Democracy vs Autocracy - which should Star Wars focus on the most

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Jedi-Sith, Jan 13, 2008.

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  1. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Actually, I find it cliche and boring. Also, I think it undermines the storyline. It takes a great deal to convince me that politicians are unrealistically corrupt and unbelievably stupid but Star Wars has repeatedly passed that line.

    Really, should politics be THAT much of a issue in Star Wars? Frankly, I wish we could move someplace away from the Hellish Core Worlds and focus perhaps on some Wild West style adventuring in the Outer rim.
  2. Quiet_Mandalorian Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2005
    star 5
    Because, as has been said, the story seemed to indicate a male Exile, and Zayne seems tailor-made for the role, though then again, the Exile being female makes a certain amount of thematic sense in contrast to Revan and his personality, significance, relationship with the Force and so forth.
  3. I-poodoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2001
    star 4
    Actually, I find it cliche and boring. Also, I think it undermines the storyline. It takes a great deal to convince me that politicians are unrealistically corrupt and unbelievably stupid but Star Wars has repeatedly passed that line.

    Who says they have to be unrealistically corrupt or unbeleivably stupid in order for politics to generate conflict for a story? Padme, says it herself in AotC: "The problem is that not everyone agrees." For example, abortion in the USA is a political flashpoint that creates lots of conflict without needing politicians to be corrupt or stupid.

    Granted corrupt and short-sighted politicians have been the trend in the EU since the prequels, but I think that's more of a case of the editors and writers trying to stick close to what George did.

    Anyway I generally agree with you, Charlemagne, I too am getting a little tired of the cliche as you put it.
  4. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2003
    star 6
    I'd rather see a group of well-intentioned politicians who are all operating as their constituents want and have the conflict be that their constituents want different things(which would be easily doable given all of the different groups in the GA) rather than corrupt politicians fighting each other for greater power.
  5. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    That assumes intelligence on the part of the reader and it seems to be that LFL/DR think we can't even tell two characters both named Anakin apart, so what hope for anything approaching complexity?

    I'm in agreement with those that see the undermining of any notion of worth to democracy as being dangerous, as the song goes: You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
  6. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    That would be a case of editors and writers completely misunderstanding what Lucas intended. In PT, the politicians of OR were largely a morally bankrupt group of cleptocrats. ROTJ was to be followed by the rebirth of the Republic, without the rot that was partly caused and certainly encouraged by the Sith in the OR. I hardly think that Lucas intends that politicians in the Republic post-ROTJ would be exactly the same kind of bunch that helped to destroy the OR. But instead of a better galaxy and a new golden age of the Republic post-ROTJ we have been left with endless portrayals of incompetent, selfish and greedy politicians in NR and GA. This of course started already before PT. Probably it tells us something about the authors.
  7. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 20, 2003
    star 6
    c
    That assumes intelligence on the part of the reader and it seems to be that LFL/DR think we can't even tell two characters both named Anakin apart, so what hope for anything approaching complexity?[/quote]

    True enough. I suppose wanting an ambiguous New Republic or Galactic Alliance political thriller is asking for too much. :p

    Heck, Lucas addresses it in the Prequels. "The day we no longer believe democracy can work is the day we lose it."
  8. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Oh come on, what is so difficult about this? Lots of people think you can be free and live under a totalitarian government. See? It's simple when you look at it the right way.

    Oh as for totalitarian governments you are indeed free as long as you obey 2 simple rules:

    1. Do as you're told
    2. Shut the %^$£ up
  9. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    My dad had a saying about this. "People who utterly agree with the government are free in fascist governments, right up until the government does something that imprisons them."
  10. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Charles,

    Indeed, it's like Judge Dredd the fantasy versus the reality:

    CITIZENS: We want strict law and order applied to the criminals, but not to us, for we are utterly law-abiding.
    DREDD: OK, let's have a look around, if you've nothing to be afraid then you've nothing to hide.
    CITIZENS: Uh, wait, I'm not a law-breaker...
    DREDD: We'll see.
  11. I-poodoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2001
    star 4
    Rogue 77 posted

    That would be a case of editors and writers completely misunderstanding what Lucas intended. In PT, the politicians of OR were largely a morally bankrupt group of cleptocrats. ROTJ was to be followed by the rebirth of the Republic, without the rot that was partly caused and certainly encouraged by the Sith in the OR. I hardly think that Lucas intends that politicians in the Republic post-ROTJ would be exactly the same kind of bunch that helped to destroy the OR. But instead of a better galaxy and a new golden age of the Republic post-ROTJ we have been left with endless portrayals of incompetent, selfish and greedy politicians in NR and GA. This of course started already before PT. Probably it tells us something about the authors.



    Generally I agree, but for the sake of argument I can understand that they might be hesitant to deviate from Lucas' formula even if its what he inferred would happen at the film saga's end.

    The framers of the EU couldn't really show the new golden age because they had no frame of reference of that provided by Lucas. Lucas showed the decline of a golden age. So that's what we see in the EU again. They were afraid to stray too far from that because it could be construed-correctly construed-as these writers trying to push Star Wars away from what Star wars essentially is...a political story about the decline and rebirth of democracies.

    It's a big tug-of-war within the EU, I think, how far away from what George did is acceptable by the writers and the fans and DR and GL himself. Fortunately we have a few trial-blazers like KOTOR and Legacy trying to go their own ways without dissing Lucas' formula./>/>
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    C19:
    I liken the system to Feudalism, really. The Advisory serves as the proxies of the King but the Moffs and Governors really are Lords and the Gentry.


    The best medieval analogs would be the Eastern Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, or the Japanese Empire prior to the Meiji Restoration (with the caveat that there is no Shogun-like figure). In all cases, there was a Court that was ruling the entire empire but the actual power in the themes/provinces/territories was directly held by the governors/lords who ran them though they were subject to the wishes of the Court.

    Of course, in the Empire's case, one could be both a member of the Court as well as a moff governor.


    I think the core of Star Wars is good vs. evil...and if we can break the myth that these government systems are good or bad, all the better.


    YES. The concern should be over good versus evil period, not whether certain governments magically have moral values associated with them. The nature of a government is determined by who exercises it.


    Robimus:
    That in breif is Fredrick Engels take on Communism, quoted from the Communist Manifesto. It still seems like a form of goverment to me in simplistic terms. Communist Russia or Communist Yugoslavia were using communist ideals to run their goverments, as have many other country's around the world. So I call communism a form of goverment, it seems to be the simplest way to look at it though it is admittedly much more complex than that. Sid Meier's Civilization series calls it a form of goverment, thus so do I


    Your problem is that you're mixing the idealized conception of communism with the functional reality. Your comment was that communism would be ideal if it could work--in other words, you're speaking of the idealized communist system. This is distinct from any form of "communism" exhibited in our history because they are still transitory states--Marx would call them socialist rather than communist, because they exhibit central planning of the economy and state redistribution of wealth.

    True communism would follow, but it never has in history. Why? George Orwell could tell you: the party apparatus realizes its own vested interests and sets itself above those it claims that it is freeing. What you call "communist governments" are not: they're centrally planned economies. Their governmental system is a socialist republic with the Politburo (as created by the party machinery) as the executive (led by the General Secretary).

    Your own game example bears this in mind: contrast the older games use of communism as a "government" with Civilization IV's use of it as an economic civic (central planning).

    The important points here about your problematic post are that idealized communism has no state and that communism in either ideal or historical incarnations is an economic system (as contrasted with capitalism--would anyone make the silly suggestion that capitalism is a governmental system or polity?).

    Or what? I'm admittedly not all that schooled on this subject, but I can speak on it, edumacational level aside . Feel free to correct me if I am mistaken. Last I checked I've done nothing against the forum rules.


    You're free not to believe me (though you should in this case) but it's a different matter to insist something is untrue unless you know for certain that it is. It's not a threat or anything to do with the rules, just a question of form--you're correct in that you can speak on it and it's very fair to say "correct me if I'm mistaken"--my suggestion was along the same lines. Nothing to worry about rules for./>/>
  13. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Arguably, Darth Vader is the Shogun of the Empire by any other name. The difference is that, like in Legends of the Five Rings, Darth Vader's status as Supreme Head of the Imperial Armed Forces hasn't rendered the Emperor into a puppet.

    But yes, very good points.

    I disagree, for the simple fact that George Lucas made it clear that this isn't Dune. In Dune, the issue is that Paul Atreides is expected to be overthrowing the corrupt Padishah Emperor in order to bring about what we believe to be a new Golden Age. The irony, of course, is that Paul Atreides is a much worse ruler than Shaddam ever was. But, fundamentally, there's no attempt to change the system in Dune.

    Instead, the nature of the problem is with the Imperial system itself rather than who rules it. The Rebellion doesn't intend to reform the Imperial system but to destroy it.
  14. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2003
    star 6
    Agreed.
  15. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    C19: Was it his intention? Then what of ANH's comment about the earlier Emperors?

    It's now superceded, of course, but it means that Star Wars was never really a story about governmental system but that of good versus evil (or freedom versus tyranny--but remember that a democracy can be just as tyrannical. Again, see Palpatine or Jacen.).
  16. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    In ANH it was stated "The Old Republic" and if we're going to talk about Good vs. Evil, I'd like to point out the original Star Wars would have been a very different thing from what we got on the screen. Something that I probably wouldn't have enjoyed nearly as much.

    Lucas chose to emphasize the issue of the collapse of Democracy for his own reasons (not the least of which being his own political awareness) in the Prequels.

    Basically, I just think its important we don't reduce Star Wars to being a work without a message. For example, anyone remember V the miniseries? Would it really be the same show if we had America adopt a Jingoistic Verhoven like Super-Military State to drive out the Visitors?

    Is that really in line with the show?
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Isn't that nearly what we got, though? Especially with the EU? Doesn't Leia become the republican equivalent of King Arthur? She holds power strongly for years--she doesn't exercise it in a monarchical fashion, but her way is usually the way until TNR. She, of course, is supported by the will of her populace.

    How different would that be from a king, also loved by his people? The point is not that Palpatine is an emperor, but that he is a tyrant. The point is not that he is replaced by a democracy (and he isn't) but that he is replaced because it is the will of the people, and he is replaced by something the people want.
  18. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Very many people would ask that. Of course, Leia herself would actively and violently reject the issue of monarchy. This, ironically, being despite the fact she is a Princess of a world that practiced some form of constitutional monarchy.

    I think the easiest answer to this point is that if Leia had been Queen of the Republic rather than its Prime Minister then Jacen Solo would have inherited the Crown from her when she stepped down.....and he's a barking mad lunatic.

    Leadership is not something that's in question. However, the simple fact is that the will of the people in a monarchy is irrelevant. The same in a tyranny. Where the will of the people is almost everything in a Republic or democracy.

    You're not necessarilly preaching to an unreceptive audience, GAJ. I actually wrote three Science Fiction novels (unpublished) that are strongly Star Wars themed. The fundamental conflict of the storyline is that an Imperial System has been overthrown by a Republican government and its become corrupt.

    The hero is a militaristic aristocrat whom must debate the merits of waging a Counter-Revolution to restore his own ruthless monarchy when he's actively aware that many of his former associates were not as eager to be noble to the common people as he.

    So I appreciate what you're saying, I'm just debating whether it's the right theme for Star Wars.

    OTH, I'm not sure that we're not able to actively debate the issue in a larger EU context.
  19. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
  20. Jedi-Sith Jedi Master

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    Aug 4, 2001
    star 3
    I think you can easily argue that ideally every form of government works if it follows its originaly intention.

    Democracy is great for its obvious reasons, however in the real world coupled with beaurocracy it can become corrupt and inneffectual

    Communism in its ideal form should work great, of course in it real world application it soon becomes something that isn't really communism

    Dictatorships are brilliant and efficient when the dictator is serving the interest of the people as part of his/her duty, however power corrupts, so we tend to find tyrants on the throne.


    So debating the pros and cons of each system could go on forever, with neither side giving any ground to the other.


    So yes my point of this thread was more to do with what fits best in Star Wars like Charles said.


    Charles I understand your arguments about the messages of the movies, I'm not sure I definately agree that the EU should always follow that same message but I certainly understand the sentiment.

    I'm not sure I agree that the classic trilogy is about Democracy vs Autocracy, I think its more about freedom vs tyranny. And one could argue that the Clone Wars had the exact same theme, despite the Republic being a democracy at that point.

    Arguments could definately be made to say that the prequels make the movies about democracy vs autocracy, especially Episode III however another argument could be made just as easily that the movies are about the failings of both democracy and autocracy, as it shows the tyranny of the Empire's autocracy and the corruption of the Republics democracy


    I agree Star Wars delivers messages, both in the movies and throughout the EU, and I'm always fascinated by those messages. Some of the Jedi and Sith philosophies are brilliant mind teasers that can be applied to real life situations I find, but they are the more obvious ones. The political messages definately are more subtle and open to interpretation I think.
  21. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    and that rule is adhered to when exactly? It seems like every book in recent memory has you doing a double-take on how you saw the films.

    About the only way that rule is followed is in how THEY WON'T KILL THE BIG THREE! Other then that, the world of the films has been turned on head, from Jedi code to Rebel intentions, right down to Vader's characterization.

    That rule is a sacred cow that should go.
  22. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7

    About the only way that rule is followed is in how THEY WON'T KILL THE BIG THREE! Other then that, the world of the films has been turned on head, from Jedi code to Rebel intentions, right down to Vader's characterization.


    Actually, I believe the argument would be "And all of that was crap."

    Pardon my language.
  23. Quiet_Mandalorian Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2005
    star 5
    I'd rather we not screw it over by trying to shoehorn a political manifesto into it.

    No.

    And for good reason. :p

    Ah, ya gotta love the political fetishization of that word...
  24. Trepidation Jedi Knight

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    Aug 3, 2005
    star 3
    Actually, I prefer the theory behind the "New Republic." There was an extreme emphasis (upon signing) that individual planets would, for the most part, govern themselves with little meddling from the Galactic Senate. Of course, the necessity to mobilize all planetary defenses against the Yuuzhan Vong created the "Galactic Alliance of Planets," which should have disolved upon the defeat of the scarred ones, and returned to a Republic once again.

    The largesse and corruption of Centralized politics is a direct result of the Yuuzhan Vong war...

    Democracy is a joke in such a big arena (the galaxy) because it allows cliche type governing, and is too easily corrupted. Autocratic rule will always allow the party on the end of a detrimental decision to claim favortism to the other party (whether valid or not)...and it's even worse if the Emperor is an "asshat." However, a Republic implies sovereignty on a planet by planet basis, with representation on a centralized level. However, planet's rights are primary.
  25. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 20, 2003
    star 6
    Oh, I'm not saying the EU doesn't do it, just that it shouldn't. The fact that the EU authors want to change the Rebels into being ambiguous, the Jedi into zealots, and Vader into a sad and sympathetic man doesn't mean they actually are. The Rebels are fighting to restore freedom to the galaxy, the Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice, and Vader is evil.
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