people, not all of them are the same. There are ruthless persons, pompous persons, and incompetents...but they're also are persons with a feeling of patriotism to this "great countryĒ, pacifist persons and excellent strategists. Vader is not the same person as Thrawn or Maarek Stele or Janek Sunber or Pellaeon. Pellaeon accepted the facts and called for peace saving the Empire from its total destruction. We cannot judge the whole Empire and it's personnel by what Tarkin did. I can't claim the US is evil because of those who tortured the Iraqi prisoners...

 

As for dictatorship... Simůn BolŪvar said once "the best government system is that who brings the biggest amount of happiness to the people". Like it or not, democracy, as conceived so far, is not always the best choice. The problem is that anything different despite if it's better or worse, is took as an evil menace. Isnít that the problem with Cuba?

 

For me, the Empire in SW represents the "empire of evil", the nickname given to the communist governments (Russia mainly) while the alliance represents those freedom fighters like the US. The question is: what kind of freedom they're fighting for? , Freedom for the strong to oppress the weak? , Freedom  to die if they find someone who have different ideas? There is a designated system for all the countries and societies, this democratic model who doubles as a cover for the liberalism, anyone who dares to choose another path is immediately pressed, put under fire mostly. In SW there are many tales of planets being freed from the imperial governors. What if the people there liked the Empire?

 

My point is that nothing is completely good or evil. Humans arenít good or evil and the Empire was made of humans though there are aliens like Thrawn. But humans mainly Öso the Empire cannot be completely evil or good.




Post 8

Friday, September 17, 2004 - 1:25amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Hi Araujo,

 

Interesting interpretation, but not what I think Lucas intended. I think youíre overanalyzing the Star Wars films, and over-analysis is not necessarily a good thing when you have a clear message.

 

The Empire is very much a metaphor for Nazi Germany. You have an all-powerful dictator, military expansionism, persecution (of the non-human aliens), genocide (the destruction of Alderaan) and even stormtroopers. All the arguments you make for the Empire could be made for Nazi Germany. Sure there were patriots, even heroes, in Nazi Germany, but the regime itself was very much evil, built in Hitlerís image, as the Empire was built in Palpatineís image. Palpatine is pure evil. His sole focus is total power for its own sake, and everyone and everything was a means to this.

 

As I said in the article, we are not limited to a choice between dictatorship and unfettered democracy.

 

Sure, the Rebel Alliance went on to form the New Republic after the defeat of the Empire, which was a sort of liberal-democratic UN type deal. But at the time, they were freedom fighters, resisting a tyrannical and oppressive regime. Itís still heroic that those with an agenda for partial-freedom resist a completely unfree regime. Itís like saying that the partially-free US and UK had no right to declare war on Nazi Germany. But I guess there are some on this forum who would say that.




Post 9

Friday, September 17, 2004 - 1:25amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Hi Araujo,

 

Interesting interpretation, but not what I think Lucas intended. I think youíre overanalyzing the Star Wars films, and over-analysis is not necessarily a good thing when you have a clear message.

 

The Empire is very much a metaphor for Nazi Germany. You have an all-powerful dictator, military expansionism, persecution (of the non-human aliens), genocide (the destruction of Alderaan) and even stormtroopers. All the arguments you make for the Empire could be made for Nazi Germany. Sure there were patriots, even heroes, in Nazi Germany, but the regime itself was very much evil, built in Hitlerís image, as the Empire was built in Palpatineís image. Palpatine is pure evil. His sole focus is total power for its own sake, and everyone and everything was a means to this.

 

As I said in the article, we are not limited to a choice between dictatorship and unfettered democracy.

 

Sure, the Rebel Alliance went on to form the New Republic after the defeat of the Empire, which was a sort of liberal-democratic UN type deal. But at the time, they were freedom fighters, resisting a tyrannical and oppressive regime. Itís still heroic that those with an agenda for partial-freedom resist a completely unfree regime. Itís like saying that the partially-free US and UK had no right to declare war on Nazi Germany. But I guess there are some on this forum who would say that.




Post 10

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - 7:49pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Episode I: The Trade Federation blockades Naboo, a perfectly legal act in the 'just' Republic. After crippling Naboo's interplanetary trade system, the Trade Federation invades. When Amidalia asks the Senate for support they do nothing! All they can do is call for an investigation. Naboo citizens are being starved and are dying but the Senate can't help them.

 

Episode II: An aid to the new Queen of Naboo states,

 

"Itís outrageous, but after four trials in the Supreme Court, Newt Gunrey is still the viceroy of the trade federation."

 

The Senate is so ineffective they can neither aid a planet under attack that is part of their 'republic,' nor can they perform a simply trial for a war criminal who caused the death of many civilians. The Republic is the same as the League of Nations, and the U.N. There are so many different planets with different ideals and interests that they cannot even agree on basic issues. They also have no military power like the modern U.N. They have the Jedi to keep order but they don't have the ability to protect the Republic.

 

Lamont wrote, "Star Wars has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people worldwide, in part because the saga celebrates heroism and the limitless potential of the individual."

 

Yes, Star Wars did show that a capable person could rise to extraordinary power...In the Empire. As Jedi? No! In Episodes IV, V, and VI the viewers think that anyone can be a Jedi. In Episode I though, we learn that the ability to control the force and join the Jedi order is reserved for the children of other Jedi and Force Sensitive people. If your parents don't have the ability to use the force, you won't either. The only person to have Force abilities without Force Sensitive parents is Anakin Skywalker. He was conceived by the Force. But he is the only case in which that happens.

 

More than just the fact that you need parents who can use the Force in order to become a Jedi you also have to look at the number of Jedi in the known galaxy. Out of the Trillions of people in the Republic, there are maybe about 50,000 - 500,000 who can wield the Force. More than just being an exclusionary order the Jedi are extremely few in number, so all that, 'limitless potential of the individual', is completely false in the Republic.

 

In the Empire on the other hand, Solo rises to the rank of Captain in a very short time span. Both Fett and Vader refer to Solo as, 'Captain', and it is known that he was a former Imperial pilot with the rank of Captain. What's very important to remember about this holy Rebel "Alliance" is that they willfully hire known criminals. If it can get them to Alderaan and past Imperial ships, they don't care about whom they're flying with. Not only is Solo a smuggler, he deals with the Hutts, a criminal organization that is extremely violent. While Solo is portrayed as a 'good' criminal with a heart of gold, he is helping the criminal underworld. He might not kill civilians but his illegal goods are no doubt illegal for very good reasons, including causing the death of civilians. All those commercials about the fact that people who buy drugs support people who kill cops and civilians aplly fully to Solo who is the nearest thing to a drug dealer you can get without handing them to customers!

 

And whom do Solo, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and the other rebels kill throughout Star Wars. Nameless, faceless Storm Troopers. A rebellious faction killing soldiers fighting and dying to end the rebellion...that is in no way comparable to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan now, is it?

 

During the battle of Endor you see an Ewok dye and his friend mourn his death. You see Leia get shot and all the fuss about her poor little boo boo, but do you see the pain of any of the Storm Troopers? What about their wives and children? So the viewers wouldn't sympathize with the Storm Troopers, Lucas covered them from head to foot in armor. The rebels and Ewoks are shown with little to no armor so when they die you can sympathize that it is a tragedy and see their pain. The Empire may not have planetary representitives to wreak the system, and make people feel as though they have a voice, but it keeps order, propels society forward and keeps terrorist factions like the rebel "alliance" from creating havoc.

 

I'll go with the Empire over the terrorist rebels please.





Post 11

Monday, July 11, 2005 - 4:07amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"I'll go with the Empire over the terrorist rebels please"
 
While I sympathise with your opinions that the troopers families will be mourning, one has to note that the Clone Army becomes the Stormtrooper Corps. So by your brutal logic that an officer who is inept should be choked, it doesn't matter.

And on a side note, that officer most certainly had a family, he wasnt a clone.

Examing Episode III, for example, you see the Empire is founded on genocide and oppression. It might be efficient, but that is not necessarily right.

The ends can justify the means, assuming the ends are noble. Can you honestly look at Emperor Palpatine, at planet destroying superweapons, at Darth -mass-murdering- Vader and say the Empire is noble?

Millions of faceless clones and human pilots and human officers whom are treated as cannon fodder and not human beings?




Post 12

Monday, July 11, 2005 - 1:00pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
And, since only adults who are Force-sensitive have Force sensitive children, the Sith will end up winning the Galaxy by default, after a few generations of the success of the Jedi--they aren't allowed families, sex, or children, and all Force sensitive children in the Galaxy are pushed into the Order. Their numbers would naturally dwlindle until Sith greatly outnumbered Jedi.



Post 13

Monday, July 11, 2005 - 2:04pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I thought there can only be two Siths? A master and an apprentice, but guess what, I didn't read the whole book-comic-games mumbo-jumbo (keeps your head clear and straight on the fantastic movies ;)).

However, I think this is a bright analysis of Star Wars and it brings back context to the discussion by showing that it is mostly a work of fiction by Mr. Lukas.
I also had many problems with (pro-totalitarian) analysis "A Case for the Empire" and this article showed that I am not alone amongst militaristic people who like violence and power above reason and (harder) peaceful and humane solutions :)




Post 14

Monday, July 11, 2005 - 2:48pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Scott,

In Star Wars world, being a Sith or Jedi isn't inherited, only the Force sensitivity. Anakin's father was Force sensitive as were Luke and Leia, yet only Anakin became Sith. So the Sith wouldn't have necessarily won out by numbers, which is why the whole Jedi slaughter targeted all Force sensitives and their children. Presumably Palpatine would have endeavored to prolong his life indefinitely using the Force and Vadar, being largely mechanical, would only need tune ups to continue on, so by eliminating all Force sensitives they could have ensured their place in power over non-Force sensitives, rather than have an army of Sith.

sigh

Wow, I'm such a nerd. :/

Sarah



Post to this thread
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.