Star Wars’ Galactic Empire tends to get a bad rap. Oh sure, Emperor Palpatine started the whole thing by manufacturing a phony war to scare people into supporting a leader who would slowly take away their freedom in exchange for “safety,” the entire organization is suspiciously stocked with almost exclusively white human men, and there was that one time it destroyed an entire planet full of innocent people just to prove that it could, but is any of that stuff objectively evil? Conservative pundit Bill Kristol doesn’t think so, according to a tweet he posted this morning in response to a joke about how the Star Wars prequels encouraged conservatives to root for the Empire:
This is the internet, though, so it’s hard to know when someone is joking. Thankfully, Kristol later tweeted a link to a story that he said was relevant to this “great Star Wars debate,” which seems to indicate that yes, he really thinks the bad guys are the good guys:
The article in question was written before the release of Revenge Of The Sith, so it’s wildly outdated, but it’s based on the premise that the Galactic Empire is a more efficient, more regulated, and overall superior system of government than not only the Republic that it replaced, but also whatever the Rebel Alliance planned to institute in the Empire’s absence. That argument is all well and good, but it ignores the fact that the Empire—at the very least—tends to give power to people who are known for having streaks of vicious cruelty. In fact, based on what we see in the movies, it’s probably more likely that the Empire purposefully puts people in power because they have streaks of vicious cruelty. So claiming that you’d rather live under the Empire’s rule than the Republic’s is like saying you’d support a regime that executes people for no reason simply because it keeps the trains running on time. Actually, it’s not “like” that, it’s literally that.
Basically, if Bill Kristol (or anyone) thinks there’s no “objective evidence” that the Empire was evil, then they need to actually watch the damn movies, because the blatant Nazi imagery makes it pretty obvious that the viewer isn’t supposed to root for them.