In Star Wars, we are presented with two competing religious movements, the Jedi and the Sith. The Jedi followed the light side of the Force, and the Sith the dark side. We’re supposed to believe the Jedi are the good guys but let’s examine that.
Unlike other articles about fiction, this article is in the past tense because Star Wars is a documentary detailing real events. They happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It says so right there at the beginning of the very first Star Wars movie.
In the live-action films, we only saw one person inducted into the old Jedi Order, the Order as it was supposed to operate. That was Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was a nine-year old slave on the desert planet Tatooine. His mother was also a slave owned by the same jackass. As Tatooine was outside of Republic control and controlled by the Hutts, slavery was legal. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn sensed great Force potential in Anakin.
So, did he free Anakin and Shmi Skywalker and allow them to pursue their lives as they saw fit? Did he ask a newly-freed Shmi to accompany her son back to Coruscant so he could begin Jedi training? Nope. He gambled on a podrace to win ownership of Anakin Skywalker, but not his mother. Technically, he became Anakin’s enslaver.
So, Qui-Gon bought an enslaved nine-year old (using the boy’s own talents) but not his mother. Hopefully, you’re thinking but aren’t the Jedi “guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic?” Apparently, that’s only in the Old Republic. In Hutt Space, they still bought slaves and left slave empires intact. Couldn’t like two Jedi just dismantle the Hutt empire and free all of the slaves? Isn’t that exactly what Luke did in Return of the Jedi? Yes and Yes. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan just abandoned the enslaved beings though. Obi-Wan even called them “inferior beings.”
Then, to make matters even more antebellum, Yoda remarked that Anakin was too old to begin Jedi training. A nine-year old is too old. Typically, they took children much younger. How young? Yoda didn’t say but some of those younglings looked pretty tiny. Preschool age?
So, let’s recap: The government sanctioned one religion over all others. This religion forced its adherents to take a vow of poverty and a vow of celibacy. To maintain their numbers, they acquired children significantly under the age of nine years old. They did this presumably by buying slaves, paying parents, searching orphanages, and I think it’s safe to assume they were not above kidnapping particularly promising kids. They took these kids to a faraway planet and locked them in seclusion. (You think they got to decide not to be Jedi? Pshh.) They then assigned them as preteens to an older priest, an older priest whom they referred to as “master.”
Which part of this isn’t human trafficking? And then, finally, they were intolerant bigots. If you recall Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker discovered Palpatine was the Sith lord. Mace Windu took three other Jedi masters to go arrest Palpatine. The state-sanctioned priests had the power to arrest the duly-elected head of government. His crime? Being a Sith. Not murder, abuse of power, or any real crimes. Just being a Sith. It was against the law to be the wrong religion.
Let’s not forget, the Jedi produced Darth Vader, Darth Tyranus, Kylo Ren and countless other mass murderers throughout the galaxy.
That leads us to the inevitable conclusion: the Sith were right. From my point of view, the Jedi are evil*.
*Not Leia, though. She was the best of us.