PT Star Wars ethics

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Stalepie, May 10, 2013.

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  1. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
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    As I've said before; that was not their choice. The use of the clone army was decided by the Senate - the Jedi did not have a say. That the Jedi were expected to lead, or at least fight alongside whatever army the Republic had is why they end up leading and fighting alongside the clones, on behalf of the Republic.

    So, we end up with a couple of questions. Do you honestly believe that had the Jedi refused to lead the clone army that the clone army would not have been used by the Republic? If so how do you figure that would transpire? If, as I see it, the clone army would have been used anyway then how would the Jedi refusing to lead (and fight alongside) them be in any way a benefit to that army; to those men?

    I don't know how anyone can think that the Jedi chose to use the clone army when there are a number of scenes specifically pointing to the Senate deciding that.
    Last edited by only one kenobi, May 16, 2013
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  2. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    None of that excuses them in the slightest. It's a variation on the old Nazi "we only followed orders" defense. The Jedi leading a slave army, one that continued to be in production no less, is highly unethical. It's interesting to see where people land on this one.
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  3. Darth Xalfrea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2013
    star 3
    Was this ever touched upon on material in-between, I wonder?

    If not, the writers probably used the "war" as an excuse. Or maybe for all we know Palps didn't allow activism or something in order to discredit the Jedi further.
  4. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

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    You simply haven't addressed the questions that I posed. Its not about 'just following orders', its about what are the alternatives in this particular situation. Had the Republic created extermination camps and put the Jedi in charge you might be onto something, but this is a very different situation.

    So, to the questions that really matter here. What are, really, the Jedi's options? If they refuse to lead the clone army then do you really believe that the clone army wouldn't have been used by the Republic (who had already decided that they would)? If they would be used then what benefit would the Jedi's choice not to lead and fight alongside (and I think that is vital to address within this context) the clone army have been to them? They would have been used by the Republic anyway.
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  5. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    I did, your points in their entirety do not exuse the Jedi actions. It's the "we only followed orders" defense and the "if I had not done it, another would have" defense. Neither is a valid defense. If you leave your car running in a parking lot and I steal it, can I claim that if I had not stolen your car someone else surely would have as my defense? Of course not, the theft was an unethical action.

    So is using the clone army, the Jedi's choice was to not participate. They could have made a moral stand. They did not. And thus, they are judged based on their actions
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, May 16, 2013
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  6. Darth Xalfrea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2013
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    And thus we reach the classic debate of the Jedi; why did they allow themselves to be hopelessly entrenched in political maneuvering? Even if they wanted to take a moral stand, they couldn't because they were stuck with the Jedi answering to whatever branch of Republic government.
  7. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    star 4
    But even that is a choice, no matter how far entrenched in the political system of the republic they were, they still could have said that using clones crosses a line that they will not cross and refused to participate.

    As I said earlier, it's really just a variation on the old "we only followed orders" defense that mid level Nazi's tried to use. They may not have all been guilty of planning the evils that they did, but they were willing participants and were guilty . And in this case, so were the Jedi.
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, May 16, 2013
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  8. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
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    Just as the idea of leading an army into battle is not equivalent to operating an extermination camp, neither does it have any conceptual similarity to stealing a running car. Do I have to explain why? Then here goes.

    In terms of the car example; firstly it is reductio ad absurdum; secondly the excuse is based upon the basis that if you hadn't then somebody else might have - whereas the clones would have been used; thirdly stealing a car is obviously a crime, whereas (unless you are an extreme pacifist) leading an army is not; fourthly, within the example of the car whether you steal the car or someone else does makes no difference to the victim, whereas I would argue that the Jedi being in charge offers a number of benefits to the clones (their martial prowess would be of benefit to the clones, and also ensures that the Jedi fight alongside rather than simply ordering them into spheres of war; their ethical standards may well be higher in terms of their attitude to the clones than other possible commanders); fifth, the stealing of a car does not have any consequences in terms of such concepts of betrayal and responsibility (in other words, the Jedi refusal to fight what - at first - is clearly a war against tyrranical, Sith lead cabal against the freedoms and democracy of the Republic would clearly be a betrayal of their responsibilities, where stealing a car or not has no such connotation)

    So, what difference would it make to the clones for the Jedi to refuse to lead them?
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  9. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
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    The point is obvious, the Jedi are responsible for their own actions. They are willful participants in the use and continued creation of disposable beings bred only to serve and die for the republic. It is abhorrant on it's own, the car example merely illustrates that pointing out that others may have led the clone army does not absolve the Jedi of THEIR USE OF THE CLONE ARMY.

    That others would commit a crime in your place is not a defense against your own involvement.
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, May 16, 2013
  10. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    I think that's a simplification in hindsight. At the beginning of the war, unless one is privvy to the fact that palpatine is behind everything, then it would seem clear that a cabal of corporate and industrial oligarchs working with a Sith Lord to build (secretly) a huge droid army to enforce their rule over the Republic was a force lined up against what the Jedi and the Republic together stood for (freedom, democracy, diplomacy, peace).

    Later when it becomes apparent that all is not right, when the Jedi do act against the official head of the Republic they are accused of bringing about their own downfall by that action. It is what have said before. Some are just determined to see that the Jedi are the architects of their own downfall no matter how inconsistent the reasoning has to be (damned if they do, damned if they don't). To my mind that takes away from the plotting that has been going on by Palpatine to get to the position where he has the Jedi (and the Republic, the Senate etc.) exactly where he wants them.
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  11. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3

    So, you don't have an answer to how the clone army would benefit by their refusal to lead them. (the car argument is a reductio ad absurdum and offers no argument at all - for all the reasons I spent the time to point out)
    Last edited by only one kenobi, May 16, 2013
  12. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    It's largely an irrelvant question. The Jedi could have chosen to openly oppose the war, they could have campaigned to allow the separatists to secede. They could have campaigned to end production of disposable beings. There are lots of things they could have done, they chose to be willful participants instead.

    I have yet to see anything that absolves them of it.

    And to address your edit, the point does not change. Substituting the hypothetical guilt of others in your place IS NEVER A VALID DEFENSE. To say that others would have led the army in the Jedi's place IN NO WAY ABSOLVES THE JEDI'S INVOLVEMENT
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, May 16, 2013
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  13. darth fluffy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2012
    star 2
    Which, actually, they have.

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Stennes_Shifter


    They could have taken a stand, said they wouldn't stand for the Republic using a slave army, like Saba did in FotJ.
  14. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    How is it an "irrelevant question"? If an action doesn't have consequences then how could it be an ethical question?

    But, at least you have offered some alternatives.

    They could have opposed the war and "allowed" the Separatists to secede but; the Separatists are now known to be lead by a Sith Lord. The leaders of the Separatists are a group of industrial/corporate oligarchs; who are you 'allowing' to secede? The people who currently have democratic representation? I don't think so. What you are really suggesting is that you allow some to be given up to the Sith Lord and his cabal...

    But, it goes a bit deeper than that; it is clear from what we (and Obi-Wan) overhear on Geonosis that secession isn't really the aim.

    So, they could argue against the war, but the war is going to happen anyway. Its a nonsense to argue that the Jedi opposing the war would stop the war.

    To the last point; no matter how much bold or red you use, the argument is still a false one. You must show that the Jedi refusing to lead an army that would have been used anyway would have benefited that army/those men - if not then you have made no proposition regarding the ethics of the Jedi. Inn order for a decision to have ethical consideration it must have consequences.

    EDIT: The argument with the bolded red is also a non-argument. It is a self-referencing circulatory positioning; you use the term "Substituting the hypothetical guilt of others in your place" which automatically assumes that the action is one involving, a-priori, guilt
    Last edited by only one kenobi, May 16, 2013
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  15. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    It's not self referencing, it's referencing you

    The implication of your question is clear, you are implying that the Jedi should not be taken to task for their choices because others would have led the army in their place. It's been one of the foundations of your argument, and it does not fly. Their guilt is the same.

    And it is guilt. Using a slave army is inherently unethical. None of what you have said absolves them of it.

    And you can't know what effect the Jedi opposing the war would have had. The Sith were in control of the separatist movement, but they were in control because Dooku had tricked thousands of Star systems into believing that he was a political idealist. If secession is granted, his support for continuing war may vanish. The truth is, the Jedi by making so many utterly stupid decisions played right into the Sith's hands, ethics questions or no ethics questions.

    You're basically now trying to deflect blame from the Jedi by saying other options were futile. That's as much as a non defense as the "only following orders" and "others would have done it anyway" defenses.
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, May 16, 2013
  16. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    I never used the word 'guilt'. It is self-referencing and circulatory because it is an a-priori of the argument that to lead the army makes them guilty. If you think the crux of my argument is "well...somebody else would have" then you just aren't paying attention. The crux of my argument is that the clone army was going to be used, so for the Jedi's ethics to be questioned, for there to be an ethical subtext to the Jedi command of the clone army (bearing in mind that they were expected to lead whatever army the Republic had) so that their decision not to lead them ought to have positive consequences for the clones, or for the Republic. You have to address the situation the Jedi were in, from their perspective (not with the privileged position of the viewer) and what the Republic faced from that perspective.

    I don't believe that their opposing the war would have stopped the war (and that 'secession' - as if it were a democratic process of the people, which it clearly isn't - wasn't really what the Separatists had in mind). I don't believe that their opposition to the use of the clone army would have altered the use of them.

    In short, I don't see what they are 'guilty' of except following their duty and facing up to their responsibilities. I don't see any reasonable alternative scenario.
  17. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    Your second-last sentence is again "only followed orders".

    If you participate in a crime you are a perpetrator of a crime.
    Last edited by Darth_Pevra, May 16, 2013
  18. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4

    And just a few short sentences later

  19. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    To respond to this additional edit;

    Why are you referencing two strawman 'defences' when I have pointed out their unsuitability for purpose? As to what you are suggesting......I'm not sure what to say. You accuse the Jedi of the 'guilt' of some crime (which appears to be their duty to their beliefs in freedom, democracy etc. and to the Republic) and you don't 'excuse' them this 'crime' just because there wasn't really an alternative scenario that benefits anyone? Am I understanding your position correctly here?

    It is what I suspected. There is an a-priori position taken, which is; the Jedi are responsible for their own downfall. It matters not a jot that there isn't a great deal of consistency or cogency to any 'argument' for that proposition.
  20. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4

    To be blunt, yes. The use of the clone army was inherently unethical. That has been my position since the beginning. That is the basis of this entire conversation. That there is no ethical justification for using slave cannon fodder.

    And let's stop with the strawman talk, I am referencing the points you have made. They are right there for everyone to see. You brought up the idea that the army would be used without the Jedi's participation, you brought up that the war was inevitable, you brought up the talk of duty and orders, all of that came from you. All of it is found in your posts. You brought up all of these things as justification for the Jedi's actions.
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, May 16, 2013
  21. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    He does that a lot
  22. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    Really? Really? I have to explain this? So, here's how it goes. Your a-priori, self-referncing, circulatory argument is 'leading the clone army is itself a crime'. Therefore, the Jedi lead the army - therefore they are 'guilty'.

    That leads to the accusation that what I argued was "well...somebody else would have". There is a bit more to it than that. For one, in order for their 'crime' to be based around a question of their ethics, then their actions and alternatives must have consequences - so you must offer a positive result for the clones upon the Jedi refusing to lead them.

    Secondly, you must explain how the Jedi could have acted differently that would have resulted in better outcomes; also taking into account what the Jedi knew at all times (and what they didn't know).

    It turns out that you can offer neither of those.

    Just out of interest, what would your position be if it were a conscript army?
  23. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3

    No, my second to last sentence references following their responsibility and their duty. Neither of those words has any subtext 'orders'.
    Last edited by only one kenobi, May 16, 2013
  24. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    You brought up 'only following orders' - at no point have I suggested the Jedi were doing so, and I pointed out why that 'simily' is so utterly misplaced.

    Here's the entirety of it juiced right down; if you can think of no viable alternative choice, then what are they guilty of?
  25. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    Post not poster? Want to remember that?
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