Lit Does loyalty justify serving an evil regime?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by SpecForce Trooper, Jun 17, 2017.

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Is it justified?

Yes 6 vote(s) 10.0%
No 54 vote(s) 90.0%
  1. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    But yes, oddly enough, this question is what inspired me to write LUCIFER'S STAR. I was underwhelmed by the enemies of the Force Awakens and how quickly Finn turned to murdering his fellow First Order officers. So, inspired by Michael Stackpole and Baron Soontir Fel's arc, I decided to write a book from the perspective of a "soldier of the Evil Empire." My protagonist is a loyalist and great believer he's the good guy right up until they're defeated at their Battle of Endor equivalent--which results in him having to cope with not only the fact was his side the losers but people HATED THEM. Worse, he also has to deal with the fact they were against his own morals once the truth comes out about his activities.

    I owe the EU a lot for making me think about subjects like this.

    Of course, I don't paint the New Republic equivalent with a very rosy brush in my book either.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 17, 2017
  2. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    You don't need the internet for that. If you lack the nerve to think for yourself you won't get anywhere near a history book, though, in such a culture as you describe it'll likely have been banned for fear of corrupting people or some such nonsense.

    If nothing else, the Irving Trial should have made the case about what historical study is and isn't.


    You realise your post reads as bad conspiracy theory? Nor is it anywhere near an accurate summary of what I posted.
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Jun 17, 2017
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  3. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Speaking as a Master of History, history is written by the winners...in their home nation. However, unlike in Star Wars, very rarely is the total destruction of a culture the end result of war. As such, the losers very much will write their own version of history.

    For instance, there's this place called the American South where the losers wrote a VERY thorough history which was complete bantha poodoo.
    The_Forgotten_Jedi and Jedi Ben like this.
  4. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    The NR is not the democratic freedom fighter the scrawls would have you believe.

    They have better snubfighters
    They have better capital ships without obvious known vulnerabilities and are pretty modern by standard, unlike ISD which is a old design.
    Their foot soldiers have better aim (better training )
    Their leaders on rich people (Senators and Princesses) of entire planets
    All in all they are better funded.
    See rogue one where most 'leaders' wanted to run. Their belief in the cause is almost zero. It's all about money.
  5. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    In fact, the classes I took to get my Master of History included many based on Nazi propaganda. One of the things which was discussed was the fact the majority of propganda on the American side and from the view of the people actually in charge was the fact they thought this was going to be a Gray and Gray war between expansionist military leaders vs. those resisting them.
    The stories about Nazi atrocities were thought to be outliers and the idea it was something that was actual regular state policy and the dictator of Germany being every bit as crazy as his worst critics claimed with ludicrous racial beliefs (common as they were), a desire to murder everyone who resisted/failed to meet his criteria, and paranoia assisted by drug addiction was assumed to be exaggeration.

    The Exception is a recent film which discusses this.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exception

    While overly romantic and unrealistic, the main conflict is the fact the protagonist is a Nazi soldier who thinks the reports he's heard about Nazi atrocities are exceptions and things that happen in wartime while a Jewish spy says, "No, you're the exception." He then realizes he cannot stay in the Nazis unless he toes the line and is torn between loyalty vs. his conscience. The irony being loyalty is what he considers the greater good.
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  6. godisawesome Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2010
    star 3
    Approaching both this situation and other similar ones, the answer I can find is "context matters."

    In the scene with the Roan Loyalist vs the "Imperial" Loyalist, the answer would seem to be *no*. In the case of Ciena, Tank, and other Imperial witnesses and personnel attached to weapons like the Death Star, but outside of its command and not directly tied to its usage, is "maybe?"

    Legally and philosophically, most governments and schools of thought have accepted that a) soldiers, in most situations *should* follow orders, and yet b) soldiers should know what orders *not* to follow.

    As @anakinfansince1983 pointed out, sentience and reasoning skills serve a purpose. So does loyalty. If a soldier is in a situation where they can only see grey morality on all sides, and if that's a *reasoned* answer using your intelligence and available information, then yes, LOYALTY can justify service to a regime. Not loyalty alone, mind you, but loyalty as a facet of decision making. The Krayt servant in the Legacy example is in the wrong, though Sinde is exposing that the "loyalty" heavy language of the Fel Empire probably contributed to this evil.

    -Order the Death Star/SKB to fire or order genocide? Pure evil, and full responsibility for that choice.
    -Directly carrying out those orders, with even an inkling of the context of the action? Pure evil, full responsibility.
    -Indirectly carrying out those orders, while still aware of the context? *Maybe" not evil, but still responsible.
    -Indirectly carrying out those orders, but with enough brainwashing and propaganda to skew your view? Likely responsible, but possibly able to argue out of it.
    -Attached to those orders via logistics, like Ciena, with enough evidence to counter the justification, but still surrounded by propaganda and enforcement? Very much a matter of debate.

    IRL, the soldiers of despotic regimes have often payed some penalty for horrible actions, but generally in a manner proportionate to the level of awareness and responsibility they played in it. Wehrmacht soldiers, by and large, we're not held responsible for the holocaust unless they were proven to have been involved. Political leadership of the Nazis, and other such governments and regimes, likewise payed a penalty often dependent on how aware they were of atrocities and their corresponding reactions to it. If you're mentally incompetent and uninvolved in the worst excesses? You may be judged in need of help and incarceration. If you're competent but able to portray yourself as only indirectly attached to atrocity, taking actions to indirectly stop it, and cooperate with authorities while appearing contrite? You may serve time but escape the hangman.
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  7. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Alderaan may be the exception (we have no weapons)

    What do you all think of SKB destroying Hosnian Prime? Sure there is civilian on planet, but there is guaranteed to be military garrison, shipyards, military depot and everything else military related. Shouldn't Hosnian Prime be destroyed?

    IRL example. Let's say in time of war the enemy military took over a school full of children and use it as human shileld/crossfire heavy point. (Like 100 soldiers and 50 students) in the building. Your army comes in and the only way to your destination was through the highway by the high school. What do you do?
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  8. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    We have the term "Collateral Damage" for a reason.

    Hosnian Prime was where the New Republic parked its entire fleet. It was equivalent to blowing up Washington D.C. and the Norfolk Shipyards. That's to me a difference from Alderaan.

    However, the difference is still mass murder for the propping up of a military dictatorship.
  9. Ulicus Lit'ari

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    Let us ask the expert:



    Vote: Yes.
  10. MercenaryAce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2005
    star 5
    As a historian, I can say that phrase is something of a personal annoyance. It is so much more complicated than that...particularly if one counts "winners" solely by military victories. Plenty of sides have won wars only to be blasted in the historical narrative.
  11. Darth Invictus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2016
    star 4
    You could argue the rebel alliance is simply the cynical project of disgruntled aristocrats and warrior monks.
  12. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    Going back to the specific example cited in the OP, the situation in Legacy is . . . a bit muddled by a sci-fi convention known as "Klingon Promotion", aka "If you kill the boss, you get his job, and everyone is fine with it."

    Those serving under Krayt's Empire can declare "Our loyalty is to a throne, not a man!" until they're blue in the face, but it doesn't change the fact that Krayt only became "the new Emperor" by stealing power after attempting to assassinate the old one. (And it's not like there's a cover up of some kind, everyone seems to know about it). Sure, many of them point out that the Moffs support Krayt in an attempt to justify their decision, but unless there's a part of the Imperial Constitution that says "whoever kills the old Emperor gets to become the new one", or they're all secret Klingons (or Mandalorians I guess), there is no reason they should consider Krayt a legitimate ruler.

    It would be one thing if Krayt had some blood relation to the Fels giving him a potential claim, or if some people thought Krayt would be a better ruler, or they were just too afraid to oppose him. But characters call him their "lawful superior" and talk about their "duty" to the man who waltzed in out of nowhere and tried to stab the old leader to death like they actually believe it! Legacy usually does an excellent job of examining duty vs loyalty, but the "only in a Sci Fi or Fantasty world" trope of "Klingon promotion" kind of undermines their point, as it relies on characters being idiots.
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  13. Contessa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2013
    star 3
    Nope.

    I mean, I could give you a longer answer about how blind loyalty to terrible people only ever leads to atrocity, but...really, that about covers it.
    Last edited by Contessa, Jun 17, 2017
  14. Darth Invictus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2016
    star 4
    Well Krayt told the moffs flat out "obey me or end up rotting in the gutter" the moffs obeyed.

    Though you are right-Krayt is a usurper he didn't get the title legally he got it through a coup carried out by his own forces and traitors within the empire.
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  15. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    I don't believe for a second that if legacy were realistic the moffs would survive after Krayt take over.
    For one thing, Krayt should not believe their loyalty however much they profess it. Because they are from the ancien regime. The old guard. If Krayt believes their loyalty, it only make Krayt stupid.

    Blood relationship only matters if one were to trying to establish a unbroken dynasty (like Japan). Otherwise, no blood relationship is needed. It's just a new dynasty.

    The argument we are working for the throne instead of the man doesn't really work in legacy. Roan isn't dead. Marasiah isn't dead. So at the most it's civil war, with Krayt's followers opportunist/unsatisfied partiers. Realistcally it's a hostile takeover by a foreign party.
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  16. SpecForce Trooper Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2016
    star 4
    If Krayt killed the Moff High Council He would lose the civil war. Without the Moffs there would be no legitimacy to Krayt's government. Roan Fel himself put it best: "But so long as I'm loose and allegiances are split, Krayt will need you. Both of you [Nyna and Morlish].".
    Last edited by SpecForce Trooper, Jun 17, 2017
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  17. Darth Invictus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2016
    star 4
    The moffs were key to securing the loyalty of the imperial fleets and armies. Sure Krayt could have slaughtered the moffs wholesale but then just abut 80% of the imperial armed forces would mutiny and he would have no legitimacy.
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  18. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    hence Krayt's throne isn't that stable.
    It's totally unrealistic that the moffs would support him. To get a dynasty going he need new moffs.
    If anyone want to grab a throne he need his own army. You can't win war with your opponent's army which for some reason just defected to your side. Not without extensive reeducation (for the lack of a better word).

    To rebuttal specforce trooper somewhat, you should never try legitimacy as a sold rockstone to base your claim. You have your claim by violence and sweat and blood. (In SW, not in modern real life) In SW, no one cares, or should care about legitimacy. What the masses of SW cares/or should care is food on the table. Who reigns doesn't/should not be a concern.

    Furthermore, the existence of the high moff shoud means one of two things.
    1) The Emperor is just a figure head.
    2) The Moffs serve at the pleasure of the Emperor Roan Fel.

    Any one of the two should mean the military would never follow Krayt.
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 17, 2017
  19. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Then NO Imperials would side with Krayt. I assumed the Empire sided with them because their loyalty was to the Moff Council not a decaying lineage of spoonbenders. :)

    The Empire's true power in the Grand Moffs sided with the Sith and every Imperial knows the throne is a figurehead to the true heart of those who fought side by side with them.

    YAGE FOR EMPEROR.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 17, 2017
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  20. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    But if the Emperor is a figure head why should they follow Krayt? Krayt obviously tried to kill Roan Fel and Marasiah. But they are just figureheads.
    By threat of Force? Krayt should know better about trusting people who only follows him out of fear.
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  21. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    One of the things which the comics never really got into was the fact there seems to be a serious issue about Roan Fel's legitimacy as ruler. From the outside, to us fans, this is clearly nonsense because there's no reason that Roan Fel should be considered illegitimate. He's the heir with no other candidates, he was successful in his Victory Without War campaign, and by all accounts he was only a bad ruler in the context of being TOO Imperial.

    However, the comics continually hammer home that only a minority of Imperial soldiers actually want to follow him. Darth Krayt is able to perform a coup against him which all of the Imperials but those able to be gathered at Bastion choose to recognize as a legitimate transition of power. We make the joke of Necromongers, "You keep what you kill." Because it looks that way.

    If there's an actual realism, it seems that the Empire's military sided with Grand Admiral Veed and Grand Admiral Yage who are both individuals that seem to have been the real power in the Empire. Grand Moff Calixte also noticeably sided with Krayt. Plenty of real life military individuals have sided with their generals and admirals over the civilian government but Krayt is an outsider.
    Thus, the Moffs have to be why they sided with him unless the Sith were inexplicably popular during the war against the Galactic Alliance.

    Still, I think a lot of fans had the weird idea that Fel was more popular than he was as I've even heard the RIDICULOUS argument the majority of Imperials were loyal to Fel and the Krayt Empire was composed of Ex-Galactic Alliance members--which is lunacy.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 17, 2017
  22. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    One thing to note, also is institutional loyalty vs. cultural loyalty vs. personal loyalty.

    1. The Galactic Empire, canon or EU, has institutional loyalty. As far as the people of the galaxy are concerned, the Galactic Empire is a reformed and better Old Republic. The older officers and individuals in the government are the people who think of it as the inheritor of the Republic's glory while the younger consider the Old Republic to have failed. They're the people who see a New Order which will bring peace and justice throughout the universe. Indeed, the older members of the Galactic Alliance have turned against the Empire because of either knowing Palpatine was a Sith Lord (Bail Organa) or the fact he's moved the Empire increasingly away from the Republic into something new. The institutional loyalty only becomes split when Palpatine dissolves the Senate permanently.

    2. The First Order, by contrast, has CULTURAL loyalty. The First Order's members are all in their twenties to early thirties and it's very much implied the reason Hux Senior was so important to Rax and then Sloane & Snoke's plan is because they're artificially creating this over the course of a single generation. The First Order's troops aren't people who view "Imperialism" as a government to be loyal to. No, Imperialism is a WAY OF LIFE. They are Imperials because it is their culture and they're the sort of people who believe in stormtroopers not as soldiers but as an entire caste. This is much harder to destroy than the Galactic Empire because it has become not a group but a PEOPLE. The First Order are, ironically, more like the Death Watch from the Mandalorians than they are Old timey Imperials.

    3. Palpatine, at least during the Republic and many other people also had a cult of personality around himself as well. Many people who cared nothing about the institution of the Empire or the culture of it worshiped him personally. Which leads to the oddity of Kylo Ren worshiping his grandfather as a literal ancestor spirit whereas he's the assassin of Palpatine. Thrawn's issue with the Noghri is he never wrapped his mind around the fact they have NO loyalty to the Empire but MUCH loyalty to Vader. Darth Revan did something similar with the military of the Old Republic during the Mandalorian wars.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 17, 2017
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  23. J7Luke Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2017
    star 1
    In my opinion, no one should ever be more loyal to a government, leader, etc. than to their own moral code/virtues. Therefore, if a regime you are "loyal" to is as a whole acting in opposition to your core beliefs, then it would be more disloyal to betray your beliefs than your government. Anyone who is more loyal to an evil regime than to their own moral code is either a coward or incapable of independent thinking.
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  24. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Mind you, you may realize your own moral compass isn't as well developed as the group's. Luke put his faith in the Jedi Code over his own need for revenge and, ironically, became better than the people who taught him it.
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  25. J7Luke Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2017
    star 1
    True, but the question is if loyalty justifies serving an evil regime. So my statement is under the assumption that it is obvious that the regime which you are "loyal" to is not acting morally or in any other way for the benefit of others.
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