The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Demagoguing 'Star Wars'

No, I haven't seen the new movie. Yes, I've seen the previous five (including the two other lousy prequels). No, I'm not a rabid fan. I don't know anything about the books or the post-Return universe. I don't collect toys. Iwasn't even searching for Star Wars info when I came across this article from the Weekly Standard. It was just too weird to ignore.

There's been a small dust-up over the "politics" of the latest movie. But just by merit of being a Gen-Xer, I guess, I know that Lucas had envisioned nine movies from the start, and had it all mapped out. Mostly mapped out, anyway. And it's at least apparent that the major plot lines have been in his head for thirty years or so. Therefore it seems a bit silly to suggest that he's made some piece of leftist propaganda.

But that's not why I'm writing this. The Standard article is from 2002, and it interests me for two reasons. First, the conservative author is making a case (albeit sorta tongue-in-cheek) for the Empire-- that's the bad guys, if you needed to know. Second, it's a fascinating microcosm of the arguments that have been floating around the liberal meme-o-sphere since last year's election regarding "what in the hell are Republicans thinking these days?"

The answer to that second question-- judging from the article and the silly caricature of the author (which pretty much begs for jokes about homoeroticism)-- is just the sort of thing that's led me to describing these fools as neo-fascists. Simply put, it's because they really admire fascism. More specifically, it's because they have a committment not to limited government, fiscal responsibility and personal freedom, but to taking and maintaining power. Truth, liberty, religion and individual responsibility aren't values, but means to an end. To cite a bit of Ambrose Bierce:

Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbors.

That could explain why so many 21st century Republicans are white, male, and greedy-- if not necessarily bright. After all, justice isn't something to fight for when you've got the upper hand.

UPDATE: One last thought. The right loves to attack the left for 'moral relativism.' But one of the more widely publicized lines in the latest Star Wars flick is "Only the Sith [that would be the bad guys] speak in absolutes." Sort of like saying theft is theft, whether you're a beggar stealing a loaf of bread or a CEO stealing a few million from your investors.