Against the Jedi

I was challenged by Varad Mehta (@VaradMehta )to defend my (conventional) view that The Phantom Menace is far, far, and away the worst of the Star Wars movies and that the universe (cinematic and actual) would be better without it. Varad takes the contrarian view that The Phantom Menace individually, and the prequels collectively, are affirmatively good movies, but more importantly that they are trenchant political prophecy for the United States. He is (mostly) wrong on this point, but insightful on many others, and his essays deserve considered response. This is Part 2/4. Part 1/ Part 3 / Part 4

Having argued against Mehta where he is wrong, it is only fair to acknowledge where he is right. Mehta is at his strongest is in his evisceration of the Jedi:

The Jedi have lost the ability, as one non-Jedi character puts it in Clones, to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom. So blinkered are they that they do not even know that a clone army has been ordered on their behalf, and apparently at the behest of one of their own. Nor, of course, do they have any idea that the very leader of the Republic they are pledged to serve is a Sith, the embodiment of all they stand against. “Our ability to use the Force has diminished,” Mace Windu laments in Clones. The Jedi are blind, and in more ways than one.
Far from being the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, the Jedi ultimately are destroyed because they become the opposite: warriors using their powers in defense of a corrupt, increasingly oppressive regime. “We’re keepers of the peace, not soldiers,” Mace Windu warns Chancellor Palpatine at the start of Attack of the Clones. At the end of the movie, though, soldiers is just what they become as they take command of the clone army. They have fallen a long way since Qui-Gon’s admonition to the queen in The Phantom Menace that “I can only protect you, I can’t fight a war for you.” So far have they fallen that in Revenge of the Sith they begin discussing openly whether or not to remove Chancellor Palpatine from office if he refuses to relinquish his emergency powers, thereby fulfilling Palpatine’s prediction that they would plot against him. Sworn to uphold the Republic, the Jedi fall at the moment they become convinced that saving the Republic means overthrowing it.

If there is a case to make that Lucas is a secret Straussian, the Jedi must be the centerpiece of it. Speaking personally, I am more than willing to admit the possibility my perspective is warped by being way too deep into revisionist neoconservative Star Wars literature (all hail the founding master, Darth Lastus), but anyone with a single drop of icewater in his veins should be able to see that the Jedi are not tragic heroes. They are more Rosencrantz & Guildenstern than Hamlet.

Despite their professed disdain for politics and politicians, the Jedi are intensely political. That the Jedi are political is inherent to their role. The Republic has a scale problem comparable to the UN or large empires: It is so enormous that a problem can be a matter of critical, life-or-death concern to a handful of systems yet also be so insignificant at the galactic scale that it cannot command the Senate’s attention. Problems can also be urgent enough that they require resolution in less time than it takes a deliberative body to establish formal consensus. Yet for the Republic to function, someone has to resolve those kinds of problems.

In the late (“Dominate”) Roman Empire, there was a class of officials entitled agentes in rebus. The title was (for Romans) uncharacteristically but purposefully vague, translating in varying degrees from literal to idiomatic as “agents in matters”, “agents concerned with the matters”, or “people who get things done.” Whenever something just wasn’t working properly through normal administrative channels or corruption suspected, the emperor would dispatch one of these agents to the scene, usually openly but sometimes in the guise of the ubiquitous couriers taking messages to and fro. They enjoyed complete legal immunity, could arrest senior officials, and possessed the intimidating power that their very presence signaled displeasure from of the emperor.

This is exactly the Jedi mode of operation seen at the outset of The Phantom Menace (TPM). A single Jedi and his apprentice are dispatched to resolve a planet-scale conflict. They expect perfunctory negotiations. Resorting to force is definitely plan B. Plan A is to resolve the situation simply by their presence. The Trade Federation gets this. Their immediate reaction upon learning of the arrival of Jedi is we’ve gone too far. It’s time to back down. Their fear is not physical but political, not of the Jedi themselves but of what the Jedi represent. They know the rules: The appearance of Jedi means the Jedi Council has dispatched them. The Jedi Council dispatching a Jedi means they have high confidence Chancellor & Senate approve (at least tacitly) of that course of action. That would only be the case were the Trade Federation leaning way, way out past its skis, as indeed it is.

We can imagine by contraposition how disputes like this were successfully resolved in the Republic: the Trade Federation would save face by backing down “voluntarily” pursuant to “negotiations,” perhaps resentfully, but with zero ambiguity about the fact they’d crossed a line and enjoyed no support. All this would be done without the Senate needing to take formal action that would set precedents and thereby risk deadlock or escalation. Side comments throughout the prequels imply that Jedi are sent to do this sort of thing routinely. This is the Jedi operating as “keepers of the peace.” They don’t keep peace with zen meditation, and only reluctantly do it with the lightsaber. Their main mode is to do it politically, as effective diplomats. With the Senate representing thousands upon thousands of systems, who but crucial political actors could enjoy that much personal access to the Chancellor?

Jedi are not to be taken as directly modeled on the Roman agentes in rebus, but rather on their archetype. One can find comparable people in any well-functioning large organization because the nested informational problems and principal/agent conflicts endemic to management of large organizations require that they employ such people in order to function well. When a large organization consistently cannot solve endemic internal problems, the agentes in rebus role is likely at the root of the failure (see: management consultants).

The essentially political role the Jedi play within the empire is not the only way in which we see intense politicking among the Jedi. We are not privy to the internal deliberations of the Council until Revenge of the Sith (ROTS), but when we are we immediately see them riven with passive-aggressive factionalism. Given the late date we cannot tell whether this state represents decay from a more collegial past or whether it is SNAFU. As far back as TPM though, Obi-Wan even as padawan recognizes Council membership involves quite a bit of internal politics amongst the Jedi, observing to Qui-Gon that his penchant for maverick behavior keeps him off.

The most damning judgement on the Jedi is that the very first action Palpatine takes coincident with seizing power is to liquidate them. An autocracy needs agentes in rebus much more than a republic does, as power warps the informational lens far more when concentrated than when diffuse. Educated, resourceful, turbocharged telekinetic warrior-monk commando diplomats are, on-paper, the absolute platonic ideal of who one would want to fill that role, which they had apparently performed well enough for a thousand years until quite recently. Yet Palpatine as autocrat assigns the role entirely to Vader, who tellingly holds no formal imperial rank or office (“Darth” is a Sith honorific). Vader is only one person, and exceptionally powerful though he is there will have to be others. Vader knows this, hence his desire to recruit rather than kill Luke and his excitement upon discovering “there is a sister.” Palpatine and Vader implicitly admit their options were not entirely satisfactory.

Why then does Palpatine choose to kill rather than co-opt all the Jedi? Palpatine/Sidious is a master of manipulation and was able to recruit Dooku and Anakin Sywalker. Why not try for the rest (Dooku does attempt, mendaciously, to recruit Obi-Wan)? Notably, he does not similarly annihilate the Senate, which he only dissolves upon completion of the Death Star some twenty years hence. Palpatine must believe he needs the Senate but not the Jedi. Given the Jedi’s obvious on-paper qualifications, the only plausible reason is that Palpatine judges the Jedi categorically morally unfit and/or incompetent to the task.

He has reason to make that judgement. As Mehta identifies, in Attack of the Clones (AOTC) we see them consciously conspire to commit the ultimate unforgivable political sin: cover-up. Someone managed to pull off the largest identity-theft crime ever, fraudulently impersonating a Jedi (or worse, a rogue Jedi) to place an order on the Republic’s credit card for an entire army. This crime goes undetected for ten years, and the Jedi never discover the perpetrator. Yoda and Windu, upon realizing their own abject failure, elect to intentionally withhold truthful, utterly critical information from the sovereign body to whom they are ostensibly subservient.

Yoda & Windu are so committed to this cover-up that

1) They do not even inform Chancellor or Senate that this army exists after the revelation of the separatists’ droid army. This revelation precipitates the political crisis that results in the Senate’s vote of special emergency powers to Palpatine as a roundabout way to authorize the army (Bail Organa, the Galactic Republic’s answer to Cato the Younger and Rand Paul, promised a fight to prevent direct Senate authorization). Yoda & Windu are personally present for this discussion. The critical, precedent-setting step that begins the slide from Republic to autocracy happens as a direct consequence of Yoda & Windu biting their tongues at this moment.

2) After observing the obliviously ex-post-facto authorization by Palpatine in the Senate (the Senate was certainly oblivious. One suspects Palpatine was not), Yoda then usurps military command of the clones, quite obviously without the Senate’s knowledge or consent, apparently hoping that no one will inquire as to how a clone army could be brought into existence within hours of its authorization. During the battle, Yoda admits that failure to kill Dooku (which they indeed fail to do, despite achieving tactical and strategic surprise) will almost certainly provoke more systems to defect to the separatists. Thus, Yoda’s unauthorized, usurped-command, failed decapitation strike is a political disaster of the first order for the Republic (being perceived to shoot first at separatists is always a bad look politically. Ask Gen. Gage or Lincoln, or um… Greedo). Yoda himself admitted the disaster as a corrective to Obi-Wan’s declaration of victory.

3) Windu goes directly to Geonosis and personally kills Jango Fett, who just so happens to be the best investigative lead into the origins of the fraud (specifically named in Obi-Wan’s report). Windu goes, in his words, “to help Obi-Wan.” However it is far from clear this is his primary objective. He specifically orders Anakin to stay put despite being best-positioned to help. He does not make haste to go there himself but rather waits unnecessarily until after the Senate vote. Last, upon getting to Geonosis, he does not make the rescue of Obi-Wan (he wouldn’t have known Anakin and Padme were there) his top personal priority. Instead, the first thing he does is put a lightsaber to Jango Fett’s throat, and once the melee ensues he seeks out and kills Fett, needlessly to boot — the killer strike is a follow-up to severing Fett’s hand. Even if Windu was honestly prioritizing the rescue of Obi-Wan, he shouldn’t have. Given the stakes of which Yoda was keenly aware, a surprise-kill of Dooku should have been the priority. Yet Windu winds into a Bond-villain-esque “you are doomed” monologue rather than go for the kill, and only a single Jedi later makes an attempt at Dooku. Windu got a lot of Jedi killed for what was at best an ancillary objective, and quite possibly in service to a cover-up.

The motive for this appalling cascade of lawlessness, military incompetence, and political disaster is most banal of political reasons: the information is embarrassing, and its revelation would result in diminution of power and influence. “If informed, the Senate is,” Yoda says, “multiply, our adversaries will.” That is scandalous on a level with few comparisons.

Yoda’s comment presents a puzzle. In context, adversaries clearly does not refer to the Sith. It is not clear to whom it does refer. There are two likely possibilities: It may refer to senatorial adversaries of the Jedi order, or it may refer to Yoda & Windu’s adversaries within the order. The latter reading is plausible because, atypically, Obi-Wan’s report from Kamino is delivered to Yoda and Windu alone rather than to the Jedi council corporately. Yoda & Windu may also be attempting to conceal their failure from that body.

The former reading is more interesting — why would the Jedi order have adversaries in the Senate, especially one from which disgruntled separatists have already seceded? We know they must, because by ROTS Palpatine states openly to Anakin that the Jedi are in a weak political position, and they implicitly agree by submitting to his abnormal request to place Anakin on the Council.

Let’s return to their agentes in rebus role. In an autocratic environment, the seat of authority is a singular will that can render definite approval/disapproval of the agente and his actions. In a republic, it’s not so clear — both sides to any dispute are likely to have senatorial representation, making any Jedi choice to resolve a dispute not only a political act but a partisan one. That’s not necessarily crippling — in our Trade Federation case, they seem to understand the Jedi represent a senatorial consensus (despite their own representation) and that their beef is with the Senate rather than with the Jedi as its agents.

But what if the Jedi on occasion impose a solution that doesn’t enjoy a consensus? Or if they are perceived to behave arrogantly and arbitrarily, against parties who aren’t obviously out of line? Or if they prematurely resort to force? In those cases, the object of the aggrieved party’s ire would rightly be the Jedi, for stepping outside their proper boundaries. It’s entirely plausible this could happen. Of the Jedi we observe in the field, only Obi-Wan seems to have any sense that he operates within politically-bounded limits and that his mandate from the Council reflects those limits. The rest seem to feel entitled to impose whatever they personally deem appropriate, which the Council and Senate will accept as fait accompli. While speculative, it is entirely believable that the Jedi order would accumulate hostility in this way. We should recall that the audience is given only a small and biased sample of both the Jedi and the Senate. We never see the Jedi B-team nor any anti-Jedi senator.

Cover-up is not the only morally dubious act of Windu & Yoda. When Qui-Gon is sent to escort Padme/Amidala back to Naboo on what is at minimum an exceptionally dangerous gambit and quite possibly a suicide mission, Windu & Yoda have no problems with Qui-Gon insisting that a 9-year old, untrained boy tag along. The pros/cons of this choice are not even debated, despite ongoing dispute over his training. They simply allow it as consequent to Anakin’s new status as Qui-Gon’s ward, which they likewise do not contest. They could plausibly be accused of attempting a David/Uriah maneuver with the insubordinate, frustrated Council-aspirant Qui-Gon (successful) and the inconvenient & dangerous Anakin (unsuccessful). Neither Windu nor Yoda are especially mournful at Qui-Gon’s funeral, and upon their return Yoda remains distinctly unhappy that Anakin has survived to become Obi-Wan’s padawan, openly dissenting from the Council’s choice in the matter. Yoda has a plausible motive for such skullduggery deriving from a personal conflict of interest: Anakin’s midi-chlorian count is “even higher than Master Yoda’s.” Anakin is an obvious future rival to Yoda as top dog within the order, a later repeated theme of Palpatine.

There is another grievous lapse of the Jedi generally and Yoda in particular that is partially moral and partially unfathomable incompetence. We learn that Count Dooku was the onetime padawan of none other than Yoda and that he was once well-enough regarded to have also been assigned Qui-Gon as his padawan. We are not told whether he was expelled from or quit the Jedi order, or on what grounds. In either case it reflects poorly on his teacher Yoda. The result of his ouster meant that the galaxy now had on the loose a highly Force-adept, Jedi-trained ronin of disreputable character who also would be liable to have a burning mortal hatred of the Jedi order. Such a person is an obvious, massive security risk (as he indeed becomes), dangerous not only to the general peace but to the Jedi specifically. Yet the Jedi do not even attempt to keep tabs on him. When a Sith lord appears for the first time in centuries and the Jedi’s vision become clouded, he is not even name-dropped as a potential suspect despite being personally known to Jedi senior leadership.

The Jedi commit additional inexcusable lapses in organizational competence

- Someone is able to access the archives to delete the existence of a planet. This apparently requires rare and high-level authorization. The data system apparently keeps no metadata to track who makes changes. They also apparently never audit their own data, since Obi-Wan easily proves by gravity that the missing planet must exist. Nonetheless, the archivist considers the records infallible truth, in spite of demonstrable proof otherwise and D- data security practices. The revelation of this breach should be a 5-alarm fire; Yoda finds it humorous.

- Obi-Wan seeks out an informant to teach him of what the Jedi are ignorant. Despite the demonstrable presence of assassins in the city potentially surveilling him, Obi-Wan decides to have this highly sensitive conversation in public, in broad daylight, sitting at a crowded diner, speaking loudly enough that anyone within twenty feet could overhear the discussion. His informant identifies a basic, fundamental failure of Jedi ballistics labs and then provides the requested information to Obi-Wan (along with additional information for which Obi-Wan did not know to ask) as if it were an open secret, well-known to certain sorts of people. As Mehta highlighted, the informant considers this situation typical and emblematic of the Jedi. To the best of the audience’s knowledge, Obi-Wan does not inform the Jedi of this institutional inadequacy.

- Despite their Mind Tricks, the Jedi do not apparently teach effective interrogation technique. When Obi-Wan speaks to Jango Fett, he adopts a tone of hostility despite having been mistaken for an ally and getting access to Jango under this guise. Had he simply remained in that pose he likely could easily have gotten the information he wanted, perhaps quite a bit more, and not placed himself in danger.

- The Jedi somehow never figure out (or perhaps feign ignorance) that one of their own, a Council member no less, is shacking up with a senator in the very capital in direct line-of-sight of the Jedi Temple. Neither do they know this is pursuant to a marriage.

- The Jedi are unable to detect the existence of “Order 66” among troops under their command. Based on information from AOTC, the clones are genetically engineered to be especially obedient and to grow up quickly, but are otherwise ordinary humans lacking any sort of cybernetic enhancement (perhaps this has changed by ROTS, but if so the audience isn’t informed). This contingent order would have had to have been disseminated to every single clone officer. Either this was done in the field, unbeknownst to the hundreds, perhaps thousands of Jedi serving as their superior officers, or else it was taught in whatever Officer Candidate School was operated by the cloners, which would have necessitated a great many non-clones also being privy. The clones would reasonably be supposed to be trained to high standards of information security, but even so, given the scale involved it is shocking the Jedi had not the slightest preparation, especially given their distrust of the Chancellor.

The Dooku situation was very nearly repeated with Anakin. On Geonosis Obi-Wan threatens Anakin with expulsion. Anakin reacts as if the threat has teeth, which means 1) The Jedi have well-defined red lines 2) The Jedi reliably enforce them. That means some number of ex-Jedi have actually crossed said red lines and been expelled in consequence. That means there are some number of Force-adept, Jedi-trained, embittered ronin floating around the galaxy, doing who knows what.

“Never attribute to conspiracy that which is adequately explained by incompetence,” is a dictum attributed to Napoleon. While acknowledging its wisdom, the supposition of nefarious conspiracy on the part of Windu and Yoda explains in a way mere incompetence does not the single most catastrophic, otherwise-inconceivably stupid choice the Jedi make in the entire prequel trilogy: assigning the not-yet-a-real-Jedi Anakin Skywalker as the personal bodyguard of Padme, in seclusion on Naboo. It is Yoda, supported by Windu, who proposes this action, which is taken over the objection of Obi-Wan.

One would reasonably suppose that knocking someone up would be one of the expulsion-from-the-order red lines the Jedi maintain. Padme states so herself in ROTS. Everything we see about the Jedi implies that strict chastity is expected of them. They look and act like monks. Obi-Wan and Anakin both radiate mild austere disgust at the lasciviousness of the nightclub in AOTC. It is mantra to them that strong personal attachments are dangerous traps. Outside of the romance between Anakin and Padme, we never once see a Jedi in a way that suggests they have wives, significant others, concubines, mistresses, friends-with-benefits, or slam-pieces. None (excepting again Anakin) are ever shown to have biological children.

If we suppose that Windu and Yoda retain a long-standing, rivalrous desire to prevent Anakin from becoming a Jedi, their advocacy of assigning Anakin to Padme becomes entirely rational (if no less destructive to the Jedi order and the Republic). They set him up to fail. They wanted his relationship with Padme to bloom into full-blown romance. They intentionally gave him an assignment before he was ready, tempting him where he was weakest. Even if Anakin doesn’t knock her up, the romance would likely lead him to actions that would be grounds for expulsion (as indeed it very nearly does on Geonosis). Yoda and Windu never explain why they think it’s such a good idea. When Obi-Wan objects to the decision, they pull rank and shame him (grossly unfairly — Obi Wan respectfully lodges his objection in private rather than publicly gainsay their wisdom) rather than give him a legitimate reason to ignore his objection.

What would they have done with an expelled Anakin? Shrug their shoulders when the single-most Force-capable being they had ever encountered, a 19-year old with an adolescent brat’s maturity, an orphan’s rage at the universe, and a dictatorial bent roamed free? Judging by precedent, probably so. He’d have been quite the embittered ronin.

The Jedi Trials are spoken of as if passage is far from foregone. What becomes of the failures? What to people alienated from their family from early childhood and trained to be Jedi do for a living when their life ambition is crushed? Yet more Force-adept, Jedi-trained, embittered ronin at large. Dooku is not unique. The Jedi order is not only the keeper of the peace but also the petri dish in which the most malignant threats to the peace incubate. Palpatine was right: the Senate was not the source of the Republic’s problems; the Jedi order was source of the Republic’s problems.

Validating Palpatine’s judgement does not mean validating his character. He is deceptive and duplicitous, feeding Anakin several outright lies. The massacre of the younglings is so gratuitous Herod himself would blanche. Like most shrewd deceivers though, he is effective because his constructions are built upon a great deal of uncomfortable truth.

PALPATINE: Anakin, you know I’m not able to rely on the Jedi Council. If they haven’t included you in their plot, they soon will.
ANAKIN: I’m not sure I understand.
PALPATINE: You must sense what I have come to suspect . . . the Jedi Council want control of the Republic . . . they’re planning to betray me.
ANAKIN: I don’t think . . .
PALPATINE: Anakin, search your feelings. You know, don’t you?
ANAKIN: I know they don’t trust you . . .
PALPATINE: Or the Senate . . . or the Republic . . . or democracy for that matter.
ANAKIN: I have to admit my trust in them has been shaken.
PALPATINE: Why? They asked you to do something that made you feel dishonest, didn’t they?
ANAKIN [doesn’t say anything. He simply looks down.]
PALPATINE: They asked you to spy on me, didn’t they?
ANAKIN: I don’t know … I don’t know what to say.
PALPATINE: Remember back to your early teachings. Anakin. “All those who gain power are afraid to lose it.” Even the Jedi.
ANAKIN: The Jedi use their power for good.
PALPATINE: Good is a point of view, Anakin. And the Jedi point of view is not the only valid one. The Dark Lords of the Sith believe in security and justice also, yet they are considered by the Jedi to be. . .
ANAKIN: . . . evil.
PALPATINE: . . . from a Jedi’s point of view. The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power. The difference between the two is the Sith are not afraid of the dark side of the Force. That is why they are more powerful.
ANAKIN: The Sith rely on their passion for their strength. They think inward, only about themselves.
PALPATINE: And the Jedi don’t?
ANAKIN: The Jedi are selfless . . . they only care about others.
PALPATINE [smiles] Or so you’ve been trained to believe. Why is it, then, that they have asked you to do something you feel is wrong?
ANAKIN: I’m not sure it’s wrong.
PALPATINE: Have they asked you to betray the Jedi code? The Constitution? A friendship? Your own values? Think. Consider their motives. Keep your mind clear of assumptions. The fear of losing power is a weakness of both the Jedi and the Sith.
ANAKIN [deep in thought]

Palpatine is highly manipulative here, weaving in all manner of relativistic sophistry, loaded language, and unverifiable claims about the Sith, but it works because they are woven into a core of truth about Jedi behavior. He even makes a prediction, the accuracy of which is what seals the deal for Anakin’s loyalty (and note, does not actually depend upon or validate any of his value judgments or Sith claims).

The attempted arrest of Palpatine by Windu is indeed a putsch. Windu accuses Palpatine of no specific offense. As best we can tell there’s no automatic “…but Sith!” exception for Chancellor eligibility. Windu makes his arrest “in the name of the Senate of the Galactic Republic,” but everything else indicates this is entirely arrogated bluster. Given the speed at which Windu moves on Palpatine after news of Grievous’s demise, it’s impossible he’s had any meaningful consultation with the Senate on the matter. Earlier in ROTS he claimed, “The Senate is controlled by the chancellor,” which likely means the Senate would not have approved of his move ex ante and that Windu is arrogating this authority on the sort of false-consciousness theory beloved of self-serving revolutionaries everywhere. It’s not even clear he’s consulted with the Jedi Council, either — Council member Anakin only learns of it by encountering Windu en route. If the Council had indeed agreed to this course of action (which they had contemplated previously), it must have done so well in advance, without Anakin’s involvement, and thus also without the knowledge Palpatine was indeed a Sith lord (i.e. the exact sort of information that might change the Senate’s mind). That is exactly what Palpatine predicted — a plot against him for control of the Republic, from which Anakin was excluded.

If one is to attribute the faults of the Republic to the Jedi, there is an important question to resolve. If the Jedi are at fault, how is it the Republic endured for so long, with the dysfunction witnessed in the Star Wars saga only of recent vintage?

We have established, indirectly, a model of how the Jedi are supposed to operate. Operating in this mode requires a high level of ethical commitment from the top, with a firm sense of the proper boundaries to stay within and an iron commitment to doing so. Such a leadership must have existed at some point, but we sure don’t see it in any of the Star Wars prequels. A corrupted institution is ultimately the fault of its leadership. “One generation away from extinction” is only half-right, though. It really takes two generations of leadership to rot an institution to the point of condemnation: one to poorly police itself of the subversive and a second to effectively police itself of the faithful.

Only one Jedi possesses the longevity to be complicit in both generations. The entire crop of Jedi leadership in the prequels deserves blame, but he deserves singling out for special responsibility. Only he could supplement long institutional knowledge of how things worked in the past with personal experience. Only he possessed the respect, the seniority, the auctoritas within the Jedi order to drive change. Instead, he cast his lot in with the schemers and revolutionaries. He jealously guarded his own prestige at incalculable cost to both the order and the Republic itself. He bears personal responsibility for training the Republic’s most dangerous military threat and again for instigating a great war by his failure to extinguish it. When sought for wisdom he provided John Lennon nihilism wrapped in the pseudo-profundity of vagueness. He repays the respect and admiration given him with contempt. In a final insult, he casually dismisses the fabled prophecy held dearly by the Jedi, to which some have staked their career and lives, averring that it was, perhaps, “misread.” It is this person above all who must rightly be regarded as the great villain of the fall of the Republic.

His name is Yoda.

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