Grand Moff Tarkin Not Such a Bad Guy After All

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Brad Delong points me to Ogged, who points me to a recent tweet from Bill Kristol:

A commenter has an obvious and seemingly devastating riposte: “Other than blowing up an entire planet to torture a prisoner/deter other planets, the Empire was pretty moderate.”

But wait. The size of the Star Wars galaxy is in some dispute, and I’m not willing to spend more than a minute or so on this. But apparently the galaxy contained about 50 million star systems during the reign of the Empire. If we assume Alderaan was more or less typical, it means the Death Star killed one 50-millionth of the galactic population. Assuming I haven’t slipped a decimal point somewhere, that’s about equivalent to killing 140 people on present-day Earth.

See? Not so bad! That’s about 0.0002 percent as bad as Hitler in World War II. It’s about 0.07 percent as bad as George Bush in the Iraq War. And honestly, the enhanced interrogation of Han didn’t look all that bad either. I think we really have to give this one to Kristol. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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