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.

Support Our Troops: The Hypocrisy of So-Called Patriots

This article was also seen in The Political Spectrum and the Daily Paul.

Ron Paul received the most military donationsMany conservatives at this stage of the campaign cycle agree that they like the majority of Ron Paul’s platform, yet they disagree with him completely on foreign policy. Some of them periodically muster the courage to call his foreign policy naïve.  Those who dislike him completely will condescendingly call him a lunatic in the face of anyone they suspect to be a Ron Paul supporter.  These “enlightened” conservatives are so self-righteous and wrapped up in their elevated opinion of their star-spangled selves—and their preferred flip-flopping candidate—that their opinion on maintaining the militarist status quo, infallible as they see it, is so correct that it doesn’t even warrant an intellectual defense, least of all to those no-good dumb-dumb “Paulbots.”  Periodically however, there arise a few who have a sense of honor and decency that are willing to at least defend their ideas with a logical argument.  All of the above, though, are people who claim to “support the troops.”

In light of their claim, it is necessary to analyze who the troops themselves are supporting.  The easiest way to find out is not by straw polls, which can be faulty at times when considering the participating sample of the population, but rather by looking at the way the troops are literally putting their money where their mouth is. As of September 30, 2011 President Obama has received over $68,000 in monetary campaign donations from active duty troops.  The candidate trailing him is Mitt Romney with a distant $11,000, and for the rest of the candidates the numbers only go down from there.  All of their donations from the troops combined with Obama’s come out to $106,266.  Many of these Republican military donors would be content to vote for any Republican candidate in November 2012 just to get rid of our incumbent President.

And now for the pressing question: How much money has Congressman Paul raised from active duty troops?  $112,739, not counting the various money bombs that would come in October and November. The numbers clearly show that Ron Paul garnishes more support from America’s fighting sons and daughters—the true patriots who currently risk life and limb for the country—than all of the opposition combined.  No one is in a position to be more fully and painfully aware of the consequences of America’s militant foreign policy than those troops whose job it is to literally fight wars and terrorism, as well as “keep the peace” around the world.  The vast majority of troops—endangered enough by foolish civilian policy makers that they awoke and joined the political process—clearly wish to abide by the noninterventionist (not isolationist) foreign policy of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Yet the so-called “patriots” who disagree with and/or scorn Paul’s noninterventionist ideas are convinced that he is incorrect, naïve, or just plain crazy. These are the people who most ardently proclaim their support for the troops, yet by writing off Dr. Paul’s idea of bringing the troops home from around the world they also write off the opinions and experience-based beliefs of the very troops they claim to support. These warhawks all have one thing in common: their idea of “supporting our troops” rests with slapping a yellow bumper sticker on their car and occasionally sending a box of cookies to Kandahar Airfield rather than actually heeding the passionate cries from those who wear the uniform and bleed for the stars and stripes.  This is the ultimate form of hypocrisy for so-called patriots and it is unacceptable.  Every servicemember as well as discharged veterans from the decade-long war on terror ought to call these warhawks on their sickening hypocrisy.

Perhaps the most hardline warhawks will never be able to change their minds; they have already drunk the kool aid of staunch ultraconservatism and are long gone. However, this is not true for the majority of conservatives who are intelligent critical thinkers.  After all, they love Ron Paul’s non-socialist economic and domestic policies, yet they disagree with his foreign policies. They also claim that they support the troops, regardless of the overbearing contradiction in their words and logic.  The day these conservatives will truly demonstrate their support for America’s military heroes will be the day they honestly listen to them and vote for the man the troops overwhelmingly champion: Ron Paul.

Grass roots image courtesy of the Daily Paul.