CT How evil was the Galactic Empire?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Barkey Foreman, Apr 5, 2014.

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  1. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    In Darth Plagueis, very early on in Palpatine's training, his mentor comments on him having "the bloodlust of a serial killer" - something he'll need to restrain.
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  2. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I just find the whole premise for the Empire's very existence to be pretty darned evil. Orchestrating a faux war in which countless die unnecessarily in order to hoodwink the society into elevating you to a position of ultimate power out of fabricated terror, is pretty darned unpleasant if you asked me. Sidious and Vader ran their empire with full knowledge of this fact.
  3. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

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    ^^Fear was the driving force of the Empire from day one, absolutely. This is the element that Tarkin used to full effect.
    Last edited by Mr. K, Apr 13, 2014
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  4. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    Yeah, but in the first instance, fear of essentially a non-existent enemy. The level of manipulation involved there, and the cost of it, was pretty evil I would've thought.
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  5. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

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    The motives of the Leader were wrong. Some actions of the Empire membership were wrong. It doesn't mean the whole Empire and every being under it's flag were Evil. Tarkin wasn't. Gilad wasn't. Even Sids wasn't. They're all pawns that made bad choices it doesn't make the people evil.
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  6. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

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    Power of propaganda. It's almost a form of mass-brainwashing. EVIL, indeed.
    Tarkin destroyed an entire planet just as a display of power.
    Last edited by Mr. K, Apr 13, 2014
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  7. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I agree that not everyone under the flag was evil. The majority of the population were probably, as usual, ambivalent until they were affected directly. I think, however, that you could probably argue that anyone's motives are strong or justified on some level, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the means they employed to achieve them weren't evil.
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  8. Palpatine's P.A. Jedi Master

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    Palpatine might be "evil" but at least he never seems to practice cruelty for the sake of it, nor does the Empire, not on screen anyway. It could be argued even that the Empire is successful in bringing order and relative peace until the rebels ruin it all. But democracy is a very important thing to most people and the chance to vote for their leader. Who knows, maybe if there were still elections the emperor was popular enough to win legitimately.
    Last edited by Palpatine's P.A., Apr 13, 2014
  9. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    Tyrants and dictators often seem to cite efficiency and order as positives of their rule. As to the vote, I'm not sure how Sidious' election could ever be considered legitimate when the reason for his being there in the first place is based entirely of a false premise.
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  10. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

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    Mr K: So? I don't say the act wasn't evil but I likewise won't condemn the man. There's a huge difference.
  11. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

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    And it is never stated (to my knowledge) that the people don't get to vote for their local senators/governors. As for the destruction of Alderaan, the Empire was threatened. Tarkin knew the Alderaanians were friendly with the Rebels. Destroying the planet, while killing millions, may have saved billions in turn. Granted, the Alderaanians had no weapons, but the act of one member doesn't make the entire faction of trillions evil.
  12. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

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    I'm sure you'd be singing a different tune if you were an innocent bystander on Alderaan.

    Oh, wait. You wouldn't. You would be dead, the victim of a politically-motivated genocide ordered by Governor Tarkin.


    This is an incredibly specious argument. You could justify almost any vile act using this logic. It's the same logic the 9/11 hijackers used when they murdered thousands of men, women, and children in their personal war against America.

    And it's pretty much a given that the destruction of Alderaan killed way more innocent bystanders than it did actual combatants and collaborators, by many orders of magnitude.
    Last edited by The_Phantom_Calamari, Apr 13, 2014
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  13. Tornado Wrangler Jedi Master

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    Okay, how has no one brought this up yet:



    So before the movie even starts, we know two things to be true:
    - The Galactic Empire is Evil
    - The galaxy's citizens are not free

    Therefore, it is not necessary for the movie to show the Empire doing evil things: it told us they do. We do not have to see that people do not have rights and freedoms, we know they do not because that's the set-up for the movie.

    Also: of course the Empire brought peace and order. That is the point of authoritarian governments. No one would disagree with that argument.

    The overthrow of dictatorships is about rights and freedoms, not peace and order. We can debate all day about which is better, but in the end, until there is a balance between the two, there will be a cycle between revolution and rebellion. When things get too chaotic, freedoms are revoked and authoritarian governments take hold to provide peace and security. Once peace is established, people want their rights and freedoms back, and if they are not given, there is rebellion.

    So there must be an imbalance between order and freedom. Otherwise, why would there be a rebellion? People wouldn't leave their families and homes to die if they were already able to do the things they wanted. Sure, they probably did elect there own local leaders and had local rights and freedoms. But, when a Star Destroyer showed up in orbit or a Regional Governor decreed a new law, what they said went. Look at what Luke said: "It's not that I like the Empire, I hate it . . ." Now why would Luke, just a farm boy, hate the Empire, unless he had heard some stories or perhaps it had even affected him?

    Last thing: If your "at least" defense for someone is that they weren't cruel for the sake of it, that's a pretty damn low bar.
    Last edited by Tornado Wrangler, Apr 13, 2014
  14. Tornado Wrangler Jedi Master

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    People might get to vote for local leaders: but it would be safe to assume that Imperial laws and decrees take priority. For example, if the Empire shows up and demands 15% of the planet's copper output, your local president can't do anything about it.

    Tarkin destroyed Alderaan simply to demonstrate the destructive power of the Death Star and to get Leia to give them the location of the Rebel's hidden base. Once he got the location (he didn't know it was a lie), he still destroyed the planet. He said nothing about them being friendly to the rebels, nor are we told such. All he knew is that Liea, a member of the Imperial Senate who was from the planet of Alderaan, was involved.

    You might be off on your numbers: it would be safe to assume that Alderaan is populated by billions, not millions.

    Last thing: who do you mean when you say "faction of trillions"? The Empire was not controlled by trillions of people: probably only a few hundred.
    Last edited by Tornado Wrangler, Apr 13, 2014
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  15. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I'd say when it came to major decisions, not trillions, not hundreds, more like ... one. This is the Sith. The Rule of Two applies. One guy says how it's going to be. The other guy sees that it is. That's about where the consultation starts and ends.
    Last edited by MOC Yak Face, Apr 13, 2014
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  16. ezekiel22x Chosen One

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    Evil enough that they got what was coming to them when the Ewoks started handing out beat-downs. Keep that imperialistic crap off of Endor.
  17. WindowsX Jedi Padawan

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    Apr 12, 2014
    Not sure where to jump in, so I guess I'll just start with my opinions:

    - The First Galactic Empire, as proclaimed by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in 19 BBY, was evil because it was officially responsible for acts of evil.

    - Many of its top leaders, including Emperor Palpatine, Lord Vader, and Grand Moff Tarkin, were evil because they were personally responsible for acts of evil.

    - But this doesn't mean that everyone who is an Imperial official is evil. For example, many Imperial senators were likely connected to Palpatine in some way, but others were probably just skilled managers who wanted the best for their constituents. And what about Imperial firefighters? I'm sure they must have existed, and I'm sure that they were on the Imperial payroll. But I'm pretty sure they weren't evil.

    I guess you could break down Imperial officials into the following categories:
    - realised the Imperial leadership was evil and participated in evil acts
    - realised the Imperial leadership was evil, did not participate in evil acts, but did not take action against it
    - realised the Imperial leadership was evil, did not participate in evil acts, but did take action against it
    - did not realise that the Imperial leadership was evil, did not participate in evil acts, but did not take action against it
    etc

    Obviously, as both an Imperial senator and a rebel spy, Princess Leia would fall under the third category, but there are many categories overall, overlapping in different areas, so it's hard to tell. That's how it is in real life, too. For example, after France was liberated in WWII, some French people who had collaborated with the Germans were put in jail, even though they had helped the French resistance at the same time. (Obviously, their sentences were lighter than sentences for collaborators who didn't help the French resistance.)
  18. Tornado Wrangler Jedi Master

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    Right, but Palpatine wasn't personally overseeing everything. Tarkin was pretty much making his own decisions during ANH. In ESB, Vader did a lot of things without consulting. Sure, everyone answers to Palps, but he seems to allow his underlings some say in how they do things.

    Look people, i know a lot of connotation and emotion comes with the word "evil", but all it really means is "profoundly immoral."
    Last edited by Tornado Wrangler, Apr 13, 2014
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  19. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    It's quite common in the EU for there to be characters who participated in evil acts, but subsequently took action against the Empire - Juno Eclipse, Crix Madine, and so forth.
  20. Palpatine's P.A. Jedi Master

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    Yeah true, I dunno, I just like to stick up for the guy, people give him a hard time, and he's doing a difficult job.

    But seriously, obviously the Empire is capable of terrible acts: destroying an entire planet and all life on it isn't exactly a great record. But I find the use of the word "evil" slightly trite in itself. Evil is obviously a subjective concept. But in Star Wars, it seems evil is more black and white, from its use in the opening crawl that you mentioned, to when Obi Wan says "Chancellor Palpatine is evil" in Episode 3.

    We could get into quite philosophical debates about this, but for the purpose of the story, the Empire is, and represents, the basic concept of evil.
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  21. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    -Tarkin wasn't evil? What proof do you have that he wasn't evil? He ordered the destruction of Alderaan. How is that not evil? He didn't blink. He didn't flinch. He didn't care. He did it because he could. Leia even says afterwards, "And you call yourselves human."

    -Pelleaon? No, he wasn't evil. He just blindly served it because he was too indoctrinated in the belief that Palpatine's actions were justified. Just as he did with Thrawn who later enlisted an insane and evil clone of a Jedi Master who was already questionable to begin with, before he was cloned. He supported the kidnapping attempts of Leia, Jacen and Jaina.

    -Palpatine? The man was raised to be evil. He was a shadow. A Sith Lord. He's the reason the Force went out of balance. He thought he was doing right, but he wasn't. He knew that he was considered to be evil and he didn't mind that at all. The man created a war to kill his enemies and gain control.

    Not to mention that Lucas has long described Palpatine's rise hinging on using bribery, treachery and fear to get the votes necessary to become Chancellor. Read the intro to the ANH novelization, which is the only thing that Lucas himself wrote in that book. Only a corrupt politician will willing use illegal means to get themselves elected. That's why in democratic societies there are election commissions that verify that the candidates did everything by the book.

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  22. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

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    Sinister: You're welcome to your perceptions just as is everyone else. I simply do not see the Empire like most. No, I do not see Tarkin as evil. Some of his *actions* were but I take the 'don't judge lest ye be judged' line. Not my right to condemn *people*.
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  23. Lord_Anzeroth Force Ghost

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    I have to side with Cushing for this one Darth_Sinister. Just because we see one bad deed on scene that Tarkin committed, does not automatically make him evil.

    The only point of above that I agree with is the fact that Sidious created the Clone Wars to gain control.
    Being a Sith Lord does not automatically make you evil, nor bringing the Force out of balance, which by itself is huge debate.

    Palpatine actually did everything by the book. He did not use any kind of illegal means to attain his position and power. He merely played with the fear of the Republic Senate from the war he had orchestrated.

    [face_laugh] [face_rofl] This is really a good one!
  24. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    First, Tarkin isn't real. It's okay to judge a fictional character. That's what authors want you to do. Second, you're going to be judged by God no matter what you do or don't do when it comes to judging others. As to Tarkin, from the man himself.

    "Well, Tarkin was basically a small time politician who was a governor of a small Outland Region sector until he became one of the first supporters of Palpatine. As a result of his ties with Palpatine, Tarkin steadily moved up the "political ladder" during Palpatine's climb up the political ranks, which culminates in Palpatine becoming Emperor."

    --George Lucas, Lenoard Maltin interview, 1999


    He supported Palpatine because he agreed with him and he agreed because he knew who he was.

    It kinda does.

    Uh, it does.

    "He has a black irredeemable heart," McDiarmid says of Palpatine. "There's nothing that can be said about him that's good. When we first saw Vader in the original trilogy we thought he was the heart of darkness, and nobody could be darker. But now we understand what happened to him. And one of the exciting things about seeing this movie is that you can follow Vader through Anakin's journey every step of the way even if you don't agree with the choices he's making. In part his decisions stem from his traumatic childhood, and his impatient lust for power. And it's that which my character takes and then uses again him."

    "When you're playing a character of solid blackness, that in itself is very interesting, in the sense that you have no other motivation other than the accumulation of power," McDiarmid continues. "It's not so much about not having a moral center, it's just that the only thing that mattered is increasing power."


    --Ian McDirmaid, Homing Beacon interview, 2005.

    "The interesting thing about these movies is that they refer back to lots of cinematic influences," McDiarmid explains. "When my face changes in the film, my mind went back to the early silent movie of The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney. In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin makes a Faustian pact with the devil, and I do everything I can to use him as raw material in every sense to become the best apprentice yet."

    --Ian McDiramid, Homing Beacon interview, 2005.

    "One of the themes throughout the films is that the Sith Lords, when they started out thousands of years ago, embraced the Dark Side. They were greedy and self-centered and they all wanted to take over, so they killed each other."

    --George Lucas, Bill Moyers Time Magazine Interview; 1999.


    The Sith are the natural enemy of the Jedi. As George Lucas describes it, the Sith were once in control of the galaxy 1000 years in the past. Unfortunately, the Sith's hunger for conquest got the better of them-so many Sith lords were vying for ultimate control that it led to infighting among their ranks. Such internecine struggles were exploited by the Jedi Knights of the era, and they were able to turn the tide and defeat the Sith.

    --Star Wars Insider, issue 78; page 60


    Hence the Sith are evil, as is Palpatine. In regards to balance...

    "I think it is obvious that [Qui-Gon] was wrong in Episode I and made a dangerous decision, but ultimately this decision may be correct. The “phantom menace” refers to the force of the dark side of the universe. Anakin will be taken over by dark forces which in turn destroy the balance of the Galaxy, but the individual who kills the Emperor is Darth Vader—also Anakin. The tale meanders and both the prediction and Qui-Gon are correct—Anakin is the chosen one, and he did bring peace at last with his own sacrifice. Luke couldn't kill the Emperor himself, but he could make Anakin reflect on his life and kill the Emperor."

    --George Lucas, Cut Magazine interview, 1999


    "If good and evil are mixed things become blurred - there is nothing between good and evil, everything is gray. In each of us we to have balance these emotions, and in the Star Wars saga the most important point is balance, balance between everything. It is dangerous to lose this. In The Phantom Menace one of the Jedi Council already knows the balance of The Force is starting to slip, and will slip further. It is obvious to this person that The Sith are going to destroy this balance. On the other hand a prediction which is referred to states someone will replace the balance in the future. At the right time a balance may again be created, but presently it is being eroded by dark forces."

    --George Lucas, Time Magazine article, 2002


    "It's not that they can't see the Dark Side coming, it's just that the Dark Side begins to envelop everything. It's like walking into a fog. The Jedi's ability to see lessens as the Dark Side grows."

    --George Lucas


    "As evil begins to take over, it pushes the Force out of balance. It's easier to succumb to evil than it is to be a hero and try to work things through on the good side. Evil is inherently more powerful—it doesn't have the burden of worrying about other people. What Luke sees in Darth Vader at the end of ROTJ is something that I thought was worth understanding: the idea that Darth actually was a very good person. Except he's slightly more powerful than other people and when you get into that situation, your ability to do evil is much easier to come by."

    --George Lucas, AOTC DVD Commentary.

    "When you get down to where we are right now in the story, you basically get somebody who’s going to make a pact with the Devil, and it’s going to be a pact with the Devil that says, 'I want the power to save somebody from death. I want to be able to stop them from going to the river Styx, and I need to go to a god for that, but the gods won’t do it, so I’m going to go down to Hades and get the Dark Lord to allow me to have this power that will allow me to save the very person I want to hang on to.' You know, it’s Faust. So Anakin wants that power, and that is basically a bad thing. If you’re going to sell your soul to save somebody you love, that’s not a good thing. That’s as we say in the film, unnatural. You have to accept that natural course of life. Of all things. Death is obviously the biggest of them all. Not only death for yourself but death for the things you care about."

    --George Lucas, quoted in J. Windolf, “Star Wars: The Last Battle,” Vanity Fair, 2005


    That's balance to the Force.

    That's the illegal actions. He created a situation to gain a sympathetic vote, which coupled with his bribes and threats, got him what he wanted.
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  25. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 19, 2013
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    I forgot to say I absolutely despise the Rebellion. I am an Empire fan.

    Also, Alderaan's population is 2,000,000,000.

    Let's examine what you guys say is evil:

    Tarkin blowing up Alderaan: I can see your point, but the leader of that planet was one who had opposed Palpatine since the Old Republic. I agree it is somewhat evil, but an evil act does not make the perpetrator unequivocally evil.

    The Empire was ruled by a Sith who bribed his way through a corrupt government system. I really don't see this as evil. He doesn't hurt others just for the fun of it. Palpatine may be evil, but that doesn't make the Empire evil.
    The Empire prevented the Galaxy from having its freedom. Is there any evidence to support that people couldn't do what they want?

    If you want to disagree, that's fine. I'm not going to argue morals over a fictional universe.

    Also: Sorry if I sound mad. I don't want to offend anyone.
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