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Vigil

The Empire is evil.

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Morality can easily be based upon the autonomous agency of rational creatures. The action of an autonomous being, when it impedes the ability of another autonomous being to self-govern, is the defining characteristic of an immoral act. This account is insensitive to culture or society, it is only sensitive to the nature of the interacting agents. It allows you to rule upon the rightness or otherwise of an act, regardless of whether that act is legal or not.

Except that it falls down pretty hard when applied to reality. There are inevitably situations where acting in either direction (or not acting which still counts) will harm one party or another. In that situation which action is right? Well neither are purely right obviously. But which one is more right? That inevitably comes down to a subjective decision. Even if that subjective decision is based on objective data the act of ascribing weight to that data is subjective.

 

As an example. I have X people and presented to me is a button that if I press it will make 1 of them very unhappy but X - 1 of them somewhat happy. Different people will push the button at different values of X. We can measure the level of change in happiness objectively and we can determine X, that can help inform making the decision to press or not. But deciding how much the larger groups happiness is worth vs. that one persons unhappiness is an extremely subjective determination.

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As ethical theories and legal tribunals have found time and time again, "just following orders" is not a moral or legal justification that alleviates one of their culpability in a greater system. One always has the option to not follow orders. Biggs, Finn, and many others defected from the Empire/FO. Others sabotaged from the inside. Anyone could refuse to participate, even if meant their death. It's hard to imagine the operators of the super-laser could go back to their bunks after destroying Alderaan thinking "jeez..that was pretty bad...no that was terrible in fact..all those peoples...oh well, no blood on my hands, I was just following orders! I'm a good guy! Nothing I could have done differently! I had no choice!"PS: I know the vast majority of fans who say that the Empire are the good guys are obviously trolling. But I've met some who genuinely feel that way. and I think it's a product of modern nihilism and gritty morally-gray morally-ambiguous outlooks (which in reality is sometimes the case). But one of the timeless features of Star Wars has always been that it has adhered to a very clear "Good vs Evil" framework at its core.

Unless you are on the victorious side, then just following orders is perfectly fine.

We generally only punish the losers in conflict, do you think if Germany had won WW2 the orchestrators of the fire bombing of dresdin would not have been tried as war criminals? And I could name many other things.

 

Oh, please name them, because Dresden is a hilarious argument, the long time favourite of various kind of wehraboos and of course it is completely idiotic.

Point me to ONE German that was punished for terror bombings. Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and many other cities. Just one and I will agree that Nuremberg was unfair.

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So edgy.

 

Not edgy; accurate. Except for the part about Trump being Vader, but I've already changed my stance there to him being Jar Jar Binks instead.

 

Japan was still at war with the U.S. Alderaan was not at war with the Empire.

 

Alderaan was not directly at war with the Empire, however it was very involved with the formation, funding and arming of the Rebel Alliance.  In other words, Alderaan was directly responsible for the creation of a growing terrorist cell.

 

That sounds somewhat familiar as well...   :(

 

Japan was no Alderaan and neither them or Germany would have hesitated to do the same thing.

 

Citation needed: assumption.

 

Iwo Jima is a **** hole volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  I've seen it.

 

And New Jersey is a fresh, wet skidmark in the stained underwear of America (I've seen it).  Are you saying America wouldn't fight tooth and nail to defend it if troops landed there?  Since you appear to have got your entire education on the subject via Google, maybe you can educate yourself a little further by reading this:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Opposition

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As ethical theories and legal tribunals have found time and time again, "just following orders" is not a moral or legal justification that alleviates one of their culpability in a greater system. One always has the option to not follow orders. Biggs, Finn, and many others defected from the Empire/FO. Others sabotaged from the inside. Anyone could refuse to participate, even if meant their death. It's hard to imagine the operators of the super-laser could go back to their bunks after destroying Alderaan thinking "jeez..that was pretty bad...no that was terrible in fact..all those peoples...oh well, no blood on my hands, I was just following orders! I'm a good guy! Nothing I could have done differently! I had no choice!"PS: I know the vast majority of fans who say that the Empire are the good guys are obviously trolling. But I've met some who genuinely feel that way. and I think it's a product of modern nihilism and gritty morally-gray morally-ambiguous outlooks (which in reality is sometimes the case). But one of the timeless features of Star Wars has always been that it has adhered to a very clear "Good vs Evil" framework at its core.

Unless you are on the victorious side, then just following orders is perfectly fine.

We generally only punish the losers in conflict, do you think if Germany had won WW2 the orchestrators of the fire bombing of dresdin would not have been tried as war criminals? And I could name many other things.

 

Oh, please name them, because Dresden is a hilarious argument, the long time favourite of various kind of wehraboos and of course it is completely idiotic.

Point me to ONE German that was punished for terror bombings. Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and many other cities. Just one and I will agree that Nuremberg was unfair.

 

Interesting side note (and wow, the places this thread has gone): I believe some British folks at Nuremburg wanted to prosecute the German navy for the Uboat attacks until an American admiral, said "Nope, we did that, too." 

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When it comes to comparing the USA nuking Japan and the Empire blowing up Alderran. I think the nuking of Japan would be more like using the death star to blow up Hoth.

If you blew up Hoth no one would know. Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday MachineDeathstar is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the worldgalaxy, eh?

Edited by FourDogsInaHorseSuit

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So edgy.

 

Not edgy; accurate. Except for the part about Trump being Vader, but I've already changed my stance there to him being Jar Jar Binks instead.

 

Japan was still at war with the U.S. Alderaan was not at war with the Empire.

 

Alderaan was not directly at war with the Empire, however it was very involved with the formation, funding and arming of the Rebel Alliance.  In other words, Alderaan was directly responsible for the creation of a growing terrorist cell.

 

That sounds somewhat familiar as well...   :(

 

Japan was no Alderaan and neither them or Germany would have hesitated to do the same thing.

 

Citation needed: assumption.

Except that Alderaan itself never funded the Rebels, was notably pacifist, and never expressed a desire to fight the Empire. Simply discontent with its policies. It's the equivalent to a group citizens disliking what their government is doing, with a small portion being radicalized, therefore they should be exterminated.

Japan on the other hand, was an imperialist empire INVADING the US. The US weren't even the aggressors. (even after Pearl Harbor, it was the Germans who declared war on the US, not vice-versa). Again as I stated earlier, while I don't support the bombing of civilian populace, Japan was hardly innocent, and in retrospect, the bombs did save a lot of lives that would have been lost if conventional warfare had continued.

 

And New Jersey is a fresh, wet skidmark in the stained underwear of America (I've seen it). Are you saying America wouldn't fight tooth and nail to defend it if troops landed there? Since you appear to have got your entire education on the subject via Google, maybe you can educate yourself a little further by reading this: https://en.wikipedia...saki#Opposition

You're arguing against your own point. If someone were to invade any foot of US soil no matter how worthless, the Americans would fight back, and make them pay for every inch. Japan would've done the same if the US had not nuked Japanese cities. The Japanese were hardly innocent people.

Edited by YwingAce

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Yes it is, it was a caricature of Nazi Germany while making fun of the US because lol Lucas.  There is little in terms of moral ambiguity in Star Wars, even if life is just overlapping shades of grey and most things are never as good as they seem.

It only got more lopsided with Disney though. 

For the above as I can't be assed to quote: Alderaan (Bail and Leia in all honestly) was funding and aiding the Rebellion.  It was a political kill to punish Leia, who was a Imperial Senator who and supported and was a member of the Rebellion.  Destroying the planet was overkill, but it fits the narrative.  The US were attacked by Japan because the US was directly supplying enemy nations of the Axis powers and was using private contractors in China, knowing full well what the consequences were.  You cannot use that logic when nuking Japan was a calculated and logicla military decision to stopping the war, destroying Alderaan accomplished nothing because it was covered up temporarily.  Which historically, the first nuke did nothing to sway Japan, it took a second nuke along with several fire-bombing missions alongside the Russian Army mobilizing and knocking out the Japanese army in Manchuria. 

Edited by incinerator950

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So edgy.

 

Not edgy; accurate. Except for the part about Trump being Vader, but I've already changed my stance there to him being Jar Jar Binks instead.

 

Japan was still at war with the U.S. Alderaan was not at war with the Empire.

 

Alderaan was not directly at war with the Empire, however it was very involved with the formation, funding and arming of the Rebel Alliance.  In other words, Alderaan was directly responsible for the creation of a growing terrorist cell.

 

That sounds somewhat familiar as well...   :(

 

Japan was no Alderaan and neither them or Germany would have hesitated to do the same thing.

 

Citation needed: assumption.

 

Iwo Jima is a **** hole volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  I've seen it.

 

And New Jersey is a fresh, wet skidmark in the stained underwear of America (I've seen it).  Are you saying America wouldn't fight tooth and nail to defend it if troops landed there?  Since you appear to have got your entire education on the subject via Google, maybe you can educate yourself a little further by reading this:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Opposition

 

Yaaaaaaaaaawwwwn. Actually, google was for you. I've read many books about the subjects. The point about Iwo Jima is that it was a small island and NOT really the homeland of Japan. And a vast majority of the Japanese defending it, did so until the death. The Jersey comparison is ridiculous as it's part of the main continent, and I hear parts of Jersey are quite nice :) . I do realize there is controversy about the bombings; I just don't buy the arguments. Maybe they would have surrendered with more blockades and an invasion. However, that would have meant many more American deaths. And that's a big maybe about them surrendering. 

None of this changes the fact that your OP was the typical smug and lazy point modern folks tend to make about the bombings that ignore the complexity of the time. Like I said, it's something people use to pat themselves on the back about how "virtuous" they are. You don't like the bombings: that's cool--I'm betting your gramps wasn't on a potential invasion boat. And it doesn't change the fact that your analogy was tremendously inaccurate. The Japanese were the aggressors in WW2. I'm not sure they really deserved a conditional surrender; that's part of the controversy of the bombings: maybe we shouldn't have been asking for unconditional surrender. However, I'm not sure they deserved conditions in the surrender. I'm sure the Chinese agreed with unconditional surrender. 

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well, It's against my better Judgement, but a societal norm is not the same thing as morality.  something is objectively right or wrong.  Some cultures used to sacrifice their children to molech.  That was a societal norm, but that does not mean it is morally right.  By your logic of societal norms, the holocaust was right because enough people thought it was.

 

The truth, though I suspect it will be met with scorn, is that man himself does not have the capacity nor the authority to determine right and wrong.  when we make everyone God, and as the book of judges says "there was no king in israel, and each man did what was right in his own eyes"  we wind up again with moral relativism.  that is the state in which we find ourselves, and why we are in such a precarious state, because we have adopted the notion that each of us gets to decide what is right and wrong for ourselves.

 

thats how you get Nazi's KKK, black panthers, etc, etc, etc.  Whether it's one person or 1000, as others have said, you cannot go with the majority, and you cannot  go with whatever the cultural norm is.  to do so is to destroy the whole notion and meaning of "moral"  in the first place.

 

If morality is malleable, if we can decide to change what right and wrong are, then moral has lost all definition.  the only way that morality works as an idea is if it's absolute and unchanging.

 

That's why men like John Adams said words like these  "Our constitution was created to govern a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the governing of any other."  and Jefferson said  "A free society is impossible without a common moral foundation."

 

I'll just leave this here.  Attack away.

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Yes it is, it was a caricature of Nazi Germany while making fun of the US because lol Lucas.  There is little in terms of moral ambiguity in Star Wars, even if life is just overlapping shades of grey and most things are never as good as they seem.

It only got more lopsided with Disney though. 

 

 

I think that's what the authors tried (clearly defined sides: Empire=Evil, Rebels/Republic=Good), but they kinda failed (IMO at least).

 

Starting from the prequels, the Republic was a corrupt, bloated an impotent state (they failed to provide any form of practical solution to Naboo).

The Jedi order was completely above the law (there's no control, oversight or responsibility to anyone from outside the Order in any canon source AFAIK), which is hardly the mark of a 'good' organization and the Republic tolerated it.

The Republic, and subsequently the Rebellion are in practice almost as xenophobic as the Empire, as apart from situations where their hand was forced, like Senators from a non-human planet, or Ackbar when the Mon Calamari were providing the bulk of capital ships, there is to my knowledge exactly zero non-humans in positions of real power in the Republic or the Rebellion (hell, come to think of it, now that Thrawn is canon, he probably wields more power than any non-human in the canon history of the Republic and Rebellion).

Additionally neither the Republic or the Jedi Order have any qualms in specifically breeding sentient beings, conditioning them to follow orders and using them as cannon fodder against the Separatists.

That's pretty much the world the Rebels are fighting to restore. not better than the Empire IMO, just a different kind of evil.

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As ethical theories and legal tribunals have found time and time again, "just following orders" is not a moral or legal justification that alleviates one of their culpability in a greater system. One always has the option to not follow orders. Biggs, Finn, and many others defected from the Empire/FO. Others sabotaged from the inside. Anyone could refuse to participate, even if meant their death. It's hard to imagine the operators of the super-laser could go back to their bunks after destroying Alderaan thinking "jeez..that was pretty bad...no that was terrible in fact..all those peoples...oh well, no blood on my hands, I was just following orders! I'm a good guy! Nothing I could have done differently! I had no choice!"PS: I know the vast majority of fans who say that the Empire are the good guys are obviously trolling. But I've met some who genuinely feel that way. and I think it's a product of modern nihilism and gritty morally-gray morally-ambiguous outlooks (which in reality is sometimes the case). But one of the timeless features of Star Wars has always been that it has adhered to a very clear "Good vs Evil" framework at its core.

Unless you are on the victorious side, then just following orders is perfectly fine.

We generally only punish the losers in conflict, do you think if Germany had won WW2 the orchestrators of the fire bombing of dresdin would not have been tried as war criminals? And I could name many other things.

History is written by the victors. (Not saying the nazi regime was not evil) just saying if your side wins then just following orders seems to be just fine.

Uneven punishment after warfare leads to things like WW2 if the world (specifically France) had not utterly crushed out the future of the German economy after WW1 we may not have had a second world war.

Lastly evil is very subjective, how many people did the rebels kill before alderon? How many terror style attacks were done in the name of the rebellion? In a conflict there is rarelly someone on the side of good, just groups with there own agendas doing what they have justified to peruse those agendas in the next of good.

Well, "just perfectly fine if you were the victor" is ambiguous.  It might be the case that people committing such atrocities under a victor are not legally punished or held accountable.  But that doesn't mean they haven't acted immorally.  Morality and legality are not always the same.

Also, to say that 'evil is subjective' is to fully embrace Moral Relativism, which very few ethicists, theologians, or philosophers have done throughout human history.  The vast majority of Ethical Theory is an attempt to identify the nature of an objective morality (independent of an individual's personal position or desires).  Otherwise you're not really talking about morality.

 

Moral Relativism is the spirit of the day.  I have a Christian friend that speaks at college campuses and he says it's not uncommon for him to run into kids who can't even commit to something as terrible as r a p e being wrong.

Because that's relative to the society you're talking about its wrong in ours but may not be in another society.

In the past human sacrifice was a part of some societies like the Aztec empire, we wouldn't allow it but for them it was normal.

Ancient Rome had animal sacrifice, most had slavery at some point etc.

Morality is directly related to the society it exists in, it's not inconceivable a society that condones such assault could exist and in that culture it would be moral.

Our societies laws have nothing to do with religion after all no one's stoned to death for working Sunday's and we don't allow revenge killing like the bible says you must commit if someone kills a family member (accidental manslaughter included).

 

 

 

If there is no God, and there is no final authority, then nothing is black-and-white and we are all animals and who really is to say what is right or wrong anyways?

 

 

 

Wow, this an exceptionally sophomoric take on ethics, Rick.  Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Bentham, and Mill are just some of the many philosophers who have offered robust ethical theories about what objectively determines if something is RIGHT or WRONG independent of any appeal to a divine authority.  Also, there are and have existed millions of atheists and humanists and agnostics who have lived good lives and held firmly to moral principles without the belief of a god who is handing out a "final authority" on morality.

 

In fact, over two-thousand years ago in the Euthyphro dialogue Plato clearly shows why an appeal to a divine authority (Divine Command Theory) doesn't even work as a normative theory:

Does God command an action because it is good, or is an action good because God commands it?

If the former, then there is something about that action that makes it good independent of God's command (and that's why God command its), and we can and should appeal to those moral reasons when justifying actions and deciding how to act (we shouldn't simply stop at "because God said so!" as a moral justification, because there are other more fundamental reasons that determine the morality of it).  Alternatively, if the latter, then that means there are no reasons for why things are good and bad and that God is purely arbitrarily endorsing and condoning actions as good/bad.  But this doesn't seem right, because it would make morality a result of arbitrary coin tosses without any reason whatsoever, and we can't imagine a world in which a God would have commanded wanton **** as the right thing to do (because our intuition there is something about such an action that makes it wrong).  If God was perfectly random in condemnation and endorsement of behaviors, then it would raise questions as to whether the God was a morally-perfect (omnibenevolent) being worthy of worship and obedience.

So, it's a pretty clear case as to why Divine Command Theory is neither necessary nor sufficient in establishing the foundations of morality.  Either God's endorsement/condemnation of actions is meaninglessly arbitrary and without reason OR God's endorsement/condemnation of actions is just a reflection of other moral truths and reasons which we can and should appeal to directly.

Edited by AllWingsStandyingBy

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Yes it is, it was a caricature of Nazi Germany while making fun of the US because lol Lucas.  There is little in terms of moral ambiguity in Star Wars, even if life is just overlapping shades of grey and most things are never as good as they seem.

It only got more lopsided with Disney though. 

 

 

I think that's what the authors tried (clearly defined sides: Empire=Evil, Rebels/Republic=Good), but they kinda failed (IMO at least).

 

Starting from the prequels, the Republic was a corrupt, bloated an impotent state (they failed to provide any form of practical solution to Naboo).

The Jedi order was completely above the law (there's no control, oversight or responsibility to anyone from outside the Order in any canon source AFAIK), which is hardly the mark of a 'good' organization and the Republic tolerated it.

The Republic, and subsequently the Rebellion are in practice almost as xenophobic as the Empire, as apart from situations where their hand was forced, like Senators from a non-human planet, or Ackbar when the Mon Calamari were providing the bulk of capital ships, there is to my knowledge exactly zero non-humans in positions of real power in the Republic or the Rebellion (hell, come to think of it, now that Thrawn is canon, he probably wields more power than any non-human in the canon history of the Republic and Rebellion).

Additionally neither the Republic or the Jedi Order have any qualms in specifically breeding sentient beings, conditioning them to follow orders and using them as cannon fodder against the Separatists.

That's pretty much the world the Rebels are fighting to restore. not better than the Empire IMO, just a different kind of evil.

 

It's because the Empire was brutal and opressive.  It was more stable than the Republic, but it was excessively cruel in everything because of Palpatine's Sith Cult.  Even the NR and Post Vong government couldn't fix anything, and the NR in the watered down DC is even more of a bureaucratic mess despite not having to fight three Alien conflicts and several Imperial Warlords. 

Edited by incinerator950

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The Empire itself was an authoritarian regime that relied on military force and propaganda to maintain power.

 

While the Imperial military was impressive it wasn't as powerful as it was believed to be: the Empire couldn't handle a full galactic revolt. It relied on propaganda to amplify the perception of that force amongst its citizens: it needed them to think that it couldn't be defeated. That's why the Battle of Endor tore the Empire apart: by destroying the Second Death Star, Vader, Palpatine and a large chunk of the Imperial Fleet all at once the Rebellion shattered the belief that the Empire was ultimately invunerable.

 

The Death Star is in many ways the ultimate expression of this approach and in some ways key to the Empire's strategy for maintaining power. From a purely military perspective the Death Star was poor value for cost: its financial weight in Star Destroyers would have been far more useful to the Imperial Navy. It was fundamentally a terror weapon: perceived as invunerable and capable of obliterating planets. The idea behind it is that nobody would knowingly harbour dissidents if that put them under threat of total planetary annihilation. That's also why Alderaan was targeted: it was known as a hub of dissent and it was a highly developed Core World. It was chosen to be as high profile as possible: it was destroyed as a demonstration to the rest of the galaxy of what dissent, no matter how powerful your planet was, would result in.

 

This is also probably why the Death Star was rebuilt: a completed, properly defended Death Star is pretty much a victory for the Empire: so long as they have it open resistance is pretty much unthinkable. Without the means to destroy it through asymmetrical warfare how can you fight it?

 

In summary, it's an authoritarian regime that relied on the belief that it couldn't be defeated to maintain power and on state terrorism in the form of the Death Star to maintain it. It maintained power via coercion instead of persuasion: it didn't make you see the benefits of its rule, it made you see the consequences of opposing its rule.

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I've seen a few people equating America's use of nuclear warheads against Japan to the Death Star and it doesn't translate very well.

 

The equivalent situation in America would be if one party took control, dissolved elections, seized control of the media, paraded the military around the country, subjugated other countries and absorbed them into America and fired nuclear warheads at their own cities if they showed any signs of dissent.

 

Oh, and they announced this nuking policy by obliterating a well known dissentful city beforehand without warning for no reason other than to ensure nobody thought they were bluffing.

Edited by Blue Five

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And doesn't the Death Star seem like a stupid idea in many ways? You're in charge of a galactic empire, and you decide to keep folks in control with a planet destroying weapon? Planets have resources--why would you waste them by blowing them up? If they wanted to go all genocidal why not blockade the planet and nerve gas the population and then repopulate with imperial loyalists? Sure, a death star would be good for destroying enemy fleets or going to other places and blowing up OTHER empire's planets. Blowing up the planets in the system was just wasteful. Even worse, destroying stars to blow up planets seems like it would totally **** up galactic systems. It's almost like parts of this fictional universe are really dumb. 

 

The answer is easy: blowing up planets makes for a great spectacle (and it seems to be the only thing JJ Abrams can do besides lens flare, tbh)

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If they wanted to go all genocidal why not blockade the planet and nerve gas the population and then repopulate with imperial loyalists?

 

The Death Star combined perceived invunerability with the ability to pretty much turn up in system and destroy a planet as soon as it enters firing range. It also has centralized control. A Base Delta Zero (levelling a planet from orbit with a huge fleet) can be survived, takes a lot longer to do and can be more obviously fought. If a captain refuses to BD0 a planet they have a whole capital ship at their command whereas the operators of the Death Star have little opportunity to turn traitor. Base Delta Zero is reliant on the loyalty of the navy whereas the Death Star is something Palpatine can control directly. It serves to not only make the galaxy unable to defeat the Empire but also stops a schism in the Empire from defeating Palpatine.

 

The Death Star is also significantly more powerful than a BD0: planetary shields might be able to hold off a bombardment, explaining why BD0 isn't a primary strategy for the Empire.

 

Besides, the point of the Death Star is the spectacle: it creates existential terror in a way that Base Delta Zero evidently didn't.

 

Planets have resources--why would you waste them by blowing them up?

 

A planetary asteroid field is actually going to be a gold mine of elemental resources: the Death Star only wastes its biological resources.

Edited by Blue Five

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A Base Delta Zero (levelling a planet from orbit with a huge fleet) can be survived, takes a lot longer to do and can be more obviously fought. If a captain refuses to BD0 a planet they have a whole capital ship at their command whereas the operators of the Death Star have little opportunity to turn traitor. 

That said - there's a lot of debate as to how many ships are needed and how long it takes. For some - it's as little as 1 ISD and 1 hour - and the only survivors will be in bunkers underneath a thin (or not-so-thin) layer of molten rock.

 

For others, the fleet needs to be larger, and the timeframe is still longer, and the surface damage is not quite at the "sea of molten rock" level - only patches are molten, not the entire surface.

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Morality can easily be based upon the autonomous agency of rational creatures. The action of an autonomous being, when it impedes the ability of another autonomous being to self-govern, is the defining characteristic of an immoral act. This account is insensitive to culture or society, it is only sensitive to the nature of the interacting agents. It allows you to rule upon the rightness or otherwise of an act, regardless of whether that act is legal or not.

Except that it falls down pretty hard when applied to reality. There are inevitably situations where acting in either direction (or not acting which still counts) will harm one party or another. In that situation which action is right? Well neither are purely right obviously. But which one is more right? That inevitably comes down to a subjective decision. Even if that subjective decision is based on objective data the act of ascribing weight to that data is subjective.

 

As an example. I have X people and presented to me is a button that if I press it will make 1 of them very unhappy but X - 1 of them somewhat happy. Different people will push the button at different values of X. We can measure the level of change in happiness objectively and we can determine X, that can help inform making the decision to press or not. But deciding how much the larger groups happiness is worth vs. that one persons unhappiness is an extremely subjective determination.

 

Hi Makaze, sounds like you're confusing my position with some kind of consequentialism, maybe utilitarianism? To be clear, what I gave is a first principle. Obviously you're going to need things like Mill's harm principle on top of that, in order to get a world-apt ethics going.  

Also, "But which one is more right? That inevitably comes down to a subjective decision." is very much begging the question. We can, do and must decide our actions according to criteria that allow us to justify ourselves to others. My argument is that we do so, by and large, already according to the principle of rational autonomy. Your engaging me in debate also presumes such a principle, for example. From there we can get to inter-subjective morality pretty easily. 

None of this is to dismiss the complexity of ethical decision making - it is to point out the foundation upon which it is based - a foundation that is ignored in relativism. 

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I think it's fair to assert that a Base Delta Zero is a significant undertaking requiring a colossal military presence simply from how rare it is. That, or/and it can be countered by a respectable planetary shield: Thrawn's fleet is unable to attack a shielded planet in the Thrawn Trilogy and the planetary shields are what prevents a proper assault on Coruscant in both Stackpole and Zahn's EU works. It's also possible that a BD0 can only realistically cripple a planet rather than wipe out its population when you take into account military resources and timescales: the destruction of Taris is a BD0 which destroys everything over a few stories tall but is hardly an extinction event.

 

It makes sense to me that:

  1. Base Delta Zeroes are highly destructive but take a long time and are impractical as an extinction event: the bombardment can be survived. They require an extended siege which limits their applicability as a shock and awe method.
  2. Base Delta Zeroes do not work well against planetary shields: a developed world has the defences to resist them and an undeveloped world isn't sufficiently populated for a BD0 to be effective. The only situation where a BD0 can be carried out on a developed world is one where the Empire is already in control. This may require firing on one's own troops (as with the destruction of Taris) which does not inspire loyalty and is probably less effective than an occupation for most purposes.
  3. An extinction level BD0 in a realistic timescale would require a commitment of military resources the Empire couldn't afford without leaving other parts of the galaxy undefended. The speed of the Death Star is as much of an advantage as its power.

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Hmm... lots of interesting stuff here.

 

Trump = Jar Jar Binks is definitely a valid comparison, especially with how he's being puppeteered by Putin: not directly, but with appeals to his ego and self-importance.

 

As far as Japan at the end of WWII compared to the Empire goes, the idea of the US government bombing, say, Milwaukee to kill a hundred partisans is a much better comparison. Alderaan wasn't at war with the Empire, it was a MEMBER of the Empire.

 

I've always defined unethical behavior as "Inflicting harm - mental, physical, social, economic - on another being without their consent." That last part is most important, because when a criminal attacks me, or one nation sneak attacks another without its populace rebelling, they have surrendered their protection under this philosophy and consented to the idea that harm is the only thing that will solve our differences. Unfortunately, it also leaves holes, but all philosophical statements do. *sigh*

 

 

And Boba Rick, I'm calling you out. Taxation is a contribution to the greater good, not theft. Only a very selfish person would believe otherwise, and if there were fewer people who believed the way you do, the government wouldn't need to threaten force to get it - oh, and Greece wouldn't've collapsed so hard recently. Government may be a protection racket, but it's a protection racket that benefits us all and shields us from the far worse alternative.

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Is it tine to point out the similarities between the Empire testing the Death Star on Alderaan to Anerica dropping the atomic bomb on Japan?

 

Dumbest thing I've heard all day.

Agreed. The A-bomb, in the long run, actually saved more lives then it took. Japan would've fought tooth and nail if the U.S. had gone forward with it's invasion plans, and left many more lives on both sides dead.

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