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Vigil

The Empire is evil.

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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. 

I think I overacted to the word "easilly" in there. I've certainly spoken to people of a certain libertarian bent who take that principle and see it as the sum total of the discussion while ignoring the fairly obvious potential for contradictions and caveats. I certainly agree that it's a sound guiding principle, both from personal and societal standpoint. But since it's insufficient by itself and the truly contentious issues tend to lie in what additions are chosen to round it out the word easy struck a chord.

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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.

 

Hahahahaha....  I actually agree with you.  I pay taxes.  I lean libertarian, but I am by no means an anarchist. 

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End the Fed!

 

Eh, wouldn't go that far. Money functions even if it is no more real than justice or mercy. We all got so used to never exchanging the notes for the gold they represented that we eventually realised we didn't need the gold any more.

 

oh, and Greece wouldn't've collapsed so hard recently.

 

Greece collapsed because it can't manipulate its currency. The UK would have done exactly the same thing had it not conjured a load of money out of nothing to keep its wheels going.

Edited by Blue Five

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We like to say the NSDAP was 'far right' but in truth and practice they were a little left of where today's Democratic party stands.  They just happened to make the mistake of electing a corrupt and power hungry career politician who was also charismatic.

Ah, yes. The party of death camps, state-controlled labor unions, and book burning is just slightly to the left of a party composed of an alliance between Black Lives Matter activists labor rights activist, and science advocates.

Indeed! There's a certain similarly between a party that murdered to enforce its notions of racial purity, and a party that makes a fetish of being as inclusive of everyone it can. I can't even see the difference between the Nazis- who put LGBT folks in death camps, and Democrats- who backed the marriage equality movement, and whos most recent national convention had non-gendered bathrooms.

In the US, and in Europe, there are parties which value the same things in 2016 that the fascists did in 1932. However, in the USA, the Democratic party is the alternative to that ideology.

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For instance, the Parliament of the United Kingdom was formed in 1707, a good eighty-one years before the earliest possible interpretation of the United States' "lasting government" (I know us Yanks only like to think about 'Ol' Evil King George' and the Crown being a thing back then, but even decades before the Revolutionary War the UK had embraced the Parliamentary system which is still in place today...sheesh). Also, regarding: the 81 year head-start (ignoring the age of the Crown entirely): I'm not sure exactly when the US' "current lasting government" even started, but it wasn't in 1776 as most fellow Americans would probably report. We didn't ratify the Articles of the Confederation until 1781 and those weren't replaced with the current Constitution until 1788.

Interestingly, there were either 8 or 13 (Depending how you count) US presidents before George Washington.

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1932 is not 2016. A fair amount of the difference you see is more a function of 80+ years of social change than anything else. The Democrats in 1932 (or the Republicans, or any other party for that matter) when help up in similar comparison don't exactly come off smelling like roses on a variety of issues. Besides you kind of proved his point, those extreme examples were not part of a party platform that got the NSDAP elected in the first place. Rather they were the result of the party leaders, plural, using the power they gained to push their own agenda. In economic terms, before they went waaaaay off the deep end and went so extreme as to be difficult to realistically place on the spectrum, they were fairly lefty.

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It remains the only country to have deployed WMDs to this day.

Chemical weapons were widely used in the First World War. And have been used since then (by the Assad regime among others).

Biological warfare has been practiced for... Well for as long as humans have been around. The Japanese themselves practiced Biological Warfare in the 1940s during their conquest of China.

There's certainly a case to be made that the US should not have dropped nukes. But please don't make that case by ignoring the rest of human history.

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To keep real world politics out of it: Look at the republic, which was unable to maintain peace within its borders, nor able to enforce its rules. corruption a more widespread problem than even in the empire. Slave trade, blackmail, the banking clan and trade federation squeezing out worlds and whole sectors out of their lifeblood and gaining even private corporate government in the corporate sector.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" Robert J. Hanlon

 

We never really got to see how the average person lived their daily lives in the Republic and Empire so it's hard to judge which was worse from that perspective (obviously certain specific groups fared far worse in the Empire). But I think it's fair to say that any negatives in the Republic were more simply from incompetence than evil.

 

I've yet to see the otherwise prevalent argument that the Empire is good.

It boils down to debating which is the lesser of two evils, or at least casting doubt on the obvious choice. Was the Empire bad? Sure, in a lot of ways. No one is arguing that it was a purely benevolent organization or led by nice people with everyone's best interests at heart. But were the deaths and destruction of the galactic civil war worth getting rid of those bad things while also possibly destroying the good things the Empire provided like stability? The Empire was clearly antagonistic to some groups but did it provide a greater good overall than whatever came before or after it? There's a fair argument to be made that the Republic was on its way to collapse one way or another and that the Empire was a better more stable result than the resulting anarchy or a society ruled by a trade federation (say what you will about the evils of rule by autocratic Sith, they've got nothing on the logical conclusion of completely unrestrained capitalists in possession of a star fleet and robot army...)

 

 

A thought to consider. The empire ended the clone wars. The Empire defeated the separatists and at least the first death star has been (mainly) constructed by the separatists. The empire restored order in the galaxy, something the republic was unable to do. 

Now there is certainly an issue that its leader is not only the most powerful being in the universe, he is as well a sith lord, sadist and megalomaniac. Well, strike the megalomaniac because he actually might be as great and important as he thinks he is. But Palpatine is not the empire and people like Tarkin fought hard for the Republic during the clone wars and there is strong indication in TCW that Tarkin did not fought for personal gain either. 

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thats how you get Nazi's KKK, black panthers, etc, etc, etc.

Please do not put the Black Panther Party- who fought against terror attacks by committed the government- into the same category as the Nazis and the Klan- who infiltrate and infest government in order to commit violence against those of different ethnicities.

In fact, if you _really_ want to understand the Panthers, you should take a look at the Rebel Alliance. I mean, both groups even fought their governments by feeding people!

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The Star Wars universe on the whole diverges away from the feel of the original movies drastically as more stuff happens!

 

The original movies always kinda had a Third Reich vs. Britain WWII feel...

 

Then people started feeling like the empire is more like the Roman Empire...

 

Now the Emperor got elected because when he was younger he had a swooshy wig and said he was going to "Make the Galaxy Great Again"...

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A thought to consider. The empire ended the clone wars. The Empire defeated the separatists and at least the first death star has been (mainly) constructed by the separatists. The empire restored order in the galaxy, something the republic was unable to do. Now there is certainly an issue that its leader is not only the most powerful being in the universe, he is as well a sith lord, sadist and megalomaniac. Well, strike the megalomaniac because he actually might be as great and important as he thinks he is. But Palpatine is not the empire and people like Tarkin fought hard for the Republic during the clone wars and there is strong indication in TCW that Tarkin did not fought for personal gain either.

The catch there being that Palpatine was still the driving force behind the Separatists and the Death Star's construction.

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A thought to consider. The empire ended the clone wars. The Empire defeated the separatists and at least the first death star has been (mainly) constructed by the separatists. The empire restored order in the galaxy, something the republic was unable to do. Now there is certainly an issue that its leader is not only the most powerful being in the universe, he is as well a sith lord, sadist and megalomaniac. Well, strike the megalomaniac because he actually might be as great and important as he thinks he is. But Palpatine is not the empire and people like Tarkin fought hard for the Republic during the clone wars and there is strong indication in TCW that Tarkin did not fought for personal gain either.

The catch there being that Palpatine was still the driving force behind the Separatists and the Death Star's construction.

 

Yes. The empire started and ended the clone wars. Heh. This thread has gone to strange places. (And I was epically wrong about the shields in the movies. oops.)

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The catch there being that Palpatine was still the driving force behind the Separatists and the Death Star's construction.

No, real objections against that. Will not try to argue that Palpatine was a good man. ;-)

More below.

A thought to consider. The empire ended the clone wars. The Empire defeated the separatists and at least the first death star has been (mainly) constructed by the separatists. The empire restored order in the galaxy, something the republic was unable to do. Now there is certainly an issue that its leader is not only the most powerful being in the universe, he is as well a sith lord, sadist and megalomaniac. Well, strike the megalomaniac because he actually might be as great and important as he thinks he is. But Palpatine is not the empire and people like Tarkin fought hard for the Republic during the clone wars and there is strong indication in TCW that Tarkin did not fought for personal gain either.

The catch there being that Palpatine was still the driving force behind the Separatists and the Death Star's construction.
Yes. The empire started and ended the clone wars. Heh. This thread has gone to strange places. (And I was epically wrong about the shields in the movies. oops.)
 

Started? Not at all. 

 

You might blame the Sith, as they took the political atmosphere to their advantage and raised to political power and leadership within the republic and the Confederation of Independent Systems, but they did not created the corruption within the senate and republic bureaucracy which lead to the separatist movement. 

 

But this Empire is not the Sith Empire. 

 

Even more important, the fall of the Empire and Palpatine's death which lead to the birth of the new republic lead to exact the same situation again. Centralist within the new republic supporting the first order and separatist speaking out for more independence from the republic. (Bloodlines)

Edited by SEApocalypse

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Sadly, a typically American response to taxes. "If I don't decide how the dollars are spent personally, no one can have them."

Let's forget that taxes repair roads, provide Medicare, fund schools, pay the police and fire departments, etc. So what we get is privatization of everything, leading to toll roads, 401Ks for retirement, mandatory health insurance (rather than actual health care), and $900 Epi-pens.

This only replaces "government over-reach" with corporate greed, but for some reason, this is easier to stomach for the average American.

The Bible actually has something pretty insightful to say on this: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's." I may not be religious but it sums up the nature of currency quite accurately.

The material coins and banknotes are made from isn't yours: it belongs to the central bank. That's why you can't destroy banknotes: they're not yours to destroy. What's actually yours is what the banknote represents: a statement that the government owes you its face value.

Banknotes were once promisory notes for silver and gold: the name of the British currency, the Pound, comes from the measure of weight. You could go to the central bank and exchange it for gold whenever you wanted to. People didn't because notes and coins were more convenient.

We've since moved on to fiat money: banknotes can no longer be exchanged for gold, just for the equivalent value of money. A dollar bill is a promisory note that entitles you to claim a dollar from the Federal Reserve, but as the dollar is an abstract concept you can only exchange it for another dollar bill.

Say you have 200 dollars in your bank account. The bank isn't keeping them in a vault, it's off investing them in things. Your bank balance is how much the bank owes you.

Thing is, the bank doesn't have any dollars either. It just has promisory notes that entitle it to claim that many dollars from the Federal Reserve.

How many dollars does the Federal Reserve have?

None.

As weird as it sounds, money isn't real. It's as tangible as brownie points or owed favours. It has tradeable value without existing.

A currency is completely at the mercy of the treasury that controls it. They can issue as much of it as they want: countries can and do print money. After all, nothing costs nothing to make. The government could wipe out all your savings overnight by issuing billions of new dollars and making the dollar worthless. It's called hyperinflation.

The reason governments don't do this is because their economy relies on the perception of value of their currency: if they screw with it too much it'll be seen as unreliable and people will stop using it: a currency has to be trusted to work.

When the government taxes you it takes some of your nothing away so you have less nothing, which is to say instead of nothing you have nothing. This allows it to give that nothing to other people to do public work for the government. It could instead create more nothing but that'd result in there being more nothing in circulation: the more nothing people have to trade the more nothing other people can charge for real things like goods and services. As the total worth of all dollar bills is nothing, the more dollar bills you have the more that nothing is divided amongst them.

They've just reduced the amount of nothing they owe you.

 

I'm with you on everything except "nothing cost nothing to make."  I read somewhere that right now Venezuela is in such deep do-do that their currently actually costs more to make than its face value.

 

I believe the U.S. penny is another case in point.

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What's actually yours is what the banknote represents: a statement that the government owes you its face value.

On US bills, it's the "full faith and credit" of the government.

Banknotes were once promisory notes for silver and gold: the name of the British currency, the Pound, comes from the measure of weight. You could go to the central bank and exchange it for gold whenever you wanted to. People didn't because notes and coins were more convenient.

We've since moved on to fiat money: banknotes can no longer be exchanged for gold, just for the equivalent value of money. A dollar bill is a promisory note that entitles you to claim a dollar from the Federal Reserve, but as the dollar is an abstract concept you can only exchange it for another dollar bill.

Fun fact: gold and silver have as much intrinsic value as paper money. That is: none at all.

Say you have 200 dollars in your bank account. The bank isn't keeping them in a vault, it's off investing them in things. Your bank balance is how much the bank owes you.

This is... The interesting bit. See, the Federal Reserve (and their equivalent in other countries) can tell banks how much of their deposits they have to hold onto, and how much they are allowed to lend out. This is one of the tools the Fed uses to control inflation.

Thing is, the bank doesn't have any dollars either. It just has promisory notes that entitle it to claim that many dollars from the Federal Reserve.

How many dollars does the Federal Reserve have?

None.

As weird as it sounds, money isn't real. It's as tangible as brownie points or owed favours. It has tradeable value without existing.

Yup! This has always been true. Things only have the value that people decide they have. Because in a famine, gold won't buy the last loaf of bread.

A currency is completely at the mercy of the treasury that controls it. They can issue as much of it as they want: countries can and do print money. After all, nothing costs nothing to make. The government could wipe out all your savings overnight by issuing billions of new dollars and making the dollar worthless. It's called hyperinflation.

They would also get rid of all your debt. Debt is paid in nominal dollars, which are constant despite inflation.

The reason governments don't do this is because their economy relies on the perception of value of their currency: if they screw with it too much it'll be seen as unreliable and people will stop using it: a currency has to be trusted to work.

Also... Well. The folks who know enough about money to lobby for certain types of fiscal policy tend to be the ones to whom debt is owed. So while 2-3% inflation would be better for the economy, America is experiencing ~0.5% inflation. This makes it much harder to pay off your mortgage.

When the government taxes you it takes some of your nothing away so you have less nothing, which is to say instead of nothing you have nothing. This allows it to give that nothing to other people to do public work for the government. It could instead create more nothing but that'd result in there being more nothing in circulation: the more nothing people have to trade the more nothing other people can charge for real things like goods and services. As the total worth of all dollar bills is nothing, the more dollar bills you have the more that nothing is divided amongst them.

They've just reduced the amount of nothing they owe you.

I'm not sure I followed all that nothing, but it seems fundamentally flawed to call "value stored as a bet on the stability of the government" "nothing".

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I just spent today educating people, if only there was some sort of tool we could use to estimate the value of my labor that could then also be used as a medium of exchange so that I can trade my labor for food from people who don't need me to educate them on how to write JCL.

Edited by FourDogsInaHorseSuit

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I just spent today educating people, if only there was some sort of tool we could use to estimate the value of my labor that could then also be used as a medium of exchange so that I can trade my labor for food from people who don't need me to educate them on how to write JCL.

That's called Barter.  While it worked great for millennia, we've upgraded to an abstract system called Currency. :P

Edited by Darth Meanie

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End the Fed!

 

Eh, wouldn't go that far. Money functions even if it is no more real than justice or mercy. We all got so used to never exchanging the notes for the gold they represented that we eventually realised we didn't need the gold any more.

 

oh, and Greece wouldn't've collapsed so hard recently.

 

Greece collapsed because it can't manipulate its currency. The UK would have done exactly the same thing had it not conjured a load of money out of nothing to keep its wheels going.

 

Real talk: What do you think the point of currency is? LIke do you know why it is the first thing nearly every society invents?

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I just spent today educating people, if only there was some sort of tool we could use to estimate the value of my labor that could then also be used as a medium of exchange so that I can trade my labor for food from people who don't need me to educate them on how to write JCL.

That's called Barter.  While it worked great for millennia, we've upgraded to an abstract system called Currency. :P

 

Please don't explain the joke, it kinda rains on my condescending parade.

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I just spent today educating people, if only there was some sort of tool we could use to estimate the value of my labor that could then also be used as a medium of exchange so that I can trade my labor for food from people who don't need me to educate them on how to write JCL.

That's called Barter.  While it worked great for millennia, we've upgraded to an abstract system called Currency. :P

 

Please don't explain the joke, it kinda rains on my condescending parade.

 

Condescension causes rain, my friend, so you shouldn't have held a parade in its honor.

 

Or is that condensation? I can never keep that straight.

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Read first person accounts of Germans who served during World War II.  Many were just regular Joe's hoping to help their country and democratically elected leader.  They decorated Christmas trees, loved their mothers, respected their foes... and ignored they were run by the National Socialist Democratic Party.  That the SS existed, that the NSDAP used paid protesters (brown shirts) to intimidate other political parties, etc.  They chose statism (big government) over small and statism over personal liberties.  By the time they realized the evil of the path they chose it was to late.  The NSDAP controlled the military, stripped civilians from owning firearms, rejected criticism and persecuted dissenters, press was propaganda, created state police answerable to the government and not the people, etc.  We like to say the NSDAP was 'far right' but in truth and practice they were a little left of where today's Democratic party stands.  They just happened to make the mistake of electing a corrupt and power hungry career politician who was also charismatic.

 

It was "regular" "good" Germans "just serving their country" who rounded up Slavs and Jews by the millions and shot, hanged, and gassed them. 

The Germans respected the Brits. They treated British POWs well. They did not respect the Soviets and treated them poorly. 

The UK and US treated all their POWs well. Japanese and German. Even though the racial element to the war in the Pacific meant that neither the US respected the Japanese nor did the Japanese respect the US. 

 

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?

Good luck, there are none

Maybe if the US responded to the shooting of police officers in Dallas this Summer by nuking Houston, that would make sense. But... that's not what happened. 

 

Both action were an attempt to stop further unnecessary violence the US knew Japan would fight to the last person and wanted to avoid such slaughter, the empire knew alderan was the heart of galactic Isis and wanted to save known space from their religious crusade.

 

I love when people complain about how the rebels are a theological, monarchical insurgent movement. 

Here's the problem: The Empire is ruled by the Emperor, a monarch. The Emperor is Darth Sidious, who is the head of the Sith cult. As the head of the Sith cult and the head of the Empire, the theological monarch of the Empire, he led a literal crusade against the Jedi until the day he died. 

What the Jedi (and the rebels) are doing is less crusade and more jihad: It's defensive in nature, rather than offensive in nature. 

 

It is literally the exact same thing the empire did to alderon. The empire was attempting to do what ever it took to put an end to the conflict.

It did not work for the empire, they did it once and moved on to military targets, it also did not work for America so they did it again...

Maybe if the empire had the balls of the us leadership and just kept exploding civilian targets the rebels may have capitulated?

Personally I believe the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually lead to much less loss of life due to them causing an end to the conflict. (It kind of makes me sick justifing away that amount of death however)

No, it isn't. Not even remotely. 

As of at least 2005, the United State military was still issuing Purple Hearts minted in anticipation of the loses suffered by US forces in the invasion (just the invasion) of mainland Japan

Massive numbers of the Japanese civilian populace would have died in the event of a US invasion, most of them would have died not from being burned or nuked or bombed or shot - they would have died of starvation. 

 

 

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.

 

Ackbar commanded the rebel fleet at Endor. He was a key member of the Resistance's leadership in their struggle against the First Order. And he commanded the New Republic's Navy. 

That puts him a few levels above Thrawn. 

And the GAR had Jedi Masters serving as commanders and generals, which meant that Yoda, Yaddle, Saesee Tiin, Eeth Koth, Adi Galia, Plo Koon, Ki-Adi Mundi, Shaak Ti, and Kit Fisto all held ranks comparable or higher than Thrawn. If you're goal is diversity, then having the Jedi Council advising and serving the Republic's Senate is the way to go. 

(In old canon, the Grand Master of the Jedi Order also served as Chancellor of the Republic, but this ended a thousand years before the battle of Coruscant, when the Republic disbanded their military. The Jedi served the Senate in an advisory role, chiefly as diplomats and assisting the Republic's law enforcement and judiciary. They did not command the Senate and, in fact, had no jurisdiction over the Senate.)

 

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. 

 

That's not true. 

The Empire was less stable than the Republic. The Republic lasted a thousand years before it was destroyed by civil war. And even that civil war failed to destroy the Republic so much as simply give the civil war's architect an excuse to seize power. Had Anakin Skywalker made a different decision when he confronted Sidious and Mace Windu, the Republic never would have fallen. And until the last couple years of the Republic, it managed to rule the galaxy without so much as a military. 

The Empire, on the other hand, barely made it twenty years - and it did not face a military force as formidable as the Confederacy of Independent Systems while simultaneously possessing a military many, many times more powerful than that possessed by the Republic, even on the eve of its transformation into the Empire. 

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