I had a hero growing up. I dressed like him for Halloween, had his action figures, and memorized his more profound quotes. I even built towns named after him on Sim City!
Those of you who know me well probably think I am referring to Captain James T. Kirk.
While I am crazy about the good Captain, he is not the person I am talking about. I am referring to the master of an entire galaxy.
Emperor Palpatine, “villain” of the Star Wars universe, was my idol. Who cared that he blew up a planet! He had ultimate power! He could shoot freaking lightning out of his hands! He had armadas of gigantic starships that vaporized cities! The guy was AWESOME!
And now that a new movie saga is in the works, I feel obligated to defend the “villain” of the old. The truth of the matter is that Palpatine was a misunderstood, even sympathetic figure. The only reason he got a bad rap is because we are watching movies skewed towards the point of view of the Jedi. It’s like basing your opinion of Mormons by watching The God Makers or getting your information on America from old Soviet propaganda.
And so, I present the real Emperor Palpatine, a man who tried against desperate odds to save the galaxy from itself:
“The Republic is not what it once was…”
The galaxy in Phantom Menace is neither a happy nor stable place in which to live. The Senate, for all intents and purposes, has been reduced to a hapless, helpless cacophony of shrill voices. One member of the Republic is even able to blockade and eventually invade another member and the Senators can’t even bring themselves to do something! This would be like Texas invading Louisiana and the federal government deciding to sit on its hands.
Ya’ll in Louisiana need to stop speakin’ that sissy French!
(Yes yes, I know Palpatine manipulated the Trade Federation, but the point here is that the Republic had lost the basic ability to maintain peace and order in its borders. If it wasn’t the Trade Federation today, it would have been the Techno Union or Banking Clan tomorrow. Nature abhors a vacuum. Also, I explain the manipulation later in this post.)
The Chancellor seems to be a good man. He’s also a waffling idiot. His office is paralyzed by procedure and other members of the Senate, and it’s clear he’s so despised that when a vote of no confidence is called the Senate begins to cheer.
This is not a healthy society. This is one rapidly spiraling towards death. Without quick, decisive action the Republic will fall apart, and the galaxy will descend into anarchy as the strong prey on the weak.
“At last the Jedi are no more…”
Don’t believe the Jedi hype. These cultists are not nice people. They’re actually rather creepy.
As the good Emperor pointed out to the whining Chosen One, “All who gain power are afraid to lose it…Even the Jedi.”
They abuse their power as often as Amidala changes her wardrobe.
Don’t be silly. My boy toy’s cult abuses their power FAR more often than that.
They use the Force to control the weak minded (See Attack of the Clones, where Obi-Wan interfered in a man’s life simply because he annoyed Obi-Wan) and also start high speed chases through packed traffic lanes in the capital, endangering thousands of lives. When Master Kenobi pulls out his lightsaber in a crowded club and attacks someone, the whiny Chosen One simply says “Jedi business. Go back to your drinks,” as though that solves the problem. “We are above the law. If we say it’s our business, you have no right to interfere.” Giving organizations the ability to be above the law is dangerous. It breeds arrogance. Arrogance breeds contempt. Arrogant, contemptuous people who think they are above the law usually wind up causing untold misery.
Heil the Jedi SS!
At the beginning of the saga, they had no oversight from anyone. They appointed their own members, they do their own thing, and they have the authority to take children into their cult and indoctrinate them as infants. If a couple has a baby that is strong in the Force, two intimidating Jedi show up at their hatch. “Yes,” says the first Jedi, lightly fingering his lightsaber, “you don’t have to give us your baby. But you should, because we want it.”
“Also,” says his companion, “if I say the words, ‘Jedi business,’ I can cut off your arm and get away with it.”
What happened to individual freedom? The baby has no say. They don’t wait until the kid is old enough to make up his own mind. His existence is set the moment Master Yoda shows up.
Your child, give me, or accidents, there might be.
How do we know the Jedi Cult isn’t using mind control to FORCE parents to hand over their children? You can’t say they aren’t with any certainty, because there’s no independent oversight!
Why do you think this cult doesn’t like to train older children? Why were they so upset about Anakin being brought to them? Because anyone old enough to think for himself and have outside experiences will realize that this is CRAZY.
The Senate has no control over these voodoo baby snatchers. That becomes a point of contention when Palpatine is granted oversight of the Jedi Order in Revenge of the Sith.
If you were Palpatine, wouldn’t that make you nervous? These people have voodoo powers. They have no oversight from a democratic body. They cause major traffic accidents and attack Republic citizens in nightclubs. They steal babies from people. If they wanted to, they could turn their voodoo powers on weak willed citizens, and elect those they want to the Senate. The Senate, also full of weak-minded individuals, could become a mere puppet of the Jedi gestapo.
Trust us. We know what’s best for you.
I’d want to get rid of them too.
“I will create a Grand Army of the Republic…”
Earlier, I used the the scenario of Texas invading Louisiana as an example of what the Trade Federation was doing to Naboo. I was wrong. It would be more like Wells Fargo invading Louisiana. These banks and commerce guilds have their own standing armies.
“All your banks are belong to us.”
The Republic doesn’t have an army, and the Senate won’t vote for one because it means Republic members can’t keep invading and blockading each other willy nilly.
The Banking Clan, Techno Union and Trade Federation have standing armies that threaten the space lanes and Republic members. They have the ability to manipulate the courts; Viceroy Gunray was acquitted by the Republic Supreme Court after invading Naboo. So Palpatine, in a move of strategic genius, manipulates all the banks and guilds into leaving the Republic and declaring war. Suddenly, Palpatine is able to create an army that can wipe out these dangerous pirates and also stop Republic members from attacking each other, restoring peace and stability to the Republic.
Captain Jack Sparrow would have approved of the Trade Federation.
Palpatine saved Galactic civilization from itself. It wasn’t an evil Sith plot. It was a brilliant and necessary move!
“The Jedi Rebellion has been foiled…”
Let me tell a story. Several Army generals, unhappy with some of the changes the President has made to the military, gather up troops and enter the White House. They draw their guns on the President in the Oval Office, and try to arrest him.
Wouldn’t the President’s Secret Service agents open fire? If the President had a gun, wouldn’t he shoot at them? They’re trying to eliminate the duly elected President, and replace him with one of their puppets!
Probably this puppet.
With no proof other than the word of some whining Chosen One, Jedi enter Palpatine’s office and activate their lightsabers with no provocation. Palpatine was trained to use the Force and a lightsaber, and was completely justified in defending himself.
This is called an attempted coup. Coups are bad.
And then Master Windu tries to kill the Chancellor IN COLD BLOOD. This is not some wonderful defender of democracy. This is a bloodthirsty killer in search of a victim.
Back to my story: after the Generals that tried to kill the President are defeated, wouldn’t the President immediately attempt to stop the other co-conspirators at the Pentagon? That’s exactly what Palpatine did to the Jedi. They had been spying on him, they had attacked him, and he had no idea what else they were planning to do.
He was totally justified in activating Order 66 and securing the Jedi Temple.
(To be clear, nowhere in the movie did Palpatine say “Yes, Vader, go kill all the younglings.” The whining Chosen One did that on his own.)
“The Republic will be reorganized into the first GALACTIC EMPIRE.”
It is not surprising that Palpatine declared an Empire. I’m not saying I agree with this any more than I agreed with Caesar Augustus when he dissolved the Roman Republic, but I understand why he did it. The Republic was bloated, corrupt and powerless to save itself. People will come to the conclusion that centralized authority is necessary in such chaotic, desperate times.
Perhaps we should do that today.
People also forget that the Senate APPLAUDED when Palpatine announced it. Even the Senate had come to that conclusion!
The eventual dissolving of the Imperial Senate and destruction of Alderaan should be seen through this lens. The Senate was committing treason by supporting the Rebellion against an Emperor they had elected, and trying to return the galaxy to the days of chaos and corruption, so Palpatine dissolved it. Alderaan, a “peaceful” planet was financing a pretty vicious Rebellion, and had been joined by one of the last Jedi cult members, Obi-Wan Kenobi. In a desperate (again, I’m not condoning this, but I see his point of view) attempt to prevent the galaxy from returning to those horrifying pre-Palpatine days, he let Tarkin blow Alderaan up.
SLAY THEM ALL….I mean, this was a tragic decision, which was unfortunately necessary. KILL THEM…sorry…
Emperor Palpatine should be remembered as a heroically tragic figure, who tried and failed to keep the galaxy from falling apart. Don’t believe me? Wait for the new movie. I seriously doubt that it will show the Rebellion made everything into kittens and moonbeams in the Star Wars galaxy. It will show chaos and despair, as another bloated Republic makes another mess of things.
They should resurrect their only hope.