Lessons from a Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we witnessed the creations of George Lucas’ mind come to our screens. Whether on the big screen, the small screen or on the pages of novels and comics, we saw the Star Wars galaxy grow and mature. While this galaxy was developed from the left-wing perspective of George Lucas, and I am not one of taking political advice from fiction, I thought this would be a fun exercise. What went right in the Star Wars Universe, but more importantly, what went wrong?

For starters, what went right, is the Jedi. This may seem counterintuitive to most– did we not see them unable to stop the Galactic Civil War, become pawns to the Sith and be slaughtered by their men? Yes, but this only occurred in a short period of time– five to ten years in a system which lasted thousands of years. For thousands of years, the Jedi successfully protected peace in the Galaxy.

But what failed? A lot. First, let us take a step back in time and towards our home—America. What is our system based around? A limited executive, the distribution of power, through federalism and independent branches of government. Every single one of these was rejected by the Republic. Take a limited executive. While fairly true in the beginning of the prequel era, this was blown out of the water by the end. By the climax of Attack of the Clones, we see a Supreme Chancellor capable of creating a grand army all by himself. Within a movie, we see a Supreme Chancellor capable of making himself an Emperor and fundamentally changing the Republic.

The Republic also throws federalism out of the window. To see this, let us look to the Clone Wars TV show. In one story (SEASON 3, Episode 11), we see Padme talking about how the war effort was taking away from the Republic funding education and utilities. Imagine Washington DC, being responsible for basic utilities, no; imagine Washington DC being responsible for these basics.

Lastly, no American principle is rejected more than independent branches of government. From the start, we see the executive leading the legislative branch like we see in places like Great Britain. While we never see the courts in action on film, we see them on the television show when Anakin Skywalker’s padawn Ashoka Tano, is put on trial when she is framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple, (Season 5 Episode 20). Again, we see the chief executive leading the court with a jury of Senators, a military prosecutor, and a Senator as the defense counsel. Again, we see a complete corrupting of separations of powers. No wonder Mace Windu thought the courts were too corrupt to convict Palpatine.

While Star Wars is a purely speculative universe, a fanatic one at that, that does not mean we cannot draw morals and lessons. While not absolute, they allow us to see our ideas in action, and in this universe we saw them not in action. We got to see what happens when we do not follow our ideas. We do not need to look towards Star Wars to see these results. Just look to any tin-pot dictator. They all have a common thread; they all reject American ideals of government. On the other hand, whatever liberal democracy, we find, they all share American governing principles to one extent or another.

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