Lit How could the Empire have changed for the better?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Alixen, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. Alixen Force Ghost

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    Aug 7, 2003
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    ...I think something really is wrong with my worldview. :p

    I just can't help but see, in light of the later EU, the Empire losing as one of the worst thing to happen to the galaxy, and the Empire rising again as potentially one of the best. Aside from the racism, and definitely the Sith, the Empire actually did seem to offer a greater stability and structure to the galaxy than the Republic.

    I see their various 'evil' actions as played up, due to the main characters and 'good guys' being the Rebels. However, the Empire as it was in the films was controlled by an evil being, and aside from that there were a few moments that showed the brutality. Its mostly the EU that turned the various Moffs and Grand Admirals into saturday morning cartoon villains, and cemented the Empire as a whole as evil.

    The biggest problem of the Empire were the Sith, or the Emperor to be more acurate, and the people he gave power. I think with less psychotic and more moderate leadership, the Empire had a chance to be a very good thing for the galaxy. It certainly would have stopped the Vong in their tracks, and many of the threats in the post-RotJ era wouldn't have existed, because they were generally about fighting the Empire.

    Anyone else share these thoughts? Or more fitting the title of the thread, what would it have taken for the Empire to simply settle into being a stable one, with a lack of evil or demented people in charge? Did it ever even have a chance?

    The Fel Empire seems to be very much this, until the Sith get hold of it again.
  2. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Jul 30, 2000
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    Well, okay.

    The Empire could have changed for the better by being a representative democracy with a respect toward the rights of sapience as defined by a Constitution, Legal System, and Executive Branch with term limits.

    Oh and Jedi.

    I'm not doing this right, am I?
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Sep 29, 2013
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  3. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

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    Well, removing willful genocide would be a start...
  4. DarthJenari Force Ghost

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    Removal of Palpatine as Emperor. Oh wait....
  5. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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  6. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    At heart, I believe the Empire was a flawed government and based on the same dumb principles which have happened repeatedly in history. Basically, that if you install a figure with unlimited power at the center it will be corrupt. However, that doesn't mean the Empire didn't have some good points to it which would have solved 90% of the Old Republic's problems.

    1. An army for the Republic to supplement the Jedi.
    2. No corporate representation in the Senate.
    3. A stronger executive without being a dictatorship.

    The Old-Old Republic was much better than the Prequel one.
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  7. JediAlly Force Ghost

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    Mara Jade had thoughts along these lines in Survivor's Quest. She acknowledged that among the leadership of the Empire, Thrawn was the most noble. She imagined an Empire under his command - one that had all the strengths of the Empire and none of the evil and corruption. We see something along those line in the Empire of the Hand.

    I might be wrong, but reading between the lines, I think Jorj Car'das had a similar opinion in Choices of One. He admitted that he didn't like the evil that was present in the Empire, but in his opinion, he'd rather have the order and stability the Empire presented over the chaos that plagued the final years of the Republic.
  8. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Thrawn, noble? You mean the guy who wanted to give infants to a madman in order to warp into his playthings? Yeah, real nice guy there.

    I'm rather curious at what sort of strengths a Thrawn-led realm would have, precisely? The strengths of ego and hypocrisy? Or perhaps just massive ineptitude? The guy failed at everything he ever set out to do, although I admire his ability to convince everyone that he was this legendary mastermind who never set a foot wrong. The guy was a good battlefield commander, but beyond that he was just an overconfident fool -- much like the Emperor's other servants, really. He was too full of himself to realize that he was just a pawn, though he imagined himself a chessmaster.

    How does that follow, exactly? 'cause you know, the Old Republic was corrupt as hell even when it had a powerless chancellor named Valorum. I'm not really capturing the political theory you're trying to highlight here.
  9. Alixen Force Ghost

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    That's really the issue.


    The Republic was deeply flawed too, even if it lasted for millenia. Longevity is not a moral measure. Corruption is rife and it is effectively owned by the banks and corperations, as you note. You know, just like our real life democracies, that even now seem to be failing as the Republic did. I really wonder is people are looking at the same entities when they use our world as a measuring stick. The financial crisis and steady corruption of the western worlds 'democracies' doesn't have a happy ending from where I am sitting; already a great many freedoms are gone in the name of security, and peace. Rome didn't fall in a day, but it lasted longer. I'll stay away from RL politics, as thats a wearying and volatile area.

    Basically, my stance is the Republic was no better. Atrocities still go on, planets like Tatooine still exist, and so on. As a governing body, the Empire was very, very strong, and it was the leadership that let it down, as it does with most dictatorships, as you note.
  10. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Fascism is literally the governments and corporations working hand in pocket so as a die-hard anti-fascist, I definitely oppose the strengthening of corporate power at the expense of state-based power. Democracies, however, are the defense against the nightmarish tyrannies of dictatorships and monarchies. The only difference between corporate corruption and dictatorship is that the latter is concentrated in one individual as opposed to a major body--and usually have much easier times inflicting their horrors at the expense of the common man.

    Defeating bank and corporate corruption is a matter which needs to be ardently pursued by the voter at large. In a very real way, I think the lesson of the Prequels was that the Corporate Corruption of the Old Republic made the Empire appealing. The public, represented by the Senate ironically, believed that there was an "easy solution" to their problems and that Palpatine could solve it like a magic wand.

    "To thunderous applause" they ushered in a Reign of Terror. Corruption by the rich elite is nothing new but Palpatine was no better than Robspierre and Napoleon only looked good by comparison. Even then, his monarchy ultimately amounted to overextended military gains which collapsed his empire on itself. The Empire represents the idea that there are no easy answers and while the Republic was a golden age, it was preferrable to the alternative.

    My .02.
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  11. DarthJenari Force Ghost

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    The Old Republic, Before the Ruusan Reformation Era Old Republic, has generally been portrayed as strong and stable. Should also be noted that unlike its PT Counterpart, it always had an army to fall back on as well. Though another thing to note, that people tend to forget, is that all the corruption the PT Republic was plagued with, was fostered by a thousand years of Sith Lords working to undermine it behind the scenes. It was corrupt to be sure, but you can't act as if that corruption came from nowhere.
  12. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Yeah, the Prequel Era didn't have much in the way of Unions or Pro-Worker movements. There was no way to limit Corporate Power.
  13. purplerain Force Ghost

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    Sep 14, 2013
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    Actually, you're doing it perfectly right.
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Not quite. I often see this claim made, and it's a conflation of many different things that are going on. Fascism regimes tend to be two things: totalitarian and corporatist. What does that mean?

    Totalitarian means the state controls almost every aspect of a person's life. It's the scale of the balance turned allllll the way to the government, with a general absence of negative freedoms (that is, freedoms which are defined by a prohibition on the government from doing something to the individual: such as freedom from arbitrary arrest).

    Corporatist is a little different. Instead of a scale balanced between governmental power and individual freedom, it's a scale between society as a whole and individuals. In a corporatist system, the scale is shifted towards society but not all the way to the end as you might find in a collectivist system. Corporate is a term that refers to the "body politic" not to corporations, though both have the same Latin root.

    Generally though, businesses have a strong association with fascist states? Why? Well, first: the state wants to control everything. Generally it will do so by nationalizing private industry. However, fascists are only concerned with increasing the power of the state and don't have anything personally against private industry, so they'll often accept pragmatic relationships where business has a close working relationship with the state and the leaders of those businesses are given governmental posts.

    So the dichotomy you pose isn't really there -- it's the strengthening of state power in all instances, it's just that in some cases corporations are closely wedded to the state.

    This is different in kind to the goals of, say, the CIS -- who wanted businesses to get such a free hand that they were treated as sovereign entities in themselves (basically the next logical step behind functional constituencies). Thus, the plotline in TCW where Palpatine degulates the private sector is pretty stupid because it's what the CIS wants and not what Palpatine the dictator wants because it actually reduces state power. But they were too busy making Palpatine into a Space Republican to care.

    Democracies, however, are the defense against the nightmarish tyrannies of dictatorships and monarchies.


    Nightmarish tyranny of monarchies? What, are you a cartoon character? D'you suppose half of Europe is languishing under tyranny right now?

    The only difference between corporate corruption and dictatorship is that the latter is concentrated in one individual as opposed to a major body--and usually have much easier times inflicting their horrors at the expense of the common man.


    uh, I'm sorry if this is a rude question, but do you know what the word corruption means? Because I'm kind of concerned that you don't.

    In a very real way, I think the lesson of the Prequels was that the Corporate Corruption of the Old Republic made the Empire appealing. The public, represented by the Senate ironically, believed that there was an "easy solution" to their problems and that Palpatine could solve it like a magic wand.


    Well, question time: do you think he couldn't have? I'm fairly certain that if he'd wanted to, he could have fixed everything with a magic wand. It's just that, you know, he had other goals in mind.

    Like eating your soul.

    Even then, his monarchy ultimately amounted to overextended military gains which collapsed his empire on itself.


    ????? Are you talking about a fanfiction you just wrote, because Imperial territorial conquest was pretty early in the Empire's lifespan and I'm pretty sure that's not the reason the Empire collapsed. The Empire started off with the known galaxy, y'know.
  15. Bib Fartuna Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 4, 2012
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    Hypothetical.

    Let's say that the Galactic Empire was restructured, becoming similar to the Holy Roman Empire. In the death or abdication of the Emperor, who should qualify as Prince Elector's?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_elector

    1. Moffs?
    2. Grand Moffs?
    3. Governors?
    4. Senators?
    Or, should the Empire have been a hereditary monarchy, with Ederlathh Pallopides waiting in the wings?
    Which model would have suited the Empire better? Hereditary Monarchy, or Elected Monarchy?
    Last edited by Bib Fartuna, Sep 29, 2013
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  16. Sandtrooper92 Jedi Knight

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    Jul 31, 2013
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    Empires exploit minorities/colonies as a rule. Mix that with aThird Reich-like empire and that is about all I need to know.

    Stability my ass. That is what the French said in Vietnam. Empires are about ego, vanity and power.

    Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2
  17. Bib Fartuna Jedi Grand Master

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    This may be seen as politically incorrect, however, I believe that India greatly benefitted from the British Empire.
  18. Bib Fartuna Jedi Grand Master

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    Techno Union?

    (In hindsight, that sounds more like a real life dance club!)
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  19. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Nope.

    You realize that colonialism is not really the best example? Colonial empires were empires by analogy -- at best a tertiary derivative definition of the term empire. The original definition was: the Roman Empire or a state claiming its authority. The second definition was: a state ruled by an emperor, a title formerly identified with the first definition but now meaning a monarch with a higher dignity than a king. The third definition was: a state which extended power over other states or peoples, or a polity with a privileged core and a subordinated periphery.

    The Galactic Empire is the second definition -- it's just the Galactic Republic with a monarch on top. French Indochina is completely inapposite.

    Star Wars is no stranger to monarchies, and is generally supportive of them, in fact. It is not a defensible claim to say that a monarchy is exploitative as a rule -- we don't even have to go to history for that, since canon itself rejects that theory. C19's ridiculous assertion that all monarchies are tyrannical is fanfiction.

    Now, you were doing better with the Third Reich comparison. The Galactic Empire unquestionably is modeled in part on Nazi Germany, and the Nazis were unquestionably evil. But you see, given that the central premise of this thread is how could the Empire have changed for the better, it would seem natural that excising the totalitarian bits from it would change it for the better. The notion that it was impossible to better because empires are exploitative as a rule is... not the best one.

    Boy, you're really asking for it with that one, are you?

    Because I'm gallant, I'll answer on behalf of the anti-imperialists here: modernization was not the primary goal of British imperialism, and it is tendentious as a claim besides because it carries with it the implication that India benefitted more than it suffered. It's rather foolish to try to weigh the balance here, but it's worth noting that: I. Britain wasn't imperialist out of the goodness of its heart and II. those imperialists who did want to "civilize" the colonies were pretty racist themselves.

    So I'd shy away from the claim that the British Empire benefitted its colonial subjects. It's really, really not the best argument to be making.
  20. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

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    But advocating for a genocidal regime while pretending to be a character is totally kosher.
  21. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    You'll note that the character to which you refer has always been condemnatory of genocide, as well as genocidal maniacs such as Wilhuff Tarkin and Andrew Jackson. This is different from, say, arguing that the move to Oklahoma benefitted the Cherokee.


    It's also different in that, you know, the Cherokee are real, -- but I suspect you're fully aware of the difference, Darth_Zandalor.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Sep 29, 2013
  22. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Contemplating how the Empire could have changed for the better should focus on those things that it did well and that were different from what the Republic did. It's not an especially long list, but there are some key points.

    1. Direct Regional Control - the Empire, oddly, was highly federalized, though admittedly it took some time for this policy to be implemented and in many regions direct territorial governance did not come into place until after Palpatine's death, but the principle remains sound. The idea of breaking up the galaxy into ~1000 miniature Empires each run by a nominally sovereign individual, in this case a Moff, rather than a powerful centralized policy-making democratic body is possibly a better method for running something on the incredibly immense scale of the GFFA. While it would probably ultimately be better to have democratically appointed heads of this sector states, a major reform would have been the appointment of Moffs by someone other than a horribly evil Sith lord. This, of course, actually happened, with the Empire reforming gradually as the senior leadership became more and more distant from Palpatine's influence following his death.

    2. Centralized Military - the ultimate function of the galactic government in a society such as Star Wars is to enforce universal rights and uphold the rule of law in all that vast empty space and among the countless uncharted and dependent colonies in between the inhabited systems (which are largely capable of self-governance for the balance of their affairs). The Old Republic's approach to justice was rather like the present day UN's it had to beg for forces from its member worlds and then get agreement from regional authority to move them around. The Empire rejected this, instituting a strong, highly centralized military that was determined to foster a high degree of spirit-de-corps and loyalty to the ideals of the central authority. It was far more effective at actual peacekeeping, to the point that the New Republic ultimately retained the same essential model.

    The Imperial Remnant effectively retained these two points and more or less divested itself of all other traits associated with the Empire under Palpatine, such as Human High Culture, COMPNOR, and other social control mechanisms. What was left was essentially an authoritarian military dictatorship. Now, whether that setup would have been sufficient to maintain social stability given a larger portion of the galaxy's territory, and greater alien diversity, is questionable.

    If it could, however, it is possible to make a case that because the Star Wars galaxy is simply so massive, that a military dictatorship, being a highly streamlined form of governance, is simply the best you can do at that scale, and representative democracy is simply too unwieldy to function. After all, how can one person possibly serve as the executive to truly represent 100 quadrillion beings representing several million sentient species?
  23. Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master

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    Aug 25, 2013
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    As a point of reference, did the Empire got "better" after the peace treaty with the New Republic, with Pellaeon in control, when it was the Imperial Remnant?

    The EU treats Pellaeon mostly as a good guy, or "honorable enemy" at worst, but do the books ever show us if the structure of the Empire changes under him? E.G. does he reduce discrimination against aliens, does he allow Imperial citizens more freedoms, stuff like that...
  24. Bib Fartuna Jedi Grand Master

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    Old boy, the result of the worlds largest Parliamentary Democracy, surely justifies the means! ;)

    PS: And their trains always run on time! :)
  25. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Mech: I know you're trying to find things to praise about the Empire, but I actually think point #1 is inaccurate. The Galactic Senate never ruled member states -- everyone was pretty much self-governing, the Republic just set pan-galactic policy. It certainly didn't administer the galaxy from Coruscant. In fact, a centralized bureaucracy was the Imperial innovation (granted, this was largely the outgrowth of the Republican bureaucracy, but that was a lot more limited). But sources make it clear that Imperial sectoral government wasn't a full-scale administration either. Most of the time -- aside from sectors of the Rim under direct military control -- the moff's job was just to ensure that local governments behaved, and that's really it.

    Whether a world had a democratic, hereditary, or appointed head of state wasn't the Empire's concern. It's whether they behaved and paid taxes that was.

    I'd also argue that the Imperial Remnant was worse than the First Empire, because the latter rested on broad popular support and legitimacy. The former is just another tinpot dictatorship. What virtues did it really have? It's unabashedly social Darwinist in philosophy, dictatorial and militaristic, etc. It kept the social control mechanisms! It just removed the Party apparatus of COMPNOR and replaced it with guys in uniform, instead. They're still fascists -- in fact, now they're pure, distilled fascists. People always talk about the Remnant as being the Empire with all the bad stuff removed... I'm really not convinced, because it feels a lot more like the Empire with nothing but the bad stuff left.

    I'd rather take the New Republic than the Imperial Remnant. Yeah, you heard that right.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Sep 29, 2013
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