Although the majority of films produced by Hollywood are infected with statist propaganda, every once in a while something truly libertarian gets out. One of the most prominent examples is the Star Wars franchise. Put simply, there is no more libertarian series of films than Star Wars. Each of the prequel films provides lessons on the dangers of growing government power. The original trilogy exemplifies the necessity of fighting against the tyranny of totalitarianism to restore the Republic.
Taken as a whole, the films are the perfect example of why we have to vigilantly watch our elected representatives to protect our liberties. If we don’t, our very own Senator Palpatine may one day become Emperor Sidius and a Alliance to Restore the Republic will have to be formed. Splitting the series into the prequels and original trilogy allows us to examine the main theme running through each.
Statists Turn The Republic Into The Empire
What makes the Star Wars prequel trilogy so libertarian is that they provide a step-by-step guide on how tyranny can take hold. Each film shows how a Republican form of government can grow to become unrecognizably tyrannical. It often begins with an unnecessary war that is used by politicians to scare the people into giving up their freedoms.
In the Star Wars movies it’s the war manufactured by Palpatine against the Trade Federation. The war could have been avoided if the Jedi were allowed to negotiate in the first film but that was stopped by Palpatine’s alter-ego Darth Sidius. Palpatine/Sidius then plays both sides of the war to grant himself more power all while pretending he is doing so to save the Republic and protect the people and their democracy. In the end Darth Sidius declares a Galactic Empire to ensure “a safe and secure society”.
In our own universe a recent example of this would be the War on Terror. While hunting down Bin Laden was a just response to 9/11, an abstract and never ending War on Terror was not. That war lead to occupying two countries for years on end which only made us less safe. Those wars served their purpose though. The jingoistic patriotism that was drummed up in response to the war was used to pass the Patriot Act and increase military spending dramatically. Politicians are continuously using 9/11 as propaganda to justify restricting our freedoms. The government has more power now than ever before thanks to the War on Terror.
The Star Wars prequels are the perfect case study for libertarians watching our own government accrue more power at the expense of our Republic.
Libertarians Rebel Against The Empire
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson
The original Star Wars trilogy is even more libertarian than the prequels because these films show the Empire can be defeated.
After the Galactic Empire has been declared in the end of the third prequel film an Alliance to Restore the Republic is formed. This is shorted to the Rebel Alliance during the original trilogy and composed of freedom fighters that believe in limited small government. They’re fighting to abolish the Empire and the Clone Army which will restore the Republic to its roots.
This mirrors the American colonists who rebelled against the British Empire to defend their natural rights from the tyranny of King George III. They had seen their rights as Englishmen abused and restricted over the years while government power grew. They rebelled against the Empire to start their own Republic wherein their voices would be heard and their rights protected.
Many of those lessons have been forgotten over the past two hundred years and the day draws near when a new Rebellion might be needed. As Thomas Jefferson says, these revolutions are needed from time to time and it’s been quite a long while since our last one. If the government continues its path towards an Empire a new Rebel Alliance may have to be formed in response.
Those two themes from the Star Wars franchise prove they’re the most libertarian films ever. By exemplifying the path from prosperity to tyranny, and showing the importance of rebelling against the empire, Star Wars will live on to inspire the next generation of libertarians as they strive to protect our liberties from a growing empire.