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Essay Science Fiction

The Road to Galactic Serfdom – War, Tyranny, and Terror in the First Two Star Wars Trilogies by Dan Sanchez

 

1-cuPY-LGTRX5sBEv5IesGQgStar Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters this week, continuing the cinematic saga of an interplanetary civilization’s struggles with galactic war and tyranny. It will be watched by millions whose own civilization is beset by global warfare driven by a planetary empire on the verge of descending into a militarized police state. So now would be a good time to review the lessons to be found in the first two Star Wars trilogies concerning the road to universal serfdom and how to keep off it.
The story of how the Galactic Empire arose is told in the prequels trilogy. The whole process is orchestrated from within the Galactic Republic by Palpatine, a seemingly benign politician who is secretly Darth Sidious, grand master of the Sith, a power hungry order of mystic warriors wielding the dark side of the Force. The Sith are a dark reflection of the Jedi Knights, who use the Force to protect life and in service to the Republic.

Sidious is the “phantom menace” who, aided by his apprentice Darth Maul, covertly manipulates the galaxy’s republican government to progressively increase his own power, steadily advancing toward a total Sith coup. Just as with real life democracies, the Galactic Republic masks the machinations of the true wielders of power with the facade of “representative government” and drapes their seizures of still greater power with the sanctifying mantle of “popular sovereignty.” The Sith can be seen as an analogy for the deep state.

Sidious’s implement of choice for accumulating power is war. His modus operandi is as follows. He first manufactures an interplanetary conflict and crisis, manipulating one side as Palpatine and commanding the other side as Sidious. He then engineers enhancements of his own power over the Republic, justifying them as regrettably necessary for decisively dealing with that crisis.

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