Saga Inconsistent Morality In Star Wars

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Narutakikun, Jul 25, 2013.

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  1. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    "Killing an enemy, no matter how evil, instead of letting them live, will be the path to the dark side. Unless you throw them down a reactor shaft, in which case it will do the exact opposite, and redeem you to the light side".

    "Slavery is wrong. Now let's get our slave army of clones together to stop it!"

    "Only a Sith deals in absolutes. Now get over here so I can slice your arms and legs off with my laser sword, then watch you burn alive in screaming agony while I deliver you a stern lecture - because that could in no way be considered an 'absolute' thing to do".

    "Stealing parts from Watto's junkyard would be so morally wrong that we can't even consider it, even though we have at least some credible reason to believe that thousands of Naboo may be dying while we sit here helpless on Tattooine instead of getting to Coruscant to plead for help. Defrauding him out of the parts by using the Force to cheat him at gambling, however, is perfectly acceptable".

    These are just some examples of what seems to be an extremely inconsistent moral system in the Star Wars universe. Does anyone else see this pattern, or is it just me? What other examples are there? Or am I just being picky, picky, picky?
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  2. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    Morality is applied by people. People are inconsistent. Just roll with it.
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  3. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2004
    star 4
    I must admit that I always found 'only a Sith deals in absolutes' to be a strange thing for a Jedi to say. The Sith seem to subscribe more to the 'whatever morality works in order to get the best outcome right now' approach, whereas the Jedi are more rigid and dogmatic about things.
  4. TX-20 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2013
    star 4
    Obi-Wan: Only a Sith deals in absolutes!
    Anakin: What you just said was an absolute.
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  5. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    Never mind the irony of the sentence itself; "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."

    *and just realised that @TX-20 has already pointed this out. Doh!
    Last edited by only one kenobi, Jul 26, 2013
  6. d_arblay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 4
    To put it in fairer context, he is also sacrificing himself to save the life of someone else in the process.

    The clones might not be slaves. We don't know for sure. They may have been free to choose a different life, even if the majority didn't. Even then, The Jedi never offer any opinion on slavery so there doesn't seem to be any contradiction, nor are we invited to believe the clones as entity are to be celebrated.

    "Only a Sith deals in absolutes" plural. A Jedi can hold this one absolute. ;) In all seriousness, it's a response to Anakin saying "you can't be opposed to me and also be my friend" which is the kind of black and white, unforgiving reasoning only a Sith should express. Obi-Wan is not expressing the same kind of ideology simply by acknowledging what is an accepted standard. But regardless, it's clumsily written, I grant you.

    He doesn't use the force to cheat Watto out of the parts (only to make sure Anakin is the slave Watto is willing to gamble). He merely uses Watto's love of gambling and overconfidence against him. It might not have been practically feasible to steal the parts and escape with the resources they had, even if they didn't deem it immoral (something they don't actually state). Worse still, it could have involved The Hutts had they been caught, which would have prolonged their delay and the suffering of the people on Naboo.
  7. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    I know this isn't necessarily the issue here but...in ANH old Ben never seems to have the idea that they should buy a ship to get to Alderaan. Amidala's Nubian vessel is obviously worth a fair amount...probably a great deal more than Luke's speeder. Old Ben seems certain that the money got from the sale of the speeder would be enough to buy them a ride to Alderaan. Would it not have made more sense for Qui-Gon to have bartered for a ride from Tatooine. And....he has Republic credits. While they may have limited (ie no) value on Tatooine itself, they can be used in the Republic. Doubtless some of the smugglers/freighters on Tatooine will have had dealings within the Republic.

    In summation, the whole 'need to get parts for ship' story element is inconsistent with expectancy/prior knowledge of existing Star Wars fans, from ANH.
  8. d_arblay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 4
    Obi-Wan knew where to go to find himself the kind of pilot he wanted. I guess Qui-Gon wasn't so familiar with Tatooine or as trusting of the locals. That said, he may have resorted to the plan you describe later on. I just don't think it occurred to him prior to Anakin's offer. It may well have done had the gamble not paid off.
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    When in doubt - the Force did it.

    Just to pre-empt potential flame wars, I can see this topic heading into murky speculation and heated RL debates, so please let's keep things civil. We're talking about a series of space fantasy stories, not day-to-day horrors in the daily newspapers. Real-life morality debates aren't completely separate from what goes on in the Star Wars universe, but there is a difference between an ideological fantasy world and the real one, please bear that in mind, lest anyone flies off the handle.
  10. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    This is just what Star Wars does, sometimes it points out morality for poignancy, sometimes it ignores it for fun.

    It just does whatever is entertaining, whether it be thrilling, chilling, funny, sad, romantic or whatever.
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  11. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I've always had a problem with Palpatine's statement in ROTJ, "Strike me down with all your hatred and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete." Um, why? Fighting back against an evil person who is blowing several of your friends out of the sky and just threatened your sister and several more of your friends on the forest moon is supposed to be an evil act?

    "I am unarmed." Uh, no, ***hole, you aren't. You can shoot lightning out of your fingers. Anything Luke does at this point is the equivalent of Han shooting Greedo before Greedo can carry out his threat to kill him.

    Come to think of it...if Luke striking down the Emperor would be considered immoral, maybe that's where Filoni got the idea to portray all pacifists in TCW as wusses, although pacifist does not mean wuss.
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  12. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3

    I think the important part there is "..with all your hatred..."; it is his state of mind, his acting upon negative emotions which is the important aspect.
    Last edited by only one kenobi, Jul 26, 2013
  13. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    I believe Watto was the one who was cheating with the chance cube. His tone of voice and body language exude confidence in the outcome of the toss, so I believe his "chance" cube was rigged. Notice how surprised he was when he lost. He was playing with loaded dice. QGJ read the situation for what it was and it was only then that he used the Force to pull in ace out of his sleeve.
  14. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    The dark side doesn't care about causes. If you use it in anger and hatred it will swallow you even if you are fully justified in being angry.
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  15. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    Good thing Luke wasn't angry when he was mowing down Jabba's henchmen! He could've been Dark Side by the time he reached the Ewok village. In that case I don't think the furry friends would've gotten a free pass after that net stunt. :_|
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  16. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    The thing is, there's more than one kind of anger, and some kinds are actually positive emotions. Righteous indignation, which is the hatred of injustice, is one like that. There's some stuff that goes on in the world that should make you angry; there's some stuff that, if it doesn't make you angry, there's something fundamentally wrong with you. And that anger - that righteous indignation - is what pushes us to do something about injustice. Saying that someone whose job it is to fight injustice should never feel anger or hatred of any kind is ludicrous. Sorry, the perfect warrior for justice does not look like Meursault in The Stranger.

    It's possible, but we never see that. What we do definitely see is Qui-Gon using the Force to make the cube end up the way he wants it. The thing is, even if Watto was cheating, Qui-Gon just out-cheated him. We don't know how an honest toss would have gone. So Qui-Gon might not be any worse than Watto, but he isn't any better than him, either - and considering that Qui-Gon is a Jedi Master, that's pretty damning.

    So it's the intention, not the act? So... the Force has its own version of hate crimes laws? Yikes!

    Does that mean that when Boba Fett disintegrates someone, that that's cool with the Force? After all, Boba doesn't hate his targets - it's just a job, nothing personal.

    I think the Clone Wars episode "The Deserter" answered that pretty definitively.
  17. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    The Clones are slaves in every sense of the word. Beings genetically altered and born, bred, raised and trained to be canon fodder.
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  18. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    He is quite obviously in a different emotional state when he defeats Vader.
  19. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    Isn't that kind of narcissistic/solipsistic? "Whether or not I killed you doesn't matter; all that matters is how I was feeling when I did it".
  20. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I wouldn't say the films are advocating never killing, but instead they say that killing is justified only to save lives. And that motive is important -- killing out of revenge/anger/hate or simply because you believe a person to be evil is wrong. Even if you are morally right and someone else is morally wrong, who are you to judge? Who gave you the right to be judge, jury, and executioner? A great deal of evil has been committed by people convinced that they were righteous and fit to eliminate the unjust and corrupt. In general, I think the films make the point that killing to protect someone else or save lives is the only time killing is justified.

    Considering the Jedi are killed by the clones, I think this fact merely reinforces the notion that slavery is wrong. If you take someone's choice away -- if you remove their agency and reduce them to a slave -- don't be surprised when they can turn on you at the drop of a hat.

    The word "deals" is key. It's one thing to believe in absolutes -- many people do it all the time. Religion is a common example. Or even politics. Where it becomes problematic is when you force others to live by your ideals -- when you deal with people only according to your beliefs with no regard for theirs. When you suppress and oppress others -- that's when it becomes an issue and you get into the Sith's territory.

    Who says that Qui-Gon would have been willing to steal parts from Watto's junkyard? He may simply not have been able to. We see eopies drop by with the parts later in the film, implying they are quite large and could be impossible to move without aid. Likewise, there's no guarantee that the Jedi or any of the pilots on board would be able to hook up the new system.

    I think you're being picky. :p
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  21. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    I don't find much fault in Qui-Gon's actions on the planet. The fact that they never do anything about Anakin's mother is a giant plot hole to me, but his actions while he is on the planet are fine. Qui-Gon is one of the better PT characters.

    Edit: Taking a child into battle with you is a strange moral choice though
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, Jul 26, 2013
  22. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    Only if you think the force is the only important morality gauge in existence (and I don't like Jedi who do because it does seem extremely narcissistic). The force is rather whimsical and I doubt it cares about conventional logic.
  23. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    In the movies, he doesn't. In the EU (specifically, the novel "Tatootine Ghost"), he does, after the fact.
  24. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    I'm not all that swayed by the EU. The EU is the EU, and the films are the films
  25. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    In the ANH radio adaptation, the used speeder dealer won't give Luke enough money to hire Han. So, Ben mind-tricks him into giving them the 2,000. While he does tell Luke it was a last resort in a desperate situation, you could factor this into the "selective morality" argument, as well, I suppose.

    The ANH novelization side-steps the issue. When Luke says that he couldn't get more money for his old speeder, Ben says that he has enough cash to cover the rest of Han's price.
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