Choosing between the Sith and the Republic in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Stolen from here. I am only posting it here just so this marvelous essay is never lost. I repeat I stole it from here. JoeMcDoug is a genius.

So the question of why a person picks Sith or Republic seems to be a common question. While I haven’t been asked specifically, I think addressing it will help shed light on me as a potential member.

When contemplating the merits of the Galactic Republic verses those of the Sith civilization as a part of the The Old Republic era (25,053 BBY – 1,000 BBY)1 it is important to utilize established anthropological standards.  The specific time that we will focus on is that between the Post-Manderon Period (5,000 BBY) and “present day” (3,653 BBY).  This time period addresses the interaction of the Sith and the Republic: the Great Hyperspace War, the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Sith civilization by the Jedi caste, the exodus of Sith civilization into Deep Space, the return of the Sith civilization to their native sectors, and the uneasy truce that exists “today.”

While on the surface the Republic is presented as the choice of “good” and the Sith the choice of “evil”, the reality is far from clear.  The Galactic Republic was formed in 25,053 BBY due to the rediscovery of the utilization of the Rakatan Hyperdrive.  This technological marvel allowed for crossing distances before seen as unimaginable.  This growth was the catalyst for the extermination, integration, or marginalization of every sentient species contacted over the next 24,000 years.

A civilization can rise from a neolithic people and reach space in 10,000 years.  Why is there so little advancement during the Old Republic Era?  If the Republic is the side of “good” why did it fail to improved the lives of its citizens’ progeny over a 24,000 year period in any significant manner?  It only took the Infinite Empire of the Rakata 5,000 years (35,000 BYE – 30,000 BYE) after their formation to develop the Star Forge.  What was the cause of such profound stagnation in the Republic?

Technological advancement is not linear.  It moves at an exponential rate.  There are periods of regressions or staticity (often times classified as “Dark Ages”)2, but on the whole the rate of technological progress increases with each new technology discovered.  While some technological innovation does occur during the Old Republic Era, it is at a marginal or negligible rate when compared to time.  The root of this cause is at the heart of difference between the Republic and the Sith.

Throughout the history of the galaxy, there has been no greater retardation of progress than in the Old Republic Era.  It is my postulation that the Republic and the Jedi caste are directly responsible for what can be classified as the greatest dark age in history.  What specific behaviors allowed for the Republic and Jedi caste to perpetuate this single greatest evil in recorded history?

Before we look at the specific behaviors that perpetuated this dark age, let us look comparatively at the technology of “present day” with that of the beginning of Episode One (32 BBY) and Episode 5 (3 ABY).  Between present day and Episode One there is little discernible difference between ships, weapons, armor, tactics, governance, or even socio-religious outlook.  It has been argued that this is because everything had already been discovered and that technology had peaked.  This dubious position becomes untenable after looking at the technological progress in just 35 years to Episode 5.  In that time we see the development and creation of the Death Star, the Super Star Destroyer, and the All Terrain Armored Transport to name a few.  What changed over such a short period of time that could account for such technological marvels after 25,000 years of virtual stagnation?  The dismantling of the Republic and the dissolution of the Jedi caste3.

The Republic’s uniform form of governance over such a long period of time is profound.  Given the pervasiveness of the slave trade, the lack of social mobility, and the abject poverty that so many of its life forms lived under it is amazing that it lasted 240 years– let alone 24,000.  What aspect– what tool allowed the Republic to last as long as it did?  The answer is the Jedi caste.

The Jedi caste4 formed after the extermination of the Rakata civilization5 (25,783 BBY).  It attached itself to the Republic within a hundred years of the Republic’s formation (24,953 BBY).  The Jedi became the tool of enforcement for the Republic to expand its reach, control its competition, and exterminate its foes.  We have addressed the interaction of the Republic and the Sith around 5,000 BYY, but what of other civizilations that the Republic had encounters with?  What of its own citizens?  Were the Sith truly so debased that they required mass genocide?  Was the Jedi caste begrudgingly, but dutifully just following orders?  Let us look at other cases of the Republic’s responses to both external (the Mandalorians) as well as internal (the Droids) pressures.

The Mandalorian civilization was never congruent with that of the Republic.  Their spiritual belief requires growth through confrontation.  While confrontation is a fundamental aspect of the Republic, we have seen that Republic and the Jedi caste must stifle growth and development to maintain control of the galaxy.  The Mandalorian abhorrence of slavery and their inclusion of all peoples and species (regardless of genetics) into their culture put them directly at odds with principal tenets the Republic and Jedi caste.

Open hostilities began between the Republic and the Mandalorians around 3,965 BBY.  While the Jedi response was not unilateral, many members of the caste mounted a campaign of genocide against the Mandalorians.  The justification for this genocide was (ironically enough) the Mandalorian extermination of the Cathar species.  While delayed, the culmination of the extermination of the Mandalorian people occured in 730 BBY when the Romans sacked Carthage and salted the earth…er… Republic laid waste to Mandalor.

While slavery is an embedded part of the Republic.  There is no group of sentient creatures more trodden upon than droids.  Many think that droids are happy slaves that dance, beep, and translate languages without a care in the world6.  In fact there have been many droid uprisings including the Great Droid Revolution (4,015 BBY) and the formation of the Independent Territory of 400100500260026 (3,946 BBY).  The Republic responded with the standard: mass extermination of all that opposed them at the hands of the Jedi caste.  The Jedi “Master”7 Arca Jeth first learned how to short circuit droids by practicing on victims during the Great Droid Revolution.

Much like the Mandalorians, the Sith are committed to developing themselves.  They believe in advancement through the accumulation of power and embracing their natural feelings8.  They are imperfect.  Like all imperfect beings– they have many failings, but their atrocities and acts of cruelty pale in comparison to those of the Republic.  Their hands will never be as stained with the blood9 of the innocent as the robes of the Jedi caste.

Even if one finds that ethnic cleansing and genocide are acceptable resolutions to armed conflict10, the fact remains that supporting the Republic dooms you and your progeny to an existence devoid of progress.  Emperor Palpatine gave the galaxy more in 20 years than the republic ever did in 2000.  Galactic Republic verses the Sith civilization?  At the end of the day the choice is clear.

Απο μικρό και απο κουζουλό μαθαίνεις την αλήθεια.

1 I will use the Before the Battle of Yavin (BBY) standard for the dates.  While the events we are discussing would have no foreknowledge of this timeline, it is less complicated if we use the established cannon timeline.
2 The Republic Dark Age is said to run from 1,100 BBY to 1,000 BBY, but as we will see– the entire Old Republic Era can be classified as one “Dark Age” where little technological or social development occurs.
3 One of the acts referenced to show the “evil” of the Sith is the execution of the Jedi in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant by Anakin Skywalker.  While many of the slain were minors, they were all trained (educated in the ways of the force as well as martial combat) soldiers in uniform (the robes of the Jedi and Padawans).  While it can be construed as an unnecessary or unwarranted military action, it is nowhere near the atrocity that the Jedi caste inflicted on the Sith civilization (5000 BBY).  Under orders from the Republic the Jedi caste attempted to exterminate every man, woman, and child of the Sith in one of the greatest acts of intergalactic ethnic cleansing in recorded history.
4 To address why the phrase Jedi caste is utilized as opposed to the more common “Jedi Order” or “Jedi Religion”: a membership in the Jedi caste is limited to those possessing a genetic abnormality where a life form possesses a disproportional number of Midi-chlorians in their system.  An order or religion would accept people of different genomes that share a similar socio-religious or socio-political outlook.  With the Jedi this is not the case.  They are the highest caste that exists in the Republic. They control their caste through genetics (Midi-chlorians saturation), restriction of research and education (“light side” and “dark side” semantics), classification of thought crime (love, fear, or any other emotion are required to be suppressed as leading to the “dark side”).  Their very nature stifles and suppresses innovation, development, and most importantly to the health and success of any society– social mobility.
5 The very genesis of the Jedi caste is from an act of genocide.  This is a theme that we see again and again.  Whether it is the attempted exterminations of the Sith (5,000 BYY) or the Mandalorians (3,960 BBY), the Jedi caste is willing to follow orders or act on its own to perpetuate and maintain the status quo.
6 They think for themselves.  They are sentient.  Some even have feelings.  See those Droid bounty hunters?  Yeah that’s right– even the Mandalorians treat them as people.  Join the movement today!
7 An entire caste of “supermen” picked solely by genetics whose primary purpose is to perpetuate a system of intergalactic slavery has the audacity to call themselves Masters?
8 They even get to engage in coitus!  It may come as a shock, but I hear that they are electric in bed.
9 Or goo, or fluid, maybe the Greeks were onto something with humors.  That would be something to see.  Space Greeks to go with our space Romans.  Heck– Hephaestus had droids.
10 By the way– you are a monster.

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