Splitting off from this thread…
Were the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars movies morally superior to the Empire? Ultimately, it’s just a highly entertaining series of movies with third-rate writing, but still, I have several issues with how the Rebels did business:
[li]The rebels destroyed three worlds (the two Death Stars and the Endor moon) whereas the Empire destroyed one (Alderaan)[/li][li]The rebels were motivated by re-establishing a senate which had demonstrated its capacity for failure, whereas the the Empire (at least from Anakin’s POV) was motivated with cleaning up corruption and establishing law & order[/li][li]The rebels fought the Empire with such vigor and determination, but they didn’t seem to have a framework in place to replace the Empire once toppled.[/li][/ul]
Several people took issue with my assertion that the rebels destroyed more worlds than the Empire.
I disagree. If you take a normal intert “small moon”, nothing but rock - place it in orbit of a planet, then blow it up, you will start an Extinction Level Event on that world, just from the sheer mass that you inject into the atmosphere. Combine this with the fact that the Death Star II had power plants and fuel onboard capable of generating enough energy to destroy worlds. The radiation alone may have been enough to sterilize everyone standing within line of sight on the Endor moon. I’d say the Ewoks had mere days left to live, a month at most.
The rebels knew the physics of the situation, they had to know that shattering the Death Star II while it was parked in orbit would ultimately doom the Endor moon. However, they did it anyway, in an “ends justify the means” way that the Empire is much-maligned for.
If you examine the '70 SFX in minute detail (glossing over the vaseline and scotch tape and whatnot visible on-screen), you may reach the conclusion that Alderaan had a planetary shield. It’s not a great leap to then assume that, on a world with a power energy shield, the Alderaanians must have had some weaponry for defensive use. Even if it was Mag-Lite flashlights for the cops.
The only indication we had that Alderaan was pacifistic was from Princess Leia’s desparate pleas before Tarken gave the order to fire. I’d say she was in a position to say anything if it helped her situation. She already lied about Dantooine. We’ve seen that the planet had defenses. We also see that the rebels had spies and political leadership operating from Alderaan. It seems to me that when the Empire nuked Alderaan, they were hitting a legitimate military target.
I’ll admit, this is a tenuous point. It is possible that Alderaan had a planetary shield and no weapons. But in the political landscape of increasing Imperial pressure, I find it unlikely that the rebel leadership on Alderaan would leave their world devoid of defenses (aside from that worthless shield.)
Well, this is where you start playing with moral relativity. The Death Star was a legitimate target, regarless of the number of souls on board, because it posed a threat. Alderaan posed a threat, too. Come to think of it, so did the Ewoks on Endor. (And those damn Jar Jars, grrr…)
With this argument, you could hardly blame the Empire for smearing Alderaan across the solar system.
My other main issue with the rebels is their choice of government…
If all it took to collapse the Old Republic was one man stirring up trouble, then the Old Republic was a pretty crappy system. An actual republic, formed in the interests of its peoples, would have some means of checking itself, to prevent the corruption that led to the sudden rise of Palpatine’s power. The Old Republic was a house of cards, and (in my opinion) had to come down eventually.
The Rebel Alliance wanted to establish a New Republic to replace the Empire, formed in the image of the Old Republic, but we see very little evidence of this happening. Admittedly, the movies focus on the social and military aspects of the struggle, but I think we should’ve seen some political maneuvering to ensure the proper people were in place when the New Republic would be formed. Instead, we saw a single evening’s celebrations, and that’s the end of things. It’s just a likely that for all the rebels’ intentions and actions, the next week saw a dramatic spread of anarchy across the galaxy like a Hari Seldon disaster.
My point is this: the Rebel Alliance deserve props for overthrowing a dictatorship. But are the methods they used justified? Can the rebels claim that their acts of mass-murder are justified while the Empire’s were not? (Well, of course they can say anything they want, they won the war.) Furthermore, would life under their new government, as small as it must be, be any better than living with the Empire?