Star Wars Conspiracy: Does Fear Cost Us Our Liberty?

Amy H. Sturgis,

Release Date
December 17, 2015



Star Wars Conspiracy: Does Star War give us insight that fear can actually cost us our liberty in times of crisis? What is your opinion? Let us know if the comment section below.

“Star Wars, Remixed” (article): Professor Sturgis explains how George Lucas’ universe is a mashup masterwork
“The Jedi, the Cowboy, and… Thomas Edison? Pulp Science Fiction and Star Wars” (video): Lecture from 2015 Mythgard Guest Lecture Series
“The History Behind the Jedi, Part 1” (podcast): Audio talk from 2015 for “Looking Back at Genre History” at the StarShipSofa podcast
“The History Behind the Jedi, Part 2” (podcast): Audio talk from 2015 for “Looking Back at Genre History” at the StarShipSofa podcast
“From World War to Star Wars” (essay)”: Essay series (2014-present) by Cole Horton for
“Republic vs. Empire: 10 Ways Star Wars Is Millennia Older Than You Think” (essays): Essay series (2015) by Alex Stark for
Real World Dilemmas of the Hunger Games (program): Professors Amy Sturgis and James Ottesson explore the parallels between the fictional Panem and our world.
Pop Culture and Economics (playlist): Learn about the ideas of freedom through the lens of pop culture.
The Walking Dead, Tocqueville, and Voluntary Cooperation (video): Professor Dan D’Amico explains what zombies can teach us about a free society.

Tyrants never simply take power. We the people willingly hand it over. And then watch helplessly as that power is used against us. Why? Because of fear. Fear and the desire for safety cloud our judgment. When we surrender great power to leaders for protection, we forget that concentration of power often makes us less safe as well as less free. In Star Wars, the galactic cynic hands over great powers to Chancellor Palpatine to deal with a hostile force. >> This is a crisis. The Senate must vote the Chancellor emergency powers. He could then approve the creation of an army. >> This cycle of fear and power isn’t just something that happened in a galaxy far far away. It’s happened repeatedly in our history. It can happen again. After an act of terrorism the newly appointed German Chancellor. Yes, that one. Exploits people’s fears to convince parliament to give him emergency powers. He then suspends civil liberties and the democratic process all together. Amazing how emergency powers often outlive the emergency. Similarly, France is in societal upheaval after the French Revolution. A young soldier, Napoleon, promises to protect the fledgling republic from falling back into oligarchy and legitimates his power through direct votes. And again in Rome, Julius Caesar’s heir, Octavian, is granted special power by the Senate. Which he conveniently never relinquishes. There are always those who offer salvation at the cost of liberty, if only they can have great power temporarily. >> The power you give me I will lay down when this crisis has abated. Just like in Star Wars, powers are rarely laid down. In Rome, Octavian rides popular support for power and changes his name to Caesar Augustus. The republic falls and the people’s voice falls with it. An empire is born. Unsatisfied just to be first consul Napoleon is coronated emperor. Frances ethos changes from liberty, equality, fraternity, to the imposed order, security, efficiency. Star Wars issues a warning and a challenge about power, security, and liberty. Next time you see a leader exploiting fear for power, will you be part of the resistance or will you let the cycle continue?