Sunday 5 May 2024

Ahem - The Empire (in Star Wars) Was evil... Obviously!

Seriously guys: these are The Goodies in Star Wars? 

Over the years and recently, I've seen several "revisionist" arguments that The Empire in the original Star Wars trilogy of movies, was actually good

This is the conclusion of evaluating Luke Skywalker and his gang of rebels to be the real baddies; broadly on the basis that they are, at root, just the usual leftist-fantasy revolutionaries, as imagined by the 1960s US counterculture.

But this is nuts! Regardless of the nature of the rebels; The Empire was clearly depicted as a totalitarian regime, ruled by "demonic" (Dark Side) affiliated and control-motivated types. 

This specific error of discernment is worth noting, because it is one instance of a general phenomenon that is an increasingly frequent and powerful: defending Ahrimanic evil, on the pragmatic basis that it is not-so-bad as the changes being proposed; to the point of actively supporting that evil.

In this instance of Original Star Wars, which is from some fifty years ago when Luciferic evil had been strong for the last time in the form of the sixties version of hedonic "freedom" - the idea is that we ought to take the side of communitarian order against the chaos ensuring from individualistic self-expression. 

Nowadays; the Ahrimanic System is mostly defended against the spitefully-destructive Sorathic spirit of encouraging war, famine and disease. 

The snare is that it is natural and good up-to-a-point to defend that which is traditional, culturally-significant, and functional - which will include much that is virtuous, beautiful and true - against that which would remove it.

But only good up-to-a-point; because these are ultimately - from an eternal and spiritual perspective - secondary matters; and we therefore must be prepared to abandon them when resistance does more harm than good.

(I should be clear. To defend any-particular-thing which is good can itself become evil - when it leads towards affiliation to evil hence rejection of salvation. No matter how specifically good some-thing may be, there may come a point that it must be set-aside. Such is the nature of our life, task, and challenge in this mortal life.)  

The snare is that we are - in practice - offered a package-deal; in which the package is the net-evil Ahrimanic System, and we can only retain the many specific "goods" by sustaining net evil totalitarianism - and when such arguments from practicality become internalized and personalized into a spiritual affiliation to the side of evil.   

For Christians; this happens with their churches. 

There are always powerfully destructive forces at work against anything that is noble, beautiful and meaningful in the churches. 

These attacks are (almost invariably for the past few generations) evil-motivated; whether the Luciferic evil of desiring permission and endorsement for one's own (often sex-related or sexual - sometimes materialist/ careerist) sins. Sometimes the attacks are motivated by sheerly spiteful pleasure of destroying that which is regarded as a source of Good. 

Yet (beyond a certain point) to pour time, energy and effort into resisting these many-pronged attacks sooner-or-later actually entails supporting an already net-evil social institution that is deeply integrated into the global totalitarian bureaucracy. 

In other words; to defend the church tends strongly to slide-into defending The Empire - which is exactly what we see with the revisionist interpretations of Star Wars. 

Because all large, powerful, ancient, mainstream Christian churches depend-upon The System for their survival; as well as because the churches are under continual attack from Luciferic and (increasingly) Sorathic forces...

Then we get the very familiar phenomenon of loyal and devout Christian church members who implicitly, covertly but decisively have abandoned their Christianity; and affiliated with Ahrimanic totalitarianism. 

"The rebels" usually are wrong and would make matters worse; however, The Empire is - by nature and intent - a machine designed for the damnation of Men; and we Must Not forget that massive fact! 



Michael Dyer said...

This also reveals the fundamental idiocy of just choosing the polar opposite of something popular or leftist. Sometimes residual humanity shines through. Just automatically flipping the script can lead to real absurdities like the attempt of some to rehabilitate the Austrian painter. Honestly I’m still not totally sure how to respond to some of this, there’s a herd mentality at work and a kind of weird faux masculinity thing.

Christopher Martin said...

Years ago, even as early as when the first *Star Wars* movie had come out, there was a joke in my circle of friends that one of us was so far to the right that, while he'd been impressed by the presentation, he was unhappy in that it was one of those modern movies with a twist, in which the bad guys win out unexpectedly at the end. It was just a joke, and not a terribly good one, but still a joke.

Much later, I came across a fairly right-wing professor of political studies. When you called his number and were asked to wait, you would be able to listen to his "Wait" music, which was the Imperial theme from Star Wars. Another joke, and perhaps a better one, since he was making it against himself.

But jokes can be dangerous. In those days men used, as a joke, to claim that they were lesbians trapped in a man's body, and wonder whether any of the women they knew would do them the favour of going to bed with them, given that they found it rather difficult to get sex if they presented themselves as straight men (which, jokingly, they claimed not to be.

But now it appears that all these jokes, good or bad, have been undermined by people making exactly the same claims as those made or implied in them. They have a straight face as they say so, and so one can only assume that, besides having lost any connection with reality, the people making these claims have lost any sense of the ridiculous.

Perhaps the best reply to them would be a licentious guffaw at their claims, presuming that they must be a rather stale repetition of the jokes of the 1980's.

[Too long, I fear; if Bruce or anyone can find a briefer way of making this point, they're welcome to substitute it, subject to Bruce's approval, of course.]

Bruce Charlton said...

@Chris - Good to hear from you again - I was just thinking of you the other day.

I didn't ever thank you for preparing the ground and planting some seeds for a later and serious engagement with RC philosophy; especially MacIntyre and Thomism/ hylomorphic dualism.

Eventually I arrived somewhere very different, but it was time well spent.

My name is Matt said...

"No matter how specifically good some-thing may be, there may come a point that it must be set-aside."

This brings to mind this passage from Lord of the Rings:

"And here also is your brooch, Pippin,’ said Aragorn. ‘I have kept it safe, for it is a very precious thing.’ ‘I know,’ said Pippin. ‘It was a wrench to let it go; but what else could I do?’ ‘Nothing else,’ answered Aragorn. ‘One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters. You did rightly."

Bruce Charlton said...

@Matt - That's it. It's one of the saddest things about these times, that exactly this is required of us so often.

Latigo3 said...

Hindsight being what it is, we easily note how many of the Jews in the time of Jesus were looking for a certain type of liberation from temporal oppression; not understanding the true nature of what Jesus was about to do.
So it is today, we look for answers in ways that will placate our understanding, our needs. Not knowing that we Jesus needs to be our provider, we need the understanding that only Jesus provides.

Alexeyprofi said...

What's also interesting is that in 7th episode evil is showed to somehow winning and overcoming the new republic, so new heroes yet again are destined to be underground minority. It's seems a lot like a history of anarchism and libertarianism. Fighting state, considering it an ultimate evil, but never being able to overthrow it, powerlessly letting corrupt and selfish politicians to rule the world and govern people anyway, despite any kind of rageful anti-statist declamations