I know I have spent a lot of time recently on non-political topics, but I like to think that my cultural and other posts have at least some bearing on our political situation. After all, you cannot divorce politics from the culture in which they take place. So I do not feel too bad about digressing from time to time into topics which are, at least superficially, unrelated to politics.
All of which is a very elaborate way of saying "Forgive me, I am about to do it again."
As my son has developed a fascination with Star Wars (well, very slightly edited to take his age into account), I have watched the Star Wars films more times than I did as a youth when the first film came out. And, as I wrote in "Mapping the Changes in Hollywood". it is very interesting to see the way the original three films compare to the newer three films. However, I already wrote about that, so I will not go into it more. What I want to mention is the way the newer three films really encapsulate the liberal ideology, especially its thoughts about good government and the causes of war.
According to the newer films, the republic was peaceful because the member planets had no independent armies. Nor did the elected senate of the republic have an army. The only people who could use force was an unelected elite, the Jedi order, which exercised its discretion in solving problems.
Then come some planets which want to establish independent armies. Not only that, but they also both oppose taxes and want to secede from the republic. For these crimes, they are made the villains. (Not to mention that they are the banking and trade guilds and the techno union, obviously villains in any left wing universe.) This then leads to the equally evil response of the republic creating a military answerable to civilian review, rather than being subject to an elite. And from that decision, the collapse of the republic is inevitable.
It amuses me to see how much this fits with modern liberalism's view of the world. Military power is always suspect, and can be allowed only if tightly controlled by an enlightened elite. If nations are allowed the power of self-defense, they will inevitably go to war, and an army under civilian review will be abused by the ignorant public.Only a small elite of superior souls can be trusted with the use of force.
Likewise, nations cannot be trusted to control their own affairs. If they are to decide their own fate, control their own trade, set their own taxes and so on, they will either abuse one another or be manipulated into working for sinister ends. Only when they are placed under the benevolent control of a single elite body can they truly function properly.
I suppose I should not be surprised to find such a clear cut expression of liberalism in a Hollywood film, but I am. Usually the left is not so blatant in allowing its biases to be stated clearly. Elitism is generally frowned upon, and so the left's love of rule by "our betters" is normally not stated aloud. However, thanks to the fictional Jedi giving Lucas free rein, I suppose it was easier to speak openly in these films, and so we get a very clear picture of how he sees the world.
Then again, what is troubling is not that Lucas sees the world in this way, but that there are so very many out there who would have no objections to seeing our world cast in the same image.
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2010/03/17.