Dr.Brin's criticism of Lucas has much to do with his own radical views. If you really get to the bottom of what he is saying, he is not criticizing Lucas on the grounds of shared common values but on the grounds of his own unique values. His own personal perspective is actually pretty unusual once you boil it out of what he says. He has repeatedly said that most of what humanity considers its treasured literature is actually execrable trash, and great works like the Iliad and great thinkers like Plato are to be shunned because they do not promote the ideas Dr. Brin considers good and right and true. It's kind of funny, but while he champions freedom and "democracy" he promoted a politically-based aesthetic in which all art and literature are supposed to share populist values and everything from the past is considered inherently bad. It is no surprise that he was trained as a scientist because he clearly thinks that only the newest things are good and that there is no problem with destroying the past. I am reminded of the literary movements of the Soviet Union and its satellites, where every single bit of art or literature had to praise the worker and extol the values of the collective. Is it any wonder that dissenting voices like that of the exiled Alexander Solzhenitsyn are the only ones remembered from that era? I would call him disturbing and pompous, but he is not that influential and his episode II review did tone things down a bit. I am actually a little disturbed by all the boasting around here to the effect that star wars is better because it is more popular. It's nice to know that I have many fellow fans around me, but that isn't why I think the movies are good. But to my final point: We do not live in a democracy. Technically the Galactic Republic is not a democracy either. A Pure democracy elects executives and holds popular elections on all legislation. Military leaders are also elected, and all trials are by jury only. We have a mixed government modeled on that of the Roman republic. Like most historical governments we can only say we are relatively democratic, not that we are a pue democracy. But we call ourselves a democracy because it sounds good to us. If you do not live in the USA, the same comments apply to your government as well, or perhaps it is even less democratic. All of this polarization has really obscured the issue, as though we lived in a word where pure dictatorship constantly wrestled with pure democracy. It is really a sliding scale, and if there is political significance to the prequels it is to show an honest republic sliding toward dictatorship, with corruption as the lubricant. OK I have one more point in this disjointed posting. When Lucas mentions the benevolent despot he is talking about an ideal. He is not really proposing a change away from democracy. For someone to take that as a proposal rather than an illustration of human nature and human desires is rather unfair in my opinion. What's funny is that when Brin compares Lucas to Plato in an attempt to disparage Lucas, not only is he giving Lucas high praise in my opinion, he is demonstrating that he understands neither of them. Plato discussed the IDEA of a philosopher king to illustrate human nature. He did not consider the idea very realistic. In fact the one time he tried to convince a dictator to adopt philosophical principles he barely escaped with his life. He wrote another whole book on the presupposition that a philosopher king was a piepe dream...but I will stop myself. Humans are entitled to have opinions. But being qualified in one field, especially physics, doe not qualify you as an expert in all of them.