The Proud Duck

Thoughts on policy, history, faith, baseball when I get around to it, waterfowl, and life in general by a junior attorney who'd much rather have Jonah Goldberg's job. Or possibly Darin Erstad's.

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Monday, May 16, 2005
So George Lucas thinks George Bush is Darth Vader.

The problem with American ignorance of history is that smug, self-satisfied gazillionaire filmmakers can think themselves ever so clever for making comparisons that wouldn't stand five seconds in the face of real historical analysis.

If the almost comically mild measures the Bush administration has taken to step up counterterrorism defenses in this country after the worst terrorist attack in history make George Bush a Sith Lord, then Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln would each have been contenders for the title of Evil Emperor. Interning or relocating a whole ethnic group or suspending habeas corpus (Roosevelt and Lincoln's wartime curtailments of civil liberties, respectively) makes allowing delayed-notice records-search warrants seem like chump change, I'd think.

If Lucas really wanted to reflect present political realities in his last Star Wars film, maybe he should have had the movie go like this:

The Jedi council (a hierarchical, self-selecting elite) come to convince themselves that the Republic is becoming a dictatorship. They base this conclusion -- irrationally, because they, as a closed group, close their minds to dissenting opinions -- on the fact that a popularly elected government's enacting wartime measures for which the Republic's history provides ample precedent, and which the independent judiciary does not find inconsistent with the Republic's constitution. They become so convinced of their conclusion, and so desperate that the unwashed masses don't see things the way they do, that they decide that extreme measures must be taken to save the ignorant citizens of the Republic from their blindness. Ultimately, they fatally weaken the Republic's legitimacy and institutions, leading to the installation of a dictator from one extreme or the other.

Weimar Germany, in other words, with the liberal intelligentsia hyperventilating so much over the relative (to them) conservative government that it was too weakened to resist being swallowed by a nasty bunch who really were all those things the center-left accused the center-right of being.


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