– by Mark MacDonald, staff writer –
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Let’s get one thing straight; I’m no Sith. Down with Palpatine and Vader, and any of the old bat’s stooges like Grand Moff Tarkin, General Veers, Captain Needa and Admiral Piett. To hell with Kylo Ren and the First Order and that Gollum wannabe Snook-or whatever they call him. I’m a force-fearing, wookie-loving, Starbird-crested supporter of the Old Republic as much as any rebel but the fact remains: the Jedi are punks. Here’s why.
Shoddy Moral Code
The Jedi often mention their “code of ethics” throughout the films, everything from not killing an unarmed opponent to having no attachment or possession. Of course, most of these codes are broken, in particular when the Jedi Council requests “off the record” that Anakin break the code and spy on the Chancellor (also an act of treason) or when Anakin cuts the head off Count Dooku, etc. etc. Somehow this code of ethics, though it bans many other things, permits the Jedi to prey on the weak and force them to do their bidding. With a wave of their hand, the weak-minded do as a Jedi commands. This force isn’t just used on strormtroopers; Qui-Gon uses the force on the leader of the Gungans to acquire a transport. I repeat: the leader of a civilization. Shady to say the least, especially when you’re trespassing. The code also permits the Jedi to use intimidation to get their way, or as they call it “negotiations with a lightsaber,” something they hoped to employ when they were sent to force the Trade Federation to settle their legal blockade. As if these muddy ethics weren’t enough, the Jedi’s sense of truth is foggy at best. Luke is told his father was killed by Darth Vader, only to learn from Darth that his father isn’t dead, he had merely changed his name and likeness. Obi wan would have us believe that “your father was murdered” is the same as “your father changed his name,” only from a different point of view. I’m not buying it and neither should you.
Apart from old man Palpatine and perhaps the new krang-looking hack, the most destructive villains to cause ruin to the galaxy have all been Jedi-trained. Count Dooku, the leader of the separatist movement that caused the Galactic Civil War, which ultimately led to the rise of the Empire, was trained by Yoda. Darth Vader, who slaughtered the Jedi (even the younglings) and helped the Empire conquer and oppress the galaxy, Jedi-trained by Obi wan Kenobi. Kylo Ren, Master of the Knights of Ren, instrumental in the rise of the First Order and murderer of the coolest smuggler in the galaxy, trained by Luke Skywalker. Given the odds that a Jedi will turn to the dark side and become a menace to the galaxy, it raises the question: should we be training Jedi at all? Maybe Yoda, Mace and the rest of the geriatrics should have tweaked the manual a bit.
When Luke Skywalker seeks out Master Yoda to begin his Jedi training, the little green hermit tells him he’s too old. Fair enough, perhaps being in your early/mid 20s is too old. But when Qui-Gon Jin presents a young Anakin Skywalker in Episode 1 to the Jedi Council, they reject him too, once again saying “he’s too old.” The kid can’t be more than 10, but he’s too old to start learning to use the force. Apparently the Jedi like to indoctrinate their pupils at a very young age to make sure they don’t have any opinion or personality traits of their own and therefore won’t question what they’re being told. Essentially, the Jedi need their new students to be so young they have barely developed their own identity and can therefore be easily crafted into whatever the Jedi see fit. What does that sound like to me? Two things: it sounds like a cult, and it sounds like a child army. Both not okay.
So all is well in the galaxy for a thousand years, the Jedi have their fancy temples and their library and their ponytails, they’re loving life and along come the Sith. All two of them. Face-paint punk goes out pretty quick, so soon enough they are down to one. One crusty old man who somehow plays everyone, slowly usurps more and more control over the galaxy and builds a massive army right under everyone’s noses. Yoda is four feet away from him at one point and the force can’t tell him anything. Sure enough, one of the Jedi turns to the dark side (again) and next thing you know, scores of Jedi get slaughtered, the galaxy is overthrown, out goes the Republic and in comes the Empire. What does Yoda do? After losing to crusty old Palpatine in a one-on-one, he bounces to a swamp and lets Coruscant, the rest of the Jedi, and countless helpless civilians fend for themselves. What about Obi Wan? The very man who trained Anakin Skywalker? He chops off his former friend’s arms and legs but leaves him wounded, burning and suffering. Then he bounces and becomes a hermit while the Empire takes over the galaxy. Flash-forward a generation and we’ve got Luke Skywalker as the mentor of one Kylo Ren. Somehow that gets screwed up too; yet another Jedi turns to the dark side and what does Luke do? He bounces. Apparently staring at an ocean is more important than trying to save the galaxy or die trying. How many bothans died just to get plans for the Death Star? I guess a Jedi’s life is worth more? More than the lives of everyone on Alderaan and five other planets that had nothing to do with some family drama? Not in my books. In my books running away from battle is one thing: cowardly.
Sure they can do some cool stuff, and who wouldn’t want a lightsaber? But given their twisted sense of ethics, distorted idea of truth, cult-like practices and downright cowardice, the Jedi don’t deserve your respect. I, for one, won’t give it to them.