Were the Sith right about the Jedi? Had they become too comfortable, too complacent and too ready execute the will of the Senate, and thus out of balance with the force? It’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit since I finished Darth Plagueis and the new follow-up novel Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown.
Don’t misunderstand: The Sith weren’t good guys, and were probably the worst thing to have ever happened to the Republic, but weren’t the Jedi due for a shake-up? These Knights had become the executors of the Republic’s will at the cost of their own independence, and that was what – at least in part – enabled Darth Sidious and Darth Plagueis to set into place the plan that would bring down both. Would Order 66 have been possible at all if the Jedi weren’t acting as the Republic’s shock troops in the first place?
There are other things to consider, too. With rare exception, the Jedi weren’t allowed to marry or pursue anything resembling a normal life. This really wasn’t something that people signed on for, either. Sure, they committed to Jedi Knighthood on their own, and its not like a blaster was at their back (or lightsaber at their neck when they did it), but consider this: The Jedi didn’t exactly ask permission to take Forceful infants away from their parents, and a life in the temple was pretty much all of these kids knew. What else would you expect them to do when asked to commit to the order? It’s the only life that they had. Now, I do understand why they did this: There were few enough Forceful beings in the universe, and it was important to find them early and train them, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that you had a highly regulated monastic order more or less kidnapping children, raising them and then sending them off in service to the state.
There’s the psychology of the Jedi to think about, too. Jedi are taught to control their emotions – to be aware of them and not surrender themselves to love, hate and other potentially troublesome psychological states. Again, I get why: When you have a being capable of shooting lightning from its fingertips and flinging grown men against walls then you don’t want them having a tantrum and going all “Carrie” on you. With that concession, does that mean that they were right to exercise this kind of control to the degree that they did? It’s just not human to expect people to be emotionless robots, and surely the danger of repression could be just as deadly.
I’m not saying that the Sith had a good philosophy or that they were decent beings. The Jedi are definitely the good guys, here. My only point is that the Jedi might have been a little off, themselves, and were ready for a shake-up. In their own way, the Sith were a necessary reaction to the Jedi order’s antiquated, compromised and dysfunctional relationship with the Republic. Were the Sith right to want to bring these guys down, even if the way that they did it was wrong?