SciFi author Orson Scott Card angered a lot of Trekkies a few weeks back by writing that STAR TREK sucked. Not just ENTERPRISE, the whole Roddenberry franchise. Unsatisfied with alienating that huge percentage of scifi fans, now he’s probably infuriating legions of STAR WARS talifans by saying the Jedi, and their ideals, are extremely screwed up…even evil.
The Jedi may claim to be in favor of democracy, but in fact they function as a ruling elite, making their decisions among themselves. They occasionally submit to the authority of the legislature, and they seem to respect the rule of law, though whose law it’s hard to say. By and large, however, they decide among themselves what they’re going to do and when it’s OK to break the law and defy the civilian authority.
They are, in fact, utterly anti-democratic, like a militia that owes nothing to civilian authority…
…So instead of looking at the storyline of Episode III as a conflict between good and evil, you could read it as a conflict between the entrenched aristocracy trying to preserve their monopoly on power, and an ambitious upstart, who is determined to break that monopoly and take control for himself. The only reason we don’t see it that way is because the other side is so
much more evil. But the body count left behind by Jedi knights is — or should be — disturbing.
He’s not the first person I’ve heard say this. I was stuck in traffic the other day and heard a commentator on NPR make a very persuasive argument that the Jedi were the true villains of REVENGE OF THE SITH ("The flawed despotism of the Empire is better than the aristocratic smugness of the Jedi.")
As I watched REVENGE OF THE SITH, I might have paid more attention to the values of Jedi vs those of the Sith if the movie wasn’t so dull. Somewhere between STAR WARS and REVENGE OF THE SITH George Lucas forgot how to be funny, entertaining and lively. God, I missed Han Solo. Sure, the effects are astounding…it’s a shame the rest of the movie has all the drama, emotion, and humor of an HOA meeting.
(Thanks to S.L Viehl for pointing me to Orson Scott Card’s essay)