Why the Sith aren't so bad after all

Hi all, I thought I would provide an interesting perspective on Star Wars and argue for the case of the Sith. Before we dive in I’d like to cover a little bit of the history behind the Sith and the philosophy of their code. Based on Star Wars canon and legends continuity, the Sith started from a great schism of Dark Jedi from the original Jedi or Jed’aii order depending on canon or legends. Dark Jedi were exiled to the outer rim of the galaxy like a disease by light adherent Jedi. The Dark Jedi eventually found the world Korriban where the native race was known as Sith. Through the mixing of Dark Jedi and the Sith race’s philosophy, the concept of a Dark Lord of the Sith was born. The Jedi didn’t like this emergence and commited genocide against the Sith race and Dark Jedi. The tragic thing was, through the centuries of war and genocide the original Sith race was wiped out from the galaxy.

In light of this context, it shows the self-righteous Jedi as being the first transgressors in the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Since that genocide, the Sith, describing those who follow the Sith code and philosophy, have been trying to enact revenge on the Jedi. Had the Jedi not been so ruthless and dogmatic it’s quite possible that the conflict spanning millennia of galactic warfare between the Jedi and Sith wouldn’t have started.

To really argue for the case of the Sith I’m going to have to look into their code and see how it compares with the Jedi’s. The Sith and Jedi codes are polar opposites and arguably two sides to the same coin.

The Jedi code reads:
There is no emotion, there is peace
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge
There is no passion, there is serenity
There is no chaos, there is harmony
There is no death, there is the Force

The Sith code reads:
Peace is a lie, there is only passion
Through passion, I gain strength
Through strength, I gain power
Through power, I gain victory
The Force shall break my chains

Let’s unpack what the Jedi code means. According to the code, a Jedi should strive to be calm and at peace at all times, be knowledgeable rather than ignorant, be serene rather than passionate, and seek to bring harmony rather than chaos. A Jedi has no fear of death because “there is only the Force”. At face value, the code exudes a lot of good virtues: peace, serenity, knowledge, harmony, and courage. The problem is that the Jedi fail to practice what they preach. Ever since the first Jedi Schism the Jedi have succumbed to fear of the Darkside, which has translated to having a fear of the unknown. The Jedi choose to be ignorant of the Darkside, of their past crimes, and their own darker natures. They use their code as a mantra that reassures them that they are still the “good guys” that they are still fighting for the light. As Grandmaster Yoda is quoted as saying: “Fear is a path to the Darkside. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering”. This is especially true between the Jedi and Sith. The Fear of the Darkside and Sith teaching led to anger and hatred against the Dark Jedi and Sith race which led to the subsequent suffering and genocide of the Sith race and centuries of galactic conflict. This wasn’t the only occurrence of galactic scale genocide by the Jedi either. Revan was ruthless against the Mandalorian warriors and activated a terrifying weapon called “The Mass Shadow Generator” on Malachor V. The thing is the Darkside really isn’t that bad. When properly harnessed the Darkside can also do a lot of good. According to legends, the ancient Rakata used the Darkside in their technology and even discovered hyperspace routes using the Darkside of the Force. The ancient Sith used Force blades of Darkside energy which became the inspiration for the first modern lightsaber.

This obsessive fear of the Darkside led to other atrocities committed by the Jedi. The Jedi may be quick to condemn the Sith for having used slave labor but the Jedi are just as guilty. The Jedi coerce parents to give up Force-sensitive children age two or younger. This is great for parents who were in favor of giving up their children for adoption but what about the parennts that don’t want to let go of their children regardless of their Force potential? Well, it is my understanding that the Jedi would do anything they can to convince the parents to surrender their children. Including but not limited to credits, Force persuasion, blackmail, and physical violence. Jedi then brainwashed these Force sensitive children into their order at an early age. When Jedi younglings grew to early adolescence they were deemed ready to become Padawans. Anakin Skywalker was still a young teen, 16 at most, when he fought on Geonosis and faced Count Dooku in lightsaber combat. It’s my understanding that Ahsoka Tano was even younger, perhaps 12-14 when she first became Anakin’s Padawan and fought in the Clone Wars. The Jedi are raising Force wielding child soldiers.They believe that training them young would help them resist the temptations of the world and fight against the Darkside. However I would argue that it’s this very same practice of exposing younglings to violence which traumatized them an made them more vulnerable to turning to the Darkside. Consider Anakin Skywalker and Bariss Offee as an example. The Sith on the other hand tend to take in adults in their order. Preferring someone with life experience and knowledge outside of their religion.

Compared to the Jedi Code the Sith Code is far more practical and easier to live by. Rather than denying one’s emotions like the Jedi do the Sith embrace theirs. The Sith seek knowledge of all apsects of the Force, including the more feared practices, such as the Darkside. Rather than giving empty platitudes the Sith Code provides a road map for how one can gain strength and power from their passions and use said power to achieve victory and freedom. With this freedom one also gains peace and tranquility.

The Sith’s drive and passion was hijacked by a burning hatred for the Jedi. Had the Sith not been so terribly wronged they may have figured out ways to express more aspects of human emotion besides anger and hatred. The Jedi are at the core of this never-ending cycle of warfare in the Galaxy. Neither order can be seen as good or virtuous. They both have fallen in different ways after the great schism. In order for the galaxy to truly return to peace, Force wielders must put down their lightsabers and really listen and learn from each other. It’s not natural to deny one’s own emotions. Nor is it natural to let one’s emotions run rampant, being only controlled by one’s ID. True balance and goodness lies somewhere in the middle of these two ideologies. Power needs to be led by wisdom and wisdom needs the power to enact change.

Lastly, I just realized that the Star Wars movies are written from the perspective of the Jedi. We regard the Sith as evil because we are essentially told that by the Jedi. Regardless of whether or not the Sith were around during the Clone Wars era the Trade Federation would have still revolted against the Republic and it is very likely that the Separatists would have built a droid army with or without Count Dooku’s help. Had Palpatine not planned for the Clone Army to counter it the Republic would have likely fell. The clones kept the war relatively bloodless. By bloodless I mean that the only significant casualties were Jedi Knights and Clone Troopers. Far less than would have been if Republic citizens were conscripted into the military. Keep in mind that Palpatine was voted into the office of Supreme Chancellor legally. The Jedi didn’t have any significant evidence against Palpatine when Mace Windu and the rest of the Jedi Council came to arrest him. The Jedi were arguably in the wrong here. It doesn’t matter what religion Palpatine subscribed to, you can’t just arrest the galactic president on the testimony of one Jedi Knight. That would be a little like the Christian church trying to arrest the US president because someone testified that he was the antichrist. While Order 66 was tragic, Palpatine was well within his legal right to issue that order as pre-determined by Republic law. Arresting the Supreme Chancellor without significant evidence and fighting him when he resisted constitutes a betrayal of the Republic. The Jedi were also considering taking over the Republic government had Palpatine continued his term after Grevious’ death, that isn’t their decision to make. The Jedi Order became too arrogant, believing themselves to have the market cornered on justice, they were wrong and it was this belief that became their downfall. The Sith Order, on the other hand, acknowledges it’s faults and seeks to improve. The Sith have gone through many iterations throughout the centuries while the Jedi remained stagnant. This all culminated with Darth Sidious and the rise of the Galactic Empire.

This has been Malevek’s TEDTalk. :wink:

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Hi Ronovi, thanks. I was inspired to write more about my ideas here since they seemed to be well received on Telegram. :smile:

I guess I’m going to let myself get dragged into this conversation. I’d like to address you point by point here, and make some counterpoints and address issues I see.

You seem to be misinformed on the origin of the Sith. I haven’t read the source material, but according to Wookieepedia (take that as you will), there were two significant wars that started the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. The Sith were founded from a sect of Jedi who chose to separate from the Order. Shortly after this, a civil war broke out between the two factions. While the article doesn’t mention who the aggressor in this war was, they do point out that the end-goal of the war is to accrue more power. There is one faction in particular that is known for their ruthless and all-consuming pursuit of power, that is the Sith.

The second war comes about post the Sith’s defeat and exile after the civil war. The Sith are clearly the aggressors in this conflict, forming an army and attacking the Republic. So, with those two pieces of evidence in mind, I’m going to have to put forward that your assertion is wrong. The Jedi were not the original transgressors in the war between the Jedi and the Sith.

You say the Jedi fail to practice what they preach when discussing the two codes, yet you don’t provide any kind of evidence for your claims. You say they fear the Dark Side and the unknown, but there is no evidence of that. They rightfully choose to oppose the Sith because of the multiple wars the Sith have brought to the galaxy, but never is it implied they have a fear of the Sith. In fact, once they encounter a Sith after a supposed millenia of extinction (Darth Maul), their first order is not to panic and hide, it is to go on the offensive and try to draw the Sith out to learn more.

You mention that the Dark Side can be used for good, and that isn’t wrong. However, you’re missing the entire context of these philosophies. It’s true, someone can do good things while being a Sith and bad things while being a Jedi, but that is exactly why the codes exist, to remind you of what drives you. Jedi seek harmony and peace, and through that tranquility and leaving behind more base emotions allow them to focus on the bigger picture and leave their personal feelings out of a conflict. The Sith are the exact opposite in that they embrace their emotions and passions. This being the source of their power means their drives and base desires are amplified to the nth degree. A Sith will chase after their passions in pursuit of more power, leading to a vicious cycle of destruction and self-cannibalization. That is why Yoda says the Dark Side leads to suffering and why the Jedi oppose the Sith. To fully give yourself over to emotion and passion and let that be your guide will almost always lead to corruption and the ability for you to only think inwardly.

Now, the real sticker for me. The whole “child slaves” argument. First of all, the Jedi aren’t supposed to be soldiers. The fact that they end up fighting in the Clone Wars at all is one of their biggest failings and a demonstration of the rot that has taken hold in the order. The Order is extremely old and has become arrogant in its peace and complacency. As much as you want to try to paint the Jedi as bad guys, they don’t kidnap children and they don’t brainwash them either. The children are given up willingly by their parents, who are not coerced by any means necessary, not sure where you picked that up from. It’s always optional. And a Jedi can choose to leave the Order once they become an adult if they so choose, Dooku being evidence of that. Teaching a child philosophy and a way of life is not brainwashing.

Anakin is 19 in Attack of the Clones, I thought that was fairly common knowledge. He is 9 in Phantom Menace and there is a 10 year break between the two. Young, but far from being a child. The age of many enlisted men and women in our own military. As for Ahsoka, yes, she was too young to be fighting in a war. And yes, it was wrong to send her into war, but again, the Clone Wars were not a regular occurrence. The Republic had been at peace for a thousand years and the Jedi didn’t have a habit of sending children into warzones, the Clone Wars were an event that caught them off guard and their poor judgement lead to many mistakes being made. Having child soldiers is a not a core aspect of the Jedi Order.

You offer two examples of young Jedi falling to the Dark Side out of the hundreds, if not thousands of Jedi we see throughout the Prequel era. The exception does not make the rule. The Jedi teachings do not consistently push children towards Dark Side corruption, there’s no evidence of that. Need I remind you Anakin’s case is unique because he was accepted into the Order at an older age, something the Jedi knew was dangerous and did anyway, and he was personally manipulated by a Sith Lord for his entire adolescence. Not exactly your every day Jedi student.

Yes, the Sith Code is easier to live by. That’s the whole point. The Dark Side is the easy path to power. However, if you want true enlightenment and wisdom, you must practice the much harsher way of the Jedi. Pretty basic stuff. Yoda spells this out for the viewer in Empire.

The Trade Federation was only pushed to invade Naboo by Palpatine. They would not have done that if not for Palpatine’s urging. Yes, the Seperatist movement was inevitable, but it did not have to come in the form of a war. Dooku and Palpatine were working behind the scenes to make sure both sides had an army. Keep in mind, the Republic didn’t have an army. They couldn’t have fought a galaxy wide war even if the Seperatists wanted war. The CIS simply would have seceded from the Republic maybe after some minor conflicts and a lot of political backstabbing, but a war as massive as the Clone Wars would not have happened without Palpatine’s manipulation.

I agree, the Jedi we see in the Prequels are definitely arrogant and not perfectly adherent to the Jedi Code. They have flaws and make mistakes. But that is exactly why they end up falling and Luke gets the opportunity to rebuild the Jedi Order from scratch, so he can return it to its former glory. Not Yoda, not Obi-Wan, Luke. Luke, the guy who was never a part of the old, broken version of the Jedi Order.

The whole discussion on Palpatine’s arrest is a big to-do I could get into but honestly I’m feeling a bit spent after typing up this response, so maybe some other time I’ll get into that. All in all, I agree, the Jedi aren’t perfect, but they’re definitely the good guys. Especially when compared to the Sith.

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Hi Khryso, first of all, I want to thank you for writing such an in-depth response. I thought I would try my hand in being controversial with this post by playing the “Devil’s advocate” sort of speak. This was a fun post to write and based on your response you seem to have liked it as well? My first point about the origin of the Sith and the Jedi highlights the fact that the Jedi or Jed’aii became unbalanced. At one point they acknowledged and used both sides of the Force but now they exclusively use the Light side, believing that Light makes right if you will. I confess that this time period can be quite confusing. The Wookiepedia article on the Sith makes it sound as though they left voluntarily. However if one reads a Wookiepedia article on the Hundred Years of Darkness it explains how the rogue dark Jedi was exiled along with his followers. Since I was writing a case for the Sith I leaned more heavily on that exile. Also, according to the SA academy legends courses, the Dark Jedi were exiled following the Battle of Corbos. The Dark Jedi would eventually stumble on Korriban, later known as Moraband, which had an indigenous population of the Sith species. Sith as a species are red-skinned and have tendrils on their face. Had the Light and Dark Jedi not separated and chose instead for knowledge and understanding there wouldn’t have been a galactic spanning conflict in the first place.

The Jedi code is great in theory but I think it’s terrible in practice. Yes, whenever possible a person should strive for harmony and peace. However, control over one’s emotions later gets interpreted by the Jedi as never being allowed to show any at all. This can be seen by the Clone Wars Era Jedi where, as an example, all attachments are forbidden. Why do they do this? It’s because “the fear of loss is a path to the Darkside”. Jedi Grandmaster Yoda is quoted as saying “once you tap into the Darkside, forever it will control your destiny”. It’s because of this belief that Jedi hold a tight restriction on their own emotions. However such restrictions are unnecessary, control over one’s emotions shouldn’t prohibit one to love or be loved as an example. Jedi Luke Skywalker proved that love is not the enemy, rather it is through love that people can be redeemed. Luke Skywalker also felt anger and temporarily used that anger when fighting Darth Vader. Palpatine tried to goad Luke into believing that he was no longer a Jedi because he used his anger in a similar manner a Sith would. However, Luke saw through this deception and realized that feeling anger or love does not make one evil, it makes one human. As for Anakin Skywalker’s downfall, it wasn’t because of his love for Padme that he turned but rather his inability to process emotions and let go should she have died. Had the Jedi order better prepared him to process his own emotions he probably would have been able to resist his terrifying visions about Padme’s death.

Obviously the Sith have their problems to. One shouldn’t become a slave to their passion and emotions either. However, capitalism and modern society are filled with bright and talented entrepreneurs who applied their skills and passions to gain money, power, and change the world. There is nothing wrong with seeking out power, however, I would caution that one doesn’t take that ambition to the same sort of extremes showcased in Star Wars. Real control over one’s emotions lies somewhere in the middle between the Sith and Jedi philosophies. Tap into your emotions where applicable but should one’s passions guide them to immoral acts then one needs to reign their feelings in with wisdom so they are equipped to do the right thing. Both the Sith and Jedi philosophies have their strengths and weaknesses. The Sith need better control over their impulses while the Jedi could learn to loosen their emotions from the Sith. The galaxy would be at peace if both the Jedi and Sith stopped their ceaseless fighting and released that they had a lot to learn from each other.

I forgot how old Anakin was during the second episode. I thought he was only 16 at the time, he looked quite young. In Anakin’s case, I don’t think he was emotionally mature enough or ready for the conflicts he faced regardless of his age. He had a lot of emotional baggage from being a slave on Tatooine. He needed to be trained by the best the Jedi council had to offer rather than a recently minted Jedi Knight, Obi Wan Kenobi. By recently minted I’m referring to Obi Wan’s promotion in Episode 1 from Padawan to Knight. I admit that the Clone Wars was an event that threw everyone for a loop. However, I do not believe this excuses the Jedi of their mistakes. The Jedi have been through many wars in the past and in none of those have I heard of young Padawan teenagers being sent to the front lines of battle. If anything, the Jedi bringing young ones to the front lines highlights how far they have fallen from their past ideals.

Star Wars is a space fantasy and as such there are going to be some inconsistencies between what is shown and real life. Had this been real life I would imagine a far greater amount of traumatized Padawans falling to the Darkside than what is shown on screen. You are right though, the few that do fall are the exception rather than the rule. Practically speaking I don’t know how that would be possible.

I’m not certain if the Trade Federation would have or wouldn’t have invaded Naboo without Palpatine’s prompting. Do you have a Wookiepedia article or something from the movies to back that up? I’m sure that Dooku and Palpatine’s manipulations didn’t help with the conflict between the Separatists and the Republic. However, I’m not convinced that their dispute wouldn’t have lead to war between the two factions anyways. It’s up to anyone’s guess how large a Palpatine-less war would have been. I think we could agree to disagree there. :smile:

I look forward to seeing whatever you have to write concerning Palpatine’s arrest. This is a fun conversation that I’m having with you and I hope that you are having fun with it as well. :smile:

You’re correct in the assertion that if the Sith and Jedi had never split into separate factions, they would never have gone to war. However, a lot of your points in the first paragraph seem to just be conjecture on your part. In what I’ve read I’ve never seen the bits about the ancient Jedi having studied both the light and dark side of the Force equally. That’s what caused the original schism in the first place. Clearly, when studying the Force, the Jedi formed their philosophy around the central tenant that the Light Side is inherently less destructive and dangerous than the Dark Side so they chose to follow that path. A portion of the Jedi, however, wanted the easy way to power and leaned upon the Dark Side, bringing about the original civil war. Of course a balance could theoretically work as a better philosophy, but you seem to be operating from the perspective that there is something wrong baked into the Light Side and the Jedi Code by itself, which, in my opinion, you have yet to prove.

You talk about restricting emotions as a negative and I completely disagree. Jedi training is about gaining mastery over your emotions and not letting them control you. A basic skill most adults in the real world have, albeit, to a lesser degree than Jedi practice it. You mention attachments and love as if they are the same but completely ignore the fact that we know in Jedi philosophy they are entirely different things. Anakin talks to Padme about this in Attack of the Clones. Love and compassion are things that are encouraged by the Jedi. Caring for something or someone, there is nothing wrong with that. Attaching yourself to that thing, however, is forbidden. The reason for this is simple. When you attach yourself to something, that thing then becomes important to you. As a Jedi, you have many duties; it is a life of sacrifice and service where you are giving up your chance to live a normal life and instead work to serve the Force and the peace and harmony of the universe. If you have something important to you, a personal attachment, that thing then becomes more important than your service to the Order and the Force. Anakin is a perfect example of why this philosophy is an aspect of the Order. He valued Padme’s life above literally anything else, so he was willingly to throw away the entire Jedi Order and his own humanity in order to save her. Again, Anakin was a unique case among the Jedi. He was accepted much older than most and was made a knight younger than most. He was personally being manipulated by a Sith Lord. Using Anakin as an example of the failure of Jedi philosophy is a bad idea. A few individual Jedi failed him if anything, not the entire Order or philosophy.

I see the throne room fight between Luke and Vader get misinterpreted so often and it really is starting to irk me. Luke’s brush with darkness was not supposed to be some kind of declaration about how the Jedi should find harmony with the Dark Side. It was Luke becoming Vader. He was going there, he was about to take the final step into becoming a Sith and falling to the Dark Side. However, he saw what he had become, he saw his future in Vader and was able to pull himself back to the light and resist the temptation to give in to his emotions. Feeling love is never portrayed as something evil to the Jedi.

“However, capitalism and modern society are filled with bright and talented entrepreneurs who applied their skills and passions to gain money, power, and change the world.” Come on, you know this isn’t even close to the same thing that we’re talking about. Applying your skills and passions to build something constructive is nowhere near the same as handing yourself over to your emotions and passions to ruthlessly seek ever increasing levels of power. You talk about real control over your emotions lying between the Jedi and Sith philosophies, but that couldn’t lie further from the truth. The Jedi and Sith are opposites, and this is a perfect example of that. The Jedi have control over their emotions while the Sith are controlled by their emotions. That is the dichotomy between them and meeting halfway doesn’t serve the Jedi at all. I don’t believe the Jedi philosophy is 100% perfect either, but the Sith philosophy is extremely toxic whereas the Jedi philosophy isn’t.

Yes, Anakin is emotionally immature. Like I said earlier, however, this is not a failing of the Jedi Order or the Jedi philosophy, this is the failure of a few specific individuals who did not handle the situation in the most ideal manner. I never excused the Jedi for the mistakes they made during the Clone Wars or prequels, I simply explained the reason. The nature of the discussion was, I assumed, a contrast of the Sith and the Jedi as a whole, a comparison of their philosophies, codes, and deeds throughout the millenia. Not the specific mistakes and misinterpretations of those philosophies that were made. You point out how the modern Jedi have fallen from their past ideals and I agree wholeheartedly, that was a point I made. The Jedi Order has become corrupted and lost sight of what mattered, which was why they ended up being destroyed.

“Star Wars is a space fantasy and as such there are going to be some inconsistencies between what is shown and real life. Had this been real life I would imagine a far greater amount of traumatized Padawans falling to the Darkside than what is shown on screen. You are right though, the few that do fall are the exception rather than the rule. Practically speaking I don’t know how that would be possible.”

^That whole paragraph, wowee. Based on nothing at all and just random conjecture on your part. You don’t really have any evidence of any of that, it’s all just kinda your opinion, so I can’t really address it. Just gonna have to say I disagree.

The next paragraph, however, I can’t agree to disagree. I don’t need a Wookieepedia article to prove my points, it’s directly in the movie. Throughout the first two acts of the Phantom Menace the Neimoidians are panicking and constantly asking Palpatine if this is a really good idea. They later on straight up say they regret doing it. “We should not have made this bargain” (from the scene where Palpatine introduces Gunray to Darth Maul). With the Naboo invasion not taking place, Palpatine would not have been elected Chancellor. The Republic DID NOT HAVE AN ARMY. Even if they wanted to, they could not have fought a war against the Separatists. Without Palpatine there to make them an army and coerce them into giving him emergency powers, the war literally could not have happened. (Also important to note that if the invasion of Naboo never happened, JarJar would never have been in the Senate to give Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers, but that’s splitting hairs a bit too far for me).

Now I’ll discuss Palpatine’s arrest scene because I’ve had the chance to really collect my thoughts on it.

Scene:

Mace is in the hanger of the Jedi Temple discussing something we don’t hear with some other Jedi. Anakin approaches.

Anakin: “Master Windu, I must talk to you.”

Mace: “Skywalker. We’ve just received word that Obi-Wan has destroyed General Grievous. We’re on our way to make sure the Chancellor returns emergency power back to the Senate.”

Anakin: “He won’t give up his power. I just learned a terrible truth. I think Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord.”

Mace: “A Sith Lord?”

Anakin: “Yes, the one we’ve been looking for.”

Mace: “How do you know this?”

Anakin: “He knows the ways of the Force. He’s been trained to use the Dark Side.”

Mace: “Are you sure?”

Anakin: “Absolutely.”

Mace: “Then our worst fears have been realized. We must move quickly if the Jedi Order is to survive.”

Anakin: “Master, the Chancellor is very powerful. You will need my help if you’re going to arrest him.”

Scene continues with Mace telling Anakin to stay put and then taking off to go confront Palpatine. A few key things are established here. Anakin (who was earlier given the assignment to spy on Palpatine) has told Mace Windu he is “absolutely” sure Palpatine is the Sith they have been searching for for 13 years. The Sith that Dooku told Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones controls the entire Senate. Anakin also makes it clear that Chancellor Palpatine will not give up his emergency powers. Emergency powers that, by the way, have extended Palpatine’s term beyond the legal term limit. Emergency powers that were, as told to us by the movie, to be given up once General Grievous was killed. That means that if Palpatine wants to stay in power, he will be making a play. So, as Mace says, they must “move quickly if the Jedi Order is to survive.” They are expecting this will be the moment for Palpatine to make his move. First hand testimony from the spy you specifically sent to spy on the Chancellor seems like plenty of evidence, but also clear motive to act. Mace entered the room to arrest Palpatine a bit aggressively, I’ll give you that, but Palpatine is the one who advances it into actual physical violence.

Your comparison to the Christian church arresting the president is a bit nonsensical considering that the Jedi function as an arm of the Republic where the Christian church and the US government are two completely separate entities that have nothing to do with each other. An analogy that completely misses the mark.

“While Order 66 was tragic, Palpatine was well within his legal right to issue that order as pre-determined by Republic law.” Yeah, maybe it was technically legal, but we all know he wasn’t doing it because the Jedi were trying to take over. He did it because he had to make his move then or be discovered. He did it because it was part of his plan all along to kill the Jedi and rule the galaxy.

“Arresting the Supreme Chancellor without significant evidence and fighting him when he resisted constitutes a betrayal of the Republic.” Big yikes on this. Arresting the Chancellor when you plan to give him to the Senate to be put on trial isn’t a betrayal of the Republic. It might not be entirely legal or perfectly ethical (we don’t have the Republic Constitution or whatever to read, so we can’t know either way), but I’m pretty sure Mace is perfectly justified in defending himself when Palpatine starts killing Jedi who, by the way, haven’t attacked him. The Jedi simply walked in, ignited their lightsabers, and told Palpatine they were arresting him. Palpatine is the one who started the fighting and committed multiple fatalities before the Jedi even had a chance to defend themselves.

“The Jedi were also considering taking over the Republic government had Palpatine continued his term after Grevious’ death, that isn’t their decision to make.” Says you. All their doing is taking control to ensure a peaceful transition. Whether they would have kept control I GUESS is debatable, but, let’s be honest, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on with that. None of the Jedi seem particularly interested in having control of the Republic, only making sure things stay peaceful. Again, Palpatine has manipulated the system so that he can stay in office past his term. Him suddenly having to step down with the unexpected end of the war combined with the slow beauracracy of the Senate that has clearly been established in the Prequels will definitely cause a lot of chaos while its being resolved.

The Sith Order generally does not acknowledge its faults. Sure, there have been a couple Sith that have shaken up the system to try and improve it, but there have also been plenty of Jedi who see the corruption in the Order and try to fix it. Acting like the Sith are self aware is pretty laughable. Yes, the stagnation of the Jedi is an issue, but I think I’ve touched on that plenty.

Ugh this was a long one to write up. I’m sure I’ve missed some things but I don’t want to have to comb through all this again to make sure. Anything I missed I guess I’ll just cede by default.

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Hi Khryso, I want to thank you for this interesting conversation. Since my character is a Sith on the DJB I thought I would challenge myself by arguing for the Sith with the original post. It has been quite a challenge since at the end of the day you are right about the Jedi and Sith. While yes the Jedi have their faults they aren’t nearly as bad as the Sith. It is better to be a stoic and at times hypocritical Jedi than a hate-filled, murder happy Sith. Since I was trying to argue for the underdog it was only a matter of time before my arguments would be thrown down the proverbial reactor shaft :smile:. In the interest of keeping an interesting conversation going though I thought I would write on the following points.

In Star Wars Rebels the Ashla and Bogan are mentioned by the Force user known as Bendu. Ashla and Bogan were originally written in Star Wars legends as the moons of Tython. With Tython being among the first places where the Jed’aii and later known Jedi Order originated. Wookiepedia explains that they used both sides of the Force equally and were balanced in that regard. The Ashla moon was used as a nexus for the Lightside and the Bogan moon became a nexus for the Darkside. It is my understanding that ancient Force users would send unstable wielders to one of the two moons, depending on whether they used too much Light or Dark. I think that this concept of being balanced with both sides of the Force is cool. It’s up to one’s personal interpretation if such a thing is possible though. https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Ashla_(moon), https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Bogan

I see the Jedi and Sith as having different interpretations of what control over one’s emotions mean. The Sith seek control over their emotions in the sense that they desire to harness it as a fuel for their power. The Jedi seek control by practicing restraint. Restraint is good so long as it isn’t interpreted as shutting off one’s emotions, which could potentially be unhealthy. I interpret that this is part of the problem with Anakin Skywalker. He had so many feelings that he didn’t have a healthy release for. I agree that self-discipline is good. One shouldn’t be zapping pedestrians with Sith lightning on a whim. If your emotions are in complete control of your actions then you become nothing more than a barbarian or beast. However, on the other extreme, a Jedi that inhibits all their emotions risks losing the capacity for the love and compassion that you describe.

You mentioned a key difference between showing love and compassion towards something and growing attached. I wonder, is it really possible to show love and compassion towards something and not grow attached? This isn’t an argument so much as a legitimate question. I think that the Jedi risk growing attached to the Republic that they serve rather than serving the greater good. Ethically speaking, I have a problem with the Republic clone army. I see it as akin to playing god in people’s lives, literally breeding men for warfare. Since I was arguing for the Sith, I had to frame the creation of the clone army as a good thing. It did arguably keep the war primarily between the clones and the separatist droids, thus greatly reducing civilian casualties. I think Palpatine was banking on the Jedi’s love, attachment, and service to the Republic. Hoping that the Jedi would involve themselves in the war that he orchestrated.

I’m sorry if I irked you with a different interpretation of the Luke/Vader fight. Your interpretation certainly is valid. During the fight, Palpatine was trying to convince Luke that because he tapped into the Darkside and used anger in his fight with Vader that he was irredeemable. That Luke should just strike Vader down and become Palpatine’s apprentice already. A similar game was played between Anakin and Palpatine. Anakin made a split-second decision which resulted in Mace Windu’s death. Anakin laments by saying “What have I done!?” and Palpatine responds “You are fulfilling your destiny”. Making a mistake in life doesn’t make one irredeemable or unable to do good in the future. You aren’t evil because you tapped into your anger during a fight. One has to choose to be evil. You are only as irredeemable as you think you are.

The point that I was trying to make regarding real-life entrepreneurs is that the Sith Code isn’t that bad of a philosophy. In our real-world, there can be a lot of benefits to harnessing our emotions and passions towards constructive efforts. The downfall of the Sith is that they primarily use anger and hatred as their only passion in life. Based off of the Sith code, a Sith could potentially be a Light Side user who uses passions such as love and compassion to deepen their connection to the Force and gain more power to pursue their passions. The MMORPG, Star Wars the Old Republic, explored this topic of Light Sided Sith. I thought it was interesting.

I am surprised that there aren’t more traumatized Padawans when one considers how young they entered into the Clone Wars. I admit that paragraph was more of an emotional reaction than an argument, sorry.

You raise an excellent point about the Nemoidians. Considering how timid they were shown to be it is unlikely they would have staged the blockade over Naboo without Palpatine’s support. I interpreted the quote “We should not have made this bargain” as being trepidation concerning Darth Maul and dealing with the Sith. I know that Nute Gunroy says something along the lines of “this is getting out of hand, now there are two of them”. I thought that they were legitimately afraid of the Sith more than afraid of blockading Naboo. There was one who questioned the legality of the blockade though, “Is this legal?” in which Palpatine responds: “I will make it legal”. I’m not sure if the Trade Federation would have blocked off Naboo without Palpatine’s coaxing. I could see this going either way.

I know that the Republic wouldn’t have had an army ready had Palpatine been out of the picture. If the Separatists succeeded in building their droid army in this hypothetical scenario then the Republic would have likely fallen. Or at the very least, the Republic would have had to conscript an army from its civilian population. From the perspective of a Republic citizen, Palpatine could be seen as a hero, as he ensured the safety of the Republic with his clone army. Of course, we the viewer know that Palpatine is working both sides of the war. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the Separatists would have made a droid army without Dooku’s leadership and support. I know that there were a number of Clone Wars tv show episodes that seem to suggest that the Separatists would have likely continued more peace talks with the Republic had Dooku not pushed for war. So in all likelihood, you are probably right about there not being a war without Palpatine and Dooku to hold the puppet strings.

Outside of Anakin Skywalker’s word, what did the Jedi have to go off of? They didn’t have any physical evidence of Palpatine’s betrayal. Had they succeeded in arresting Palpatine and it went to court it would have been the Jedi Order’s word versus Palpatine’s.

I found a great youtube video answering the legality of the Jedi Order arresting Palpatine. Legally speaking the Jedi committed treason but morally they were in the right to do so since we as the viewer know that Palpatine was behind the war. From the perspective of a galactic citizen, the Jedi did betray the Republic. The Jedi are a religious organization of warrior monks with limited authority in the government. Because the Jedi are so powerful checks and balances are in place to prevent them from staging a coup. The Jedi have no legal authority to arrest Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, especially without the consent of the Senate. The example I gave about Christianity was the best real-world example I could think of as we don’t have an equivalent Jedi Order in our world. From the perspective of the galactic citizen, the Jedi betrayed the Republic by trying to murder the Supreme Chancellor, leaving him horribly disfigured. As for the Chancellor’s emergency powers that would have been decided by the Senate. Following the event of Order 66, the Senate decided it was best to appoint him as an Emperor as it ensured galactic security.

In the end, you are right and have officially won the debate. The Jedi were in the moral right to try and arrest Palpatine. It’s equivalent to trying to arrest Hitler before the rise of Nazi Germany. George Lucas derived a lot of inspiration from real-world history.

There are some great videos that do a better job of arguing for the Jedi being evil or defending the Sith than I have written. It was fun to try and argue for the Sith even if I ended up losing in the end.

Some youtube videos that I found entertaining on this topic:





Nothing wrong with playing Devil’s advocate, I like to do that myself now and then. I appreciate you sticking with the conversation if I can occasionally come across a bit intense or aggressive. Star Wars is just something I’m passionate about, which I’m sure you can relate to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t whole-heartedly agree with the Jedi Order and I don’t see it as perfect or anything. There are certainly bad Jedi and there could potentially be a “good” Sith (although I don’t know if we’ve ever properly seen one), but the philosophies are pretty clear in what they’re trying to get across and are also pretty diametrically opposed to one another.

I know the fandom in the past couple decades has really come to adore the concept of “Grey Jedi” and finding balance between the Light and Dark side. It’s not a concept I’m super fond of, but it certainly has its merits. The whole idea of finding everything in the middle just doesn’t really work for me in a lot of ways just because, as flawed as the Jedi may be, there is nothing inherently toxic in the Jedi philosophy as far as I can see, as opposed to the Sith which is very toxic. There are certainly toxic interpretations of the Jedi philosophy and code, but I feel that it is much more valuable than the Sith philosophy and seeking to mix the two to find an ideal middle ground is just this kind of unnecessary dilution to what the Jedi are supposed to be in the first place.

As for Clone Wars, Rebels, and other EU stuff that really delves into the deeper aspects of the Force, personifications and the Whills and all that, that’s an aspect of Star Wars I’m really not a fan of so I tend to avoid those stories. So, unfortunately, I couldn’t really provide much of an interesting discussion on those topics.

“I wonder, is it really possible to show love and compassion towards something and not grow attached?” 100%, yes. It’s not easy and its not simple, but that’s the whole point. Remember, the Jedi way is the hard way. It’s about finding enlightenment. It’s possible to care about something but also understand that it is not yours and you can let go of it when need be.

" I think that the Jedi risk growing attached to the Republic that they serve rather than serving the greater good." Absolutely, that was part of their downfall. They lost sight of true Jedi philosophy and became hypocritical. It’s intentional that the modern Jedi we see in the Prequels are not completely adherent to the Jedi philosophy. That’s why they were defeated by evil.

Of course, there is a lot of ethical questions about the clone army, I can’t disagree with that. Palpatine was definitely playing a lot games with people and their lives that just further makes it clear how terrible (morally) of a person he was.

“I’m sorry if I irked you with a different interpretation of the Luke/Vader fight.” Don’t worry, you didn’t irk me or anything. It’s just the one scene from the OT I’ve seen interpreted in like 50 different ways where nobody seems to actually understand what was going on in it. The other points you make here are pretty much on the money. Luke was able to make the decision that Anakin couldn’t, to turn away from the bad decision and not let it send him into a downward spiral. All you have to do to understand that scene is listen to the music when Luke goes into his final frenzy against Vader. It’s not triumphant and exciting because Luke discovered the key to defeating Vader. It’s droning and ominous because Luke has fallen into Vader’s trap, he’s fallen for Vader’s goading. It’s only once he realized that is what happened and he realizes that this is not the path he wants to take that he throws away his lightsaber and refuses to play the game any longer.

Again, no need to apologize for anything, I just can become a bit empassioned, especially when typing up these long posts.

“Outside of Anakin Skywalker’s word, what did the Jedi have to go off of? They didn’t have any physical evidence of Palpatine’s betrayal. Had they succeeded in arresting Palpatine and it went to court it would have been the Jedi Order’s word versus Palpatine’s.” They didn’t need more than Anakin’s word. If Anakin was wrong, Palpatine gets arrested peacefully and then goes before the Senate, where he is removed form office because his term is over and the emergency powers are no longer in effect. If Anakin’s right, however, the extinction of the Jedi is at risk and Palpatine being the one in power is extremely dangerous. If you want to say Mace was a bit too aggressive with his arrest, go for it, I won’t deny that. But why would the council ask Anakin to spy on Palpatine if they were just going to ignore whatever he told them?

I watched about half of the Eckhart’s Ladder video, and a lot of what you say here is true, but again I’d like to stress that the finer details aren’t really something we know, legally speaking, because we don’t know every Republic law and loophole. The Jedi aren’t really concerned at the moment with following the letter of the law because there is a lot more going on. Whether it was legally treason or not doesn’t justify Palpatine genociding the Jedi and doesn’t prove that the Jedi are morally lacking. The Republic is extremely corrupt itself. Yeah, blowing up the Death Star was technically treason against the Empire, but I don’t hear anyone discussing that. And important point. They didn’t try to murder the Supreme Chancellor until after the Chancellor started killing Jedi in cold blood. Yes, when Palpatine took out Agen Kolar and Seesea Tinn, that was in cold blood. The Jedi had their weapons drawn, but they were just arresting Palpatine, they weren’t attacking him. The story the Chancellor spins to the rest of the galaxy isn’t really relevant in the discussion.

Honestly, I’m gonna take your word for it that there might be some good arguments in these videos, but I don’t really have the energy to watch them after going through this discussion with you. Especially because I’ve seen plenty of Star Wars videos where people just repeatedly get things factually wrong and it annoys me a great deal. I’m happy to admit I don’t think my arguments are the be-all end-all in the debate. I do appreciate you putting up with me, though. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to delve into a deep Star Wars debate with someone who I really disagreed with, so was mostly fun. Don’t let me discourage you from having fun with outside the box Star Wars ideas :slight_smile:

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Thanks, I’ve had a lot of fun with this. You haven’t discouraged me from having posting out of the box Star Wars ideas.

Civil discourse! I LOVE IT!