Star Wars and the Austrian School: Introducing Darth Plagueis

By Zach Foster

Darth Plagueis was a dark lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could… even keep the ones he cared about from dying…  The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities, some considered to be unnatural.  He became so powerful, the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power.

—Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious[1]

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis book trailer (YouTube)

After much disappointment expressed by the public over the quality and substance of the Prequel Trilogy—grudgingly accepted by diehard fans—comes a novel to save the day and save the prequels, especially Episodes I and II.  James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis excellently brings together the seemingly scattered events of the prequels to not only tie up loose ends, but also offers greater understanding of these films and a greater appreciation of the Star Wars storyline.  Better yet, Darth Plagueis is a novel that could speak volumes on behalf of the Austrian School!

Let it be clear that this is unlike most Star Wars novels.  It isn’t action-packed, but rather philosophical, explaining the teachings of the Sith, the logic for and against the Rule of Two, and the Grand Plan for the revenge of the Sith.  Much like The Count of Monte Christo, Darth Plagueis uses politics, deception, and intrigue to move the plot forward over a chronological span of several decades.

The novel also answers some pressing questions, including why Darth Maul was killed by a padawan and not a Jedi Master.  Another is how and where Count Dooku came into the picture, his frustrations with the weakening Republic, how he would have become a Sith Lord, and why Dark Jedi are leaping out of every nook and cranny while the Rule of Two is still in effect.  Some of the glimpses of the growing military industrial complex give insights on the development of the technology used by the Trade Federation, the Intergalactic Banking Clan, and the Techno Union which not only would make the droid army possible, but also the cyborg technology used to revive General Grievous and eventually Darth Vader.   The novel even covers the open ends made in The Clone Wars series, including Darth Maul having a brother and a psycho godmother.

Rest assured that this article contains some major spoilers, but critical for the brief analysis that must be included in this book review.  Darth Plagueis, known to his business associates as Hego Damask, is a seldom-known figure who mostly operates and does his transactions behind closed doors and out of the limelight, yet is one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy.  He is personally responsible for setting in motion the chain of events that would lead to the rise of the Empire under Palpatine.

Damask, Majister (both CEO and head of state) of the clandestine financial group Damask Holdings, follows the Muun species’ tradition of banking, finance, and acquisition of as much power as possible through the purchasing or seizure of assets, from accounts and properties to big businesses and even whole planets.

Damask is a secret ally of the Intergalactic Banking Clan (the Star Wars version of the Federal Reserve), responsible not only for growing the military industrial complex, instigating the breakup of the Republic and the rise of the Empire, but also for selling weapons and financing both sides in the Clone Wars.  One of the members of Damask Holdings, Larsh Hill, is Chairman of the IBC and will eventually be succeeded by his son San (seen in Episodes II and III as IBC Chairman and influential leader in Dooku’s Confederacy of Independent Systems).  After Larsh’s death, San Hill would be personally mentored by Hego Damask.

Wookieepedia—now recognized as a reliable authority by StarWars.com—says the following about Damask Holdings:[2]

Damask Holdings was a clandestine financial group closely allied to the Intergalactic Banking Clan, which also acted as a lobbying and political pressure organization that involved itself in the affairs of many planets, both to exploit local resources—such as plasma—for financial gain, and to gain influence on a galactic scale as part of the secret Sith Grand Plan to topple the Galactic Republic. It also operated as a secret society, bringing together the galaxy’s most influential beings for the yearly gatherings on Sojourn, and also presiding over the steering committee.

Case closed!  If Hego Damask can be compared to J.P. Morgan, then the Hills are the Rockefellers, the world Sojourn being Jekyll Island[3] and Damask Holdings being the first Federal Reserve Board, using the IBC and satellite firms like the Trade Federation to tighten their hold over the Republic, secure a future for the military industrial complex, and maintain their full monopoly on the control of trade, finance, and unbalanced government regulations.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis artworkDamask, however, is much shrewder in his schemes and dealings than J.P. Morgan, though Morgan’s co-founding of the Fed and agitation to involve the United States in the First World War (to protect his European investments) makes him no amateur thug.  Damask recruits as his Sith apprentice an ambitious young man from Naboo named Palpatine, simultaneously training him in the ways of the dark side of the Force and grooming him to become an influential Galactic Senator.  Their methods are to acquire all the power necessary for undermining the Republic, Damask’s grand plan involving Palpatine acquiring political power and the reins of government, meanwhile himself acquiring increasing economic power through Damask Holdings and the IBC.  Furthermore, Damask obsessively studies the nature of life, the Force, and Midi-chlorians in the hopes of achieving immortality so that Plagueis and Sidious may forever reign as emperors.

This example is part of why your author respectfully disagrees with the neo-Rothbardian view that government is evil and everything that is good lies in privatization.  (No, this is not because Rothbard hated Star Wars…)  After all, it’s possible for thugs to control whole sections of the private sector and rule as dictators in an anarcho-capitalist society just like the public sector in a socialistic society, whereas in a Constitutional society with minimal, localized government and abundant, decentralized privatization there lies far less opportunity for the stripping of rights and increase of corruption through monopolies and absolute power.

Nonetheless, we live in a world where the same group of thugs seem to rule large sections of both the public and private sectors, just as the Order of the Sith Lords secretly does during the final years of the Republic.  The worldview of the Sith Lords is not different at all from the one held by contemporary policy makers in America, from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch, their thoughts and actions completely antithetical to the ideals and principles of the Constitution, the free market, and individual liberty.  During training Plagueis says to Sidious, “With the Republic [the Jedi] are like indulgent parents, allowing their offspring to experiment with choices without consequence, and supporting wrong-headedness merely for the sake of maintaining family unity… When instead they should be claiming: We know what’s best for you.”[4]


[1] Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

[2] “Damask Holdings.”  Wookieepedia. <http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Damask_Holdings>

[3] Rothbard, Murray N.  The Origins of the Federal Reserve. The Ludwig von Mises Institute. 2009. p. 93. <http://mises.org/document/6119/The-Origins-of-the-Federal-Reserve>

[4] Luceno, James. Star Wars: Darth Plaqueis. Del Rey, Random House Publishing Group. 2012. pp. 166-67.

No, We Are Still Not Protected

By Zach Foster

[Integrated with the original companion article “No, Your Money Isn’t Safe.”  Both articles originally appeared on the Political Spectrum and Only the Money! blogs.]

No, We're Still Not Protected Many members of the Democratic Party are celebrating the one year anniversary of President Obama’s signing into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The White House has sent out a video release outlining why the banks and Wall Street agents are bad and why the Dodd-Frank Act is good and American families and consumers are much better off.  While the video is somewhat informative and marginally interesting, much of it is either redundant or not quite true.  DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also waving the Party banner as she cheers on the President’s so-called accomplishments.[1]  Schultz bragged that “our economy is more protected from the threat of future economic crises.”

 The truth is that, while there are a few more restrictions on what the clowns on Wall Street can do, Americans are not better off than they were a year ago before the magical everything-proof shield was signed into law.  Banking is still highly unstable in the country, and the banks still exist as entities only because they were artificially revived in the form of massive bailouts.  All across the political spectrum, Americans are angry that the massive bailouts ever happened, and they haven’t forgotten that this bailout, spearheaded by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (who was present at the appointment ceremony for the head of the CFPB), happened under President Obama’s watch and he failed to take action against it.  Banking will never be stable in America until the Federal Reserve, whose hands are in every cookie jar, from Chase and Wells Fargo to your community bank, is fully audited and eventually dissolved, and the farce of fractional reserve banking is done away with.

 Fractional reserve banking is one of the key factors causing the Great Depression.  Many people don’t know this, but the amount of money printed on their bank account statement is NOT the amount of money that exists in their community bank vault.  The standard reserve requirement for larger banks set by the Federal Reserve is ten percent,[2] meaning out of every hundred dollars a person saves in the bank, only ten of those dollars actually have to exist in a vault.  This system is a bridge of thin ice, since theoretically only ten percent of a bank’s customers need to take out all of their money in order for the bank to run out of money and close down (the true meaning of bankruptcy).

 Economist Murray Rothbard makes a compelling case that fractional reserve banking goes hand-in-hand with inflation,[3] since the only way to account for the ninety percent of a bank’s money that doesn’t exist is to hastily print paper money, and printing more money further devalues the American dollar (this is exactly why America needs to return to the gold standard[4]).

 Schultz is attempting to pin poverty on the Republican Party, especially Republican members of Congress.  Much of her attack against the GOP is dismissible, as it’s just another serving of partisan rhetoric.  However, she accuses the GOP of “doubling down on the failed policies of less regulation and more tax breaks for the wealthy.”  She is mistaken to do so, because the policy of less regulation is not a failed one.  While several are undoubtedly opposed to the Obama administration’s agenda simply for the reason that they passionately hate the President, most are even-tempered people with some idea of what they’re doing.  By no means do Congressional Republicans advocate, nor are they trying to implement, no regulations at all.  What they are trying to do is remove some of the chains that cripple industry, such as tariffs, trade agreements that favor one country or company over another, and many of the other industry killers that remain unseen.[5]

Do not pass go. Do not collect $700 billion bailout. Despite whatever noble intentions are spoken of by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the fact remains that American consumers are not protected.  They are only partially protected from a few unscrupulous consumer goods producers, but they remain exposed to the oppression of government regulation.  This is why it is nearly impossible for consumers to get their hands on raw milk, which when boiled is more nutritious than pasteurized milk,[6] though federal think tanks denounce it and federal regulations outlaw it in the interest of public health.  The same is why many shower heads have a weak water flow and high power therapeutic shower heads used by masseuses are widely outlawed.[7]  For the “protection” of all consumers, citizens are instructed to prevent drought by using less water, even though the local Raging Waters park, Soak City park, and even the community pool use untold gallons every minute.

 Similar reasons over time turned the health insurance market into the fiasco it is today.  Heavy regulations by state governments are what makes the prices of health care plans vary widely and mostly unaffordable.[8]  The same regulations that make health care so expensive are all meant to protect consumers from being cheated by health insurance providers who want to charge high prices… go figure.

 To further damn the idea that fewer regulations are beneficial to economic growth, Schultz tries to make the case that fewer regulations caused this [brink of] depression.  To counter this statement it is necessary to analyze the common denominators between the Great Depression and today’s Second Great Depression (a.k.a. the Great Recession).  The main two factors that stick out are: (1) fractional reserve banking, meaning most of the money that was supposed to exist never actually existed, and (2) extensive use of credit in making large transactions, which means banks, stock markets, and many other firms were buying and selling with promises to pay based on money that never existed.  In the daily lives of the American citizens, receiving something on credit and then not paying for it is called FRAUD.  This is not due to fewer regulations; this is clearly a case of people stealing and other people thinking they had more monopoly money to spend in the real world than they actually had.

 So when the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the DNC Chair tell the American people that they are protected, who do they really think they’re fooling?

 

The above images are artwork by the author.  They were compiled and edited from various public domain images from Wikimedia Commons.

[1] Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Marks One Year Anniversary of Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. http://political-spectrum.blogspot.com/2011/07/chair-debbie-wasserman-schultz-marks.html

[2] http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/reservereq.htm

[3] Rothbard, Murray. “Take Money Back.”

[4] Paul, Ron. Gold, Peace, and Prosperity.  The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education. Pp. 31-32, 39

[5] Bastiat, Frederic. That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Unseen. Chapter 9: Credit.

[6] Thornton, Mark. “Legalize Milk, Real Milk”. http://mises.org/daily/5365/Legalize-Milk-Real-Milk

[7] Tucker, Jeffrey. “The Bureacrat In Your Shower” (also chapter 1 of Bourbon For Breakfast).

[8] “The Easy Fix For Health Care and Why Obama Opposes It.”