Evil Empire?

There’s been this running online debate about whether the empire in Star Wars is evil or not. Adam Shostack argues that it is, and he drives the point home convincingly, arguing that the empire is not a benign dictatorship that one could do business with like that of Pinochet:

But we only see three instances of business being done in the movies. The first is Ben Kenobi hiring Han Solo. Even after Kenobi’s death, the Rebel Alliance makes good on his contract. Makes good on a contract that no court would ever enforce–to smuggle military secrets and wanted fugitives past a government blockade? Another is the Empire hiring bounty hunters. (Even there, the Empire may be playing favorites with Fett.) But the Standard betrays their disregard for law, and their lust for order by choosing to ignore what happens to Lando Calrissian. As Vader tells him,

I have altered the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

That’s not a dictatorship people can do business with, its the abuse of raw power in pursuit of goals that Vader thinks are worthwhile. The Dark Side may be looking to restore order, but its an order that it, in Darth Sideous, has destroyed. And with it, they would destroy families, friendships, and liberty.

Adam’s right. The empire is ruled by men, and not laws. It is decidedly not benign.

Read The Altered Deal.


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