Friday, May 20, 2005

The Force of Power

When Nelson Rockefeller, heir to one of America’s richest fortunes and worth over $1 billion, ran for vice president in 1974, my dad asked “why does he need that job when he already has so much money?” That question could be asked about many super rich people who run for office, or who choose to do anything entrepreneurial, charitable, or any productive tasks other than perpetual vacation and retirement.

I answered my dad’s question from my self-assumed lofty pedestal of higher learning as a student in graduate school; I told him that money was a means to an end, the end being power and control, and what better place to command as much power as possible than being second to the most powerful man in the world?

There has been a lot of press about the politics of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

Since early screenings of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith began last month, film critics, commentators and Internet bloggers have been debating whether filmmaker George Lucas is comparing President Bush and the Iraq war to the Dark Side of the Force. The conservative film site has called for a boycott. The topic even made NBC's Today show.
Quotes from the movie have been sighted as direct parallels to current events, about the surrender of liberty in favor of security, even to statements Bush has made about terrorism. I saw the film yesterday, and what sticks out the most as a theme that can echo in any age comes from the Chancellor as he moves to seduce Anakin to the dark side. The Chancellor speaks about power and how it changes those who achieve it.

In another galaxy, far far away, famed historian Lord Acton (1834-1902) stated simply
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Acton also said
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
We need to remember this when we choose to divest of our hard-won liberty by heeding the powers that be to renew the Patriot Act, to continue occupational expansion overseas in the name of freedom, to ignore real problems at home in favor of smoke-and-mirrors issues such as repairing social security instead of universal medical coverage. That’s the lesson of Star Wars, and what we the people should be vigilant about with our leadership in America.

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