Thoughts on the First Order

Reading this political analysis on the First Order, it’s important to consider the source — The Federalist — and it’s place in American politics. I’m about as liberal as they come, so I was prepared to have my feathers ruffled, but by the time I’d finished reading this article, I realized that this is how Ben Solo must see the First Order.

The bad guys, of course, never see themselves as “bad guys.” They believe they’re doing the right thing. But who exactly are the bad guys in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Answering this question, like answering it in real life, is never as easy as it seems. Consider the following points:

  • The New Republic is an inefficient, bureaucratic mess incapable of protecting its own citizens. This point is borne out in the novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray. Senator Leia Organa would be the first to agree.
  • The Resistance faction are state-sponsored terrorists.
  • Luke Skywalker is a religious extremist who trains child soldiers.
  • Han Solo is a deadbeat dad who runs out on his wife.
  • Han Solo smuggles weapons of mass destruction [rathtars] to criminals.
  • The First Order treats its soldiers as such valuable assets that it literally tries to talk disobedient soldiers (FN-2187) around rather than lock them up [or torture/execute them].
  • So efficient is Kylo Ren as an interrogator that [Poe] Dameron is left in sufficiently good physical and mental condition to walk out of his cell and then pilot a TIE fighter.

http://thefederalist.com/2015/12/22/the-first-order-are-the-anti-heroes-of-the-force-awakens/

After you’ve chewed on this food for thought, I’d love to hear what you think.

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the First Order

  1. After spluttering with indignation through most of that article (the rebels=ISIS-style terrorists? really?!?) I took a moment to breath and realized your point about this being how Ben Solo sees the First Order is probably very accurate. Also hadn’t thought about Kylo’s efficiency as an interrogator in that light. Poe got of pretty easy, all things considered.

    One of my thoughts on this article was, “this is why it’s so difficult to bring the Force into balance.” Modern people here on earth have the same problem as people a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. We tend toward extremes and binaries. The Empire/First Order must be either the evil villain or the misunderstood hero (rather than an organization with some good points that goes about enforcing order in the galaxy in a terrible way). The Rebel Allegiance/New Republic is either the perfect force for good or a terrorist organization (rather than good but flawed people trying to stand up against tyranny the best way they can figure out).

    I thought the books Bloodlines and Aftermath: Life Debt both did a good job showing more nuances to the political and moral situation in the Star Wars universe. On one side we have Leia knowing the New Republic is inefficient but not sure how to make it run more smoothly while still maintaining freedom in the galaxy. On the other side we have Admiral Sloane questioning the promotional tactics used to paint the empire as good and the republic as evil, yet still believing the galaxy would benefit from enforced order. That’s one reason I’m trying to keep up with the new in-cannon books — the additional stories give a more balanced/complete view of what’s going on in the Star Wars galaxy.

    Interesting food-for-thought. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Well said, Marissa. I totally agree with the insights you’ve expressed here. The article, of course, oversimplified the philosophy and agenda of both sides, but then that’s precisely what happens here on 21st-century Earth. The Star Wars universe can’t help but be a reflection of our own troubled times, and I applaud the franchise writers for adding some depth to the political/moral divide. It’s also interesting to realize that the First Order are the rebels now, going against the established government, and operating with limited (although highly effective) resources. I haven’t worked out yet how the Rebel Alliance/New Republic are terrorists, but then I’m sure ISIS sees the West as terrorists — something that threatens and destroys their way of life.

      As Obi-Wan said, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” so you can see why Kylo Ren is not a Sith. He may be a commander of the First Order, but he’s following his own path and agenda outside of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he breaks his ties with them by Episode IX and goes renegade. If/when he does, his life is forfeit, with both sides wanting him dead. 😦

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  2. Even the Nazis thought they were doing the right thing and that their agenda was for the good of the world. Every war has different sides who think they are fighting the good fight and that the other guys need to die. How different were the crusaders from the Islamic extremists we see today? I think I am going to buy an island and become a hermit.

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