Lawful Stupid vs. Stupid Evil
Star this one is for you.
So, been getting into the whole Star Wars thing again and of course the repeated face-planting of the Jedi Order comes up. One of my friends point out that the Jedi are the epitome of Lawful Stupid. People so painfully lawful good, so incredibly cut off by their own perspective that they literally cannot get out of their own way. I counter with the fact that the Sith are Chaotic Stupid and no less troubled by their own worldviews and the bizarre structured chaos that was the Sith Empire, concentrated down into the Rule of Two and then the Rule of One.
Let’s talk a bit about Jedi failings first. In the prequel trilogy they suffer from a blindness to the oncoming threat. They understand it as a waning of their own powers rather than the actual conscious action of an opposing force, like, the Sith Lord they take direction from. Their desire to fix the entire galaxy in a static state overwhelming any sense of an external force working change. Their philosophy at this time was… laughable. Never mind Obi-Wan’s “Only the Sith deal in absolutes!” line (I name you Darth Sandrobe); let’s look at some of the problems they face. First they use a power that apparently features an extremely seductive aspect of raw power that can only be accessed through “Dark” emotions, rage, jealousy and hate. Rather than teaching the Jedi to handle these emotions they must either be bottled up forever (THAT always ends well) or unleashed completely (Like a poorly parented teenager). No middle ground. Once again absolutes and Sith people. Jedi must be perfect, full stop, while anything else is Sith. This leads to many of the greatest, most powerful Jedi being thrown into tougher and tougher situations where any faltering moment has the potential to turn them into a Dark Jedi or even a Sith. I wonder why the Jedi have a sense they are getting weaker?
The result of this episode of willful ignorance is Order 66, with the Jedi murdered by their own clone soldiers, the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire with Darth Sidious at the helm (formerly Senator Palpatine) and Darth Vader (The Jedi’s “Chosen One” and champion) wielding the whip. Had the Jedi encouraged pragmatism and a willingness to learn to control emotions and not subdue them, perhaps Anakin doesn’t become a Sith lord. Had they considered an option other than their own weakening powers as the Sith lord used his own power to blind them, perhaps they catch the snake coiled at their feet. Had they re-considered the wisdom of an easily given, impossible to rescind order that would demolish their own force, they might have escaped annihilation at the hand of their own troops. Unfortunately they wandered around, blind to the doom approaching them, and paid for it.
The Sith aren’t a lot better. In the Old Republic days the Sith Empire had a strict hierarchy that suffered from one key weakness. Promotion was mostly by means of killing your superior. This resulted in plenty of times where the Sith would win a battle and their finest leaders were promptly backstabbed by scheming juniors or promising juniors who jumped the gun were put down by their masters. While this crucible did result in some very powerful warriors rising through the ranks it didn’t exactly encourage great wisdom in the higher ranks, merely power. Darth Bane dealt with this by instituting the Rule of Two. Only two sith, a Master and an Apprentice. The basic foundation of this system was that the apprentice would grow in power and eventually kill the master and find their own apprentice. That’s some dedication right there. Maybe not the brightest candle in the box but certainly a bold one.
The end result of this is a dying Vader tossing the Emperor down a really really long shaft. Also I’m sure there’s an OHSA joke in here somewhere. That is not enough guard rail. Now this doesn’t end the Sith but there’s a pretty big discontinuity in there now. The One Sith at least restored the numbers of the Sith Empire, and instilled a great level of discipline in them but was sooooo over the top evil that it hardly had any greater power to challenge the new Jedi Order than the old Empire had.
I know this has been a roaming ramble of a rant but I think I’ve at least made my point that the Force doesn’t make you smart, and that excessive use apparently causes brain damage.