Star Wars and Political Science
I have to report something that many, many people will find excessively disturbing. Now, in the context of what I’m about to say, keep in mind that I am well read, and have studied history about as extensively as a non-professional can without becoming professional.
Of my favorite books that I’ve read is the wonderful series by Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God four book series. I’m a tremendous fan of Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I just completed A Patriots History of the United States. I love the book the Mothman Prophecies by John Keel, and all his further reporting of the strange and unusual. And I have read many of the popular modern news anchor books, such as Glenn Beck, Bill O’Rielly, and many of the others. I particularly enjoyed Arianna Huffington’s Pigs at the Trough. The point of this qualifying statement is that my reading range is varied and not party influenced. And it is extensive enough to make proclamations.
And the proclamation that I’m going to make is that the work in Star Wars, not just the films, but the books, is some of the best work of political science done in the history of mankind. And I say that as I pour over The Federalist Papers, and The Anti-Federalist Papers, and The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke 1667. In the Star Wars books, starting with the New Jedi Order series which started in 1999 and went on for 19 books, all the way up through Fate of the Jedi, the content while typically Star Wars is quite deep and universal in their exploration of political and human deficiencies.
How popular is it? Look at this tribute to John Williams, whom I think is the greatest musician there ever was, not just because he did the music for Star Wars, but most of the memorable, and inspirational music ever created. He will surpass Beethoven, Mozart and all others in the context of history.
Anyone not familiar with Star Wars, or who haven’t taken the time to work through the story line, let me bring you up to speed. The Jedi Knights are protectors of the Republic Government throughout a galaxy. The Jedi became complacent by their unchecked power. So a Sith Lord, an opposite of a Jedi in political motives, infiltrated the government, manipulated his way to become Emperor, and ruled the galaxy with an iron fist. The Emperor works with the Force, an unseen god-like presence that embodies all matter, much the way Jedi do, but otherwise is very similar to the motivations of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, or Alexander the Great in real historical concept. The Jedi are all but destroyed and are forced into hiding.
To give you an idea how popular Star Wars still is, here is Harrison Ford at the 30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. (THE 30TH ANNIVERSERY! Most people don’t know who the president was 30 years ago, but they still know Star Wars)
Eventually the Jedi led by Luke Skywalker overtake the Emperor. They replace the government with the New Republic, and the problems commence. What kind of government do they replace the Emperor with, as many power hungry factions emerge to fill the power void, and what role do the Jedi play in that government? For the next 30 to 40 years the Jedi watch many governments rise and fall, while they try to build their role of protector of the galaxy back to a respectable position, all the while fighting political squabbles, the re-emergence of the Sith, the Jedi’s own insecurities in becoming too power hungry themselves, and the role of spiritualism in the whole enterprise.
This video from the Celebration V in Orlando Florida, August 2010.
The ongoing struggle of the Jedi v. government, and the Jedi v. Sith, and the Jedi v. self is a marvelous and highly sophisticated exploration of political science done against a science fiction back drop. It is because Star Wars is more than just pure entertainment, but at a deep subconscious level, food for the mind, that it has become such a memorable story that is so endured by the public to this day.
More from Celebration V.
And here is a word of warning to the entire political structure as it now exists. The world has moved to a place you cannot follow. With Star Wars, many similar science fiction stories have emerged. And now with the emergences of on-line gaming, whether it be Halo, or Gears of War, Modern Warfare, or Madden Football through Xbox, or Play Station or more advanced games like World of War Craft, and Star Wars on the PC game front, the youth, and in many cases the middle agers playing them, are starting to see through the smoke screens employed by politics for all of human history. Such tactics have worked in the past, and up to the last thirty years, were very effective. Even though the last 15 years seem to have made tremendous gains turning the republic of the United States into a socialist country with a European blueprint, this is an illusion. It’s the tail behind the head of the snake. The head is already moving in a different direction.
Here’s George Lucas talking about the Smithsonian exhibit in Washington D.C.
Sure, many will look at current personalities like Glenn Beck and call him seditious. But they are only looking at the symptom. Glenn Beck has emerged to fill a market need. He is not the market itself but has only emerged to supply to that market, and that is where many of the fools that cast blame in his direction go wrong. Beck is a product of the same generation I am, and we grew up asking questions, and all one has to do is read history to see that fiction has its roots in reality.
George Lucas on the Clone Wars, animated TV series on Cartoon Network.
And Star Wars has done much to ask the questions that a technological society like the one we currently have, needed to ask. And those questions are much bigger than Fannie and Freddy, or the government take-over of GM. They are bigger than government bail-outs, and Union deals with government officials.
One of the most sophisticated video games I’ve ever played in my life was the first Knights of the Old Republic. It is a Star Wars game, but I’d just as soon call it a training game for becoming a Jedi Knight. In that game you do everything from fighting Sith and other criminals that seek to harm the innocent, to helping solve crimes in complicated scenarios that most lawyers would find difficult. The goal of the Jedi is to see beyond the obvious, to the truth, and to fight for that truth. Because many criminal elements have hidden their crimes behind legitimacy, such as how our current government works. And that has worked for a long time, but it is changing as people think about the concepts discussed in Star Wars and other popular fiction.
Even though the game is several years old now, it still looks exciting.
Call them nerds, those people that sit and play games and read comic books and ramble on about The Force. Make fun of them because they don’t know much about sports and don’t play golf. But the world is changing. And politicians don’t understand it. They think the same old tricks will work, so they ignore and ridicule what they don’t understand.
Here is a big Star Wars Fan. Give him credit. At least he knows what makes him happy.
But even 50 years ago, there wasn’t anything like Star Wars out there for the public to digest. There was Plato’s Republic. There was Shakespeare. There was Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, there was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, all books that helped shape political policy even to this day. But Star Wars puts out a significant book at least twice a year for a couple of decades now, and each book goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of personal relationships and spirituality, against the conflict and impulse of politics. And that is a new element to the tapestry of human history, one that will have a significant impact on the future of our race.
I’m proud of my wife for reading over 57 Star Wars books. But this guy is doing a pretty good job.
Anyone that says entertainment can’t also be meaningful is not paying attention. Below is the preview of The Force Unleashed, another Star Wars game that I will be playing.
So while I explore my own ideas in the overmanwarrior concept, the work in Star Wars is where everything starts. And it is one of the most important stories that have ever been told. And the Star Wars stories are more important than anything the current president has to say, or the speaker of the house, or anyone that currently thinks they are the authority to the human race.