Lit Rooting for the Empire (or certain Imperials)- why?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Iron_lord, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    The Republic just stole them from the original Empire. :p
  2. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    We see the republic "not interfering with slavery outside of it" in the prequels.

    We see the Empire making people slaves , numerous times, in the EU. Marvel Star Wars's Mandalore arc was one of the early ones.
  3. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    Which has nothing to do with the Galactic Empire other than being lead by a Sith. :p
  4. fett 4 Chosen One

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    True enough but I was talking about why people support dictators in real life.

    Your right in Stawars the Empire is the bad guy, The main two top guys where black and talk about the "the dark side", while everyone else in the Empire wears Naziish uniforms and use terms like Stormtroopers. So no argument there.
  5. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Given the number of essays I've seen saying "You who root for the Rebels are rooting for the morally wrong side- the Empire stands for good and the Rebels for evil- and this is why (2000 page essay)"- and not in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, either- sometimes I wonder. I've certainly seen it argued that Star Wars is a satire and Lucas intends you to be rooting for the Imperials.

    A Galaxy Not So Far Away has the essay: "Anakin Get Your Gun"

    David Brin's articles aren't that different going by Star Wars: Jedi on Trial- except he seems to assume Lucas is doing it accidentally rather than on purpose.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 2, 2013
  6. cthugha Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 24, 2010
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    I don't think so.

    For one, the leaders of (successful) authoritarian governments usually are no simple-minded brutes whose mindset doesn't go any further than that. Most of them have rather complex reasons, ideologies and all that to justify their actions -- which is interesting: how does someone justify tyranny and being a tyrant? Questions which (potentially) make for more interesting and complex characters than just "I'm obviously doing the right thing by fighting against the bad guys".

    And on the other side you have the non-rebelling populace -- and here again you could say it's a more "interesting" situation they're in, their attitudes ranging from accepting and justifying the tyranny to questioning it but not daring (or finding subtle ways) to express their doubts...


    All this is not to say that I think democracies are not an interesting setting, storytelling-wise; quite on the contrary, as e.g. the BFC trilogy shows, the struggles of a democratic leadership can be great storytelling material; and as a vehemently pro-democracy citizen of a republic with a problematic relationship to the concept of democracy, I know how nerve-racking and sometimes exciting democracy can be from the perspective of the "governed" (or part of the sovereign, in this case). But I guess portraying that effectively needs really good plotting and writing, whereas the complexities of a tyranny are more easily "accessible", in a way.
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  7. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    It's interesting to see how some of Plagueis's lines in Darth Plagueis apply:

    "They should by all rights allow me to step not merely past them but on them to get where I needed to be, because the Sith are their salvation, their only hope. In that we will ultimately improve the lives of their descendants, they owe us every courtesy, every sacrifice, nothing short of their very lives."

    His criticism of the Jedi:

    "With the Republic they are like indulgent parents, allowing their offspring to experiment with choices without consequence, and supporting wrongheadedness merely for the sake of family unity. Tripping over their own robes in a rush to uphold a galactic government that has been deteriorating for centuries. When instead they should be proclaiming: We know what's best for you."

    "The galaxy can't be set on the proper course until the Jedi Order and the corrupt Repubic have been brought down. Only then can the Sith begin the process of rebuilding from the ground up. This is why we encourage star system rivalries and the goals of any group that aims to foment chaos and anarchy. Because destruction of any sort furthers our own goals. Through us the powers of chaos are harnessed and exploited."

    On their right to do this:

    "Beings may elect their leaders, but the Force has elected us."
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 2, 2013
  8. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    Jul 19, 1999
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    I think you'll find an awful lot of dictators were every bit the absolute psychopaths I've depicted them as cthulga, the likes of Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot and more weren't lacking intelligence, they were just exceedingly ruthless and brutal in what they did with it. All they did was for one purpose - theirs. All the ideology, mass psychological manipulation, violence and murder, it all comes back to that. Why did they do it? Because they could and others did what they told them to.

    Only in fiction do you perhaps get the kind of interesting figures you've sketched, though it depends on how you define interesting I suppose. But I can't quite work out if your comments are in regard to real life or SW.

    That aside, a tyrant doesn't have to justify their rule, they have it - you don't. Don't like it? Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough. That happened enough of course that Macchiavelli wrote The Prince precisely to avoid such eternal revolutions: a smart ruler keeps the mob on his side at all times. Also justifying suggests an awareness of fault, dictators don't generally possess that kind of self-critical reflective trait, they know they're right and you're wrong and they'll make sure it stays that way by any measure they see fit.

    It's notable that authoritarian and totalitarian regimes seek to control those rival power centres that could pose a threat to them: Often the media and the schools. Control what information people have access to and how they taught and you've got a decisive advantage right there. Add in monitoring of citizens activities and a secret police force to deal with them and you have all the components in place to control the populace.
  9. RC-1991 Force Ghost

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    Dec 2, 2009
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    Ah, but the occasional good guys/bad guys/guys with a gun had cool ships back then too:

    [IMG]
  10. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    I could see some of them pulling the "for the good of my people" excuse, perhaps even to themselves.

    "Conscience-troubled dictator" is a common theme in fiction- though I don't know how realistic it is.
  11. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    Aug 31, 2000
    star 7
    True..
  12. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    I don't see them even doing that IL, even as an excuse - as that suggests some or all of what they are doing needs to be excused no? I think we could say the figures that become dictators have a messianic god complex with regard to themselves.

    Now fiction? Whole different ball game, after all, everyone likes Vetinari but do we like him because we are reading of him at a safe distance?
  13. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    I suspect there's been an element of "softening" in him (not as much as between Colour of Magic and Guards, Guards, but still noticable:

    "One day I was a young boy... when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. Even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued... As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and the pink roes spilled out much to the delight of the baby otters. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."

    I could see Kreia saying something similar about The Force though.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 2, 2013
  14. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Ummm Guys? are we forgetting something? Dictators are the rule, not the exception?

    Vlad Tepes is a romanian hero according to the Romainians.

    William the Lionheart? Dictator, really any English Monarch when its Monarchy had power was a Dictator.

    the Ethiopian Royal Family, the Tokegawa Shogunate, the various Chinese Dynasties, the Pharo's of Egypt, the Shah and Padasha's of Iran, the Mougals and Mongals, the Visigoths, the Sultinates, the Spanish and Portugese empires and Many many South American nations, were all dictatorships.

    And Republics arn't all sweetness and light, the American Republic promoted a racial cast system, and slavery, and the systimatic rape and abuse that came with it, as well and commited genocide on the native americans, many of whom were allied to it and or adopted the "american way of life". Rome was violent and expansionist to an extreme and along with the greeks embraced Peadastry ( and one could say that was the least of their flaws)

    I never got why Americans in particular tend to elevate Lenin,Stalin, Mao as the hights of villianous dictators when they were par for course for their cultures.

    I dont know enough about cambodian history to make a judgment on pol pot. As for Hitler, The German people as sepreate from the Western Umbrella, I think that was thsir first Genocide and one could say Hitler was a german abberation (though not a western one). Of course Hitler was technicaly Austrian and I don't know enough of Austrian history to make a call on him that way either.
  15. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    I suspect you'll find a few Russians that criticise the notion that Stalin was "par for the course".
  16. cthugha Jedi Grand Master

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    I don't know a lot about Pol Pot, but I've read enough about (and by) Mao, Stalin, Lenin and Hitler to know that they were definitely not the one-dimensional "do what I want or I'll kill you" cliches you described them as. Sure, maybe their methods all ultimately came down to this -- but their motivations are still "interesting", in a psychological way; as are their ideologies (which are not necessarily the same as their motivations) and how they managed to get many people (if not always the "masses") to go along with them. Sure, Hitler was a psychopath in many ways -- but there were lots of people who followed him not out of fear of retribution, but for all kinds of other reasons, various degrees of "agreement" included. And that's what I call "interesting" -- because I do not instinctively understand it and I have to use inference and imagination to wrap my mind around it, as it were.

    I guess I've answered both these questions in the preceding paragraph :p

    Read anything by Hitler, Mao, Lenin or Stalin and you will see them justifying their stance over and over again, relating it to other, conflicting positions, anticipating criticism, ...
    Of course an overblown ego and psychotic self-assuredness is probably a job requirement in any tyrant (which is why Jacen would never have made a good one). But that doesn't mean they're unaware of all that, let alone one-dimensional monosynaptic bullies.

    (Look what you made me do... defending Hitler's mental complexity :p)
    Last edited by cthugha, Feb 2, 2013
  17. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2009
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    So the Romanov dynasty Didn't have mass murderers in its line up?

    Russia has always had Autocratic rulers, like the Chinese. And More than one Autocratic ruler has taken his "Pound of Flesh" out of the people any russian that says Stalin was atypical besides being Georgian(?) is basicly hitting the nostalgia glasses really hard.
    Last edited by Likewater, Feb 2, 2013
  18. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Not nearly on that scale.

    In the context of Star Wars, Darth Plagueis at least goes out of its way to show Palpatine as someone who was a psychologically abnormal individual long before he aspired to power.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 2, 2013
  19. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    Jul 19, 1999
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    The problem here is Mein Kampf is one of the most incoherent, rambling pieces of bad writing you'll ever see and I'm not convinced the others would be any better. But I'd dispute that the posts you've quoted by me equate to saying they're 1-D, I've said they were highly intelligent - even charming in some cases, Hitler was apparently a great dinner host - but all of that was aimed at one thing: Their purposes over all others to no limits whatsoever.

    As to why others follows dictators, there is a massive and probably ever-growing body of literature on that - it is by no means a simple and easy question to answer. I'm quite fond of Kershaw's take with the 2-volume work he did on Hitler, as it's far more an examination of the German people than Hitler.
  20. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Not to that scale because of industrialization, made killing easier, more efficent, and also increased the population so more people could be killed. Not because the Romenov dynasty had some moral imperitive or were better rulers. Most historians recognize this, I find thoes who don't usually have a cultural bias because they consider "Insert historical Figure_________" as some cartoon cricature. An Ivan the Terrable with an Induatrial base and an Industrial Russia would not have a lighter hand than Stalin. And you could probably say the same for most of the Romanov line, lacking the means does not equal lacking the capacity.

    You can see that in the Failure of most post NJO villians in the novels, most have the means but lack the capacity. And the Coruscant government being set up to give every Villian-of-the-arch
    the means all wraped up in a bow is what is killing the EU's internal logic.
    Last edited by Likewater, Feb 2, 2013
  21. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    How one is raised certainly plays a part.

    The point being that such characters were extremely psychopathic- extremely low empathy. Whatever the cause- they didn't represent the normal state of humanity.

    Even in societies where people are expected to empathise with fellow citizens but have no empathy for outsiders- it's still normally present. Empathy for nobody is always exceptional.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 2, 2013
  22. Robimus Force Ghost

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    I'm getting the idea you were not around in 1977 :p
  23. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Banditry, Piracy, Brigandry, Scapegoating, Bigotry.

    Are these normal states of humanity? Yet we have had far more of them than we have had national rulers, and they have regularly lead to atrocities as have rulers. And being born and raised, attaining the position of nationa leader by violent means are also not normal states of humanity. Look at the United States, our leaders are far closer to living every day lives as "regular" Americans than most people who attain their countries thrones, but all of them probably have been changed by the experince.

    An experince most americans will never have.

    Now Imagine having to kill people for that position, or being born and raised for that poistion would have even a greater diconnect between that leader and Joe Bloe citizen/subject.

    How can one reasonably expect normal behvaioral patterns?

    Again over simplification of a very complex situation. not an excuse for atrocious behavior just a perspective of it.
    Last edited by Likewater, Feb 2, 2013
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  24. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    Aug 31, 2000
    star 7
    I was born in 81, so no :p. I have seen the original films plenty of times before I started reading EU.
    What's your point?
    Last edited by rumsmuggler, Feb 2, 2013
  25. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    A case could certainly be made that the harsh Sith training would crush pre-existing empathy out of him to a degree.

    Still Plagueis calls the seventeen year old Palpatine "without empathy" before he starts the training:

    "You're heartless, ambitious, arrogant, insidious, and without shame or empathy. More, you're a murderer."