Tuesday, May 24, 2005

News Flash: The Jedi Are Evil!

The movement to embrace the Empire continues. Galley Friend B.W. sends along a link to this Orson Scott Card piece:
When the evil Palpatine says, “Good is a point of view--the Sith and the Jedi are almost the same,” we can dismiss this moral relativism as part of the deception of the dark side.

But in a pivotal scene, Obi-Wan says what amounts to the same thing: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

Isn’t that odd? The only thing both sides agree on is that people who believe in absolute good and evil are bad!

I suspect that Lucas realized, after writing "Good is a point of view," that all his friends actually believed that. So he had to make it clear that moral relativism was the right way after all—so he had Obi-Wan say that absolutism was a Sith thing, even though in the actual story, the best of the Jedis show an unbending commitment to absolute Good.

It’s a terrible thing, I suppose, for a writer to invent a religion and then discover that he and all his friends are on the wrong side of it.

Card continues:
The Jedi may claim to be in favor of democracy, but in fact they function as a ruling elite, making their decisions among themselves. They occasionally submit to the authority of the legislature, and they seem to respect the rule of law, though whose law it’s hard to say. By and large, however, they decide among themselves what they’re going to do and when it’s OK to break the law and defy the civilian authority.

They are, in fact, utterly anti-democratic, like a militia that owes nothing to civilian authority.


Anonymous said...

"They occasionally submit to the authority of the legislature, and they seem to respect the rule of law, though whose law it’s hard to say..."

Sounds more like the Supreme Court to me.

--See Dubya

arrScott said...

Basically, the Jedi are Jesuits with super powers. Or, for Mr. Card's benefit, Latter-Day Saints missionaries with telekinesis and swords.

We take the politics of Star Wars quite seriously, we wonk-geeks, but we'd have the same reactions to any institutional team of superheroes if we took it at all seriously. Justice League? They, too, are a self-appointing superpowered elite that stands athwart the normal structures of civil authority to wield life-or-death power over the citizenry. Same with the Avengers or the Green Lantern Corps or the X-Men.

The Jedi, at least, seem to believe themselves bound by something like the military's oath to the Constitution. Superhero teams don't even have that.

Rodney Dill said...

More the Illuminati

Anonymous said...

I just heard your 5/19 NPR broadcast about the Sith, and it's good stuff! Incidentally, here's another person taking a hilarious swing at the Jedi in a two-parter.

Anonymous said...

re flawed despotism (npr 5/19).

The SW story is full of holes, but the Empire must look a lot like your Straussian ideal. You pretend that corruption would stop at the top and some rule of law would keep the rest of us safe and stable, but you know it would reach all the way down to the galley slaves. Anyway, you say, 'despotism is a meritocracy'. It is, in the same way Hell is a meritocracy--you're tolerated as long as you're useful to the demons just above you. Careful what you wish for.