Okay but I have a lot of feelings about this though. People say that Anakin supports fascism like he understands political theory and how different types of political institutions work. And okay, maybe he does on a rudimentary level, but do the Jedi run a course on civics and government or modern political theory? Probably not. And I’m willing to be that given that he spent most of his time on Tatooine slaving away in Wattoo’s shop, he didn’t have much in the way of formal education prior to leaving with Qui-Gon and the crew.
So, bearing all that in mind, consider that authoritarianism is really all that Anakin knows. He spent the first ten years of his life as someone else’s living, breathing property. He spent the next ten years as a Jedi, where every padawan and knight is beholden to the orders set by the Council. He’s never really had the chance to act on his own wants and desires and choices without first consulting another person for approval, or facing repercussions afterward.
Of course Anakin sees ideas like liberty and freedom and democracy as vague abstract concepts that get in the way of a productive society. He’s been told what to do his entire life. He may not like it, but it gets results. How can he appreciate the idea of a free society when really, he’s never known true freedom?
Honestly though. Anakin went from being a slave in a workshop to being a slave in the Order. His movements have never been determined by himself. Everything he’s done in his entire life have been dictated by other people.
Now it’s not the Jedi Order is the equivalent to slavery, because it’s not. But for Anakin, a boy less than 10 years old who grew up as someone’s property, how is he to know the difference? No one explained to him. The first time he sees Obi-wan, he hears him talking to Qui-Gon and calling him ‘master’. Then he becomes Obi-wan’s padawan and spends the rest of his formative years still calling someone ‘master’ and obeying their will.
Being raised in a specific institution, or environment, affects you. Especially when we’re young. And Anakin being raised in the rigid structure of the Jedi Order greatly affected him. Because the Council did not trust him. They were blatant with that when he was a CHILD. Obi-wan thought him dangerous. Qui-Gon took him away from his mother, promised him freedom, and then he left Anakin with the reality of being a slave still.
And you can be certain that, for Anakin, the only time he has ever felt free was when he was flying. When everything is in his control and his alone. That’s the only time he’s felt freedom and even that is limited for him.
Freedom for Anakin is like a bird he can’t quite catch, hovering just out of his reach, that sometimes lets him brush his fingers along its tail feathers.
Authoritarian rule is all Anakin has known. The rule of a small number of people, one or 12 the numbers matter little, who make decisions that he has to obey. And he accepted that for a long damned time, because he was used to it.
Palpatine made him doubt his subservience to the Council, to Obi-wan, because Palpatine wanted him to be his slave. And in the end, he succeeded, because Anakin essentially gave up one slave collar for another.
All Anakin has ever wanted, ever needed, was love. Love and understanding. He needed people to be patient with him and accept him as he was. To help him channel his anger without admonishing him for feeling it. To guide him in accepting his fears, reconciling the inevitability of death with his dread of it.
Instead what he got was a religious institution with a thousand years of repetitive, repressive rhetoric that all but ensured maladapted individuals (because suppression of emotions is not good, no matter what) and a prophecy that would be self-fulfilling because no one stopped and asked what he wanted. No one, not Qui-Gon, not Obi-wan, not the Council, not even Padme, asked Anakin what he wanted, or even gave it to him.
Everything Anakin had in life he was terrified of losing because, in his heart, he still saw himself as a slave and slaves don’t own anything. They are owned. And that. That is the biggest fucking tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.
He never knew what freedom was until the day he threw Palpatine off the fucking walkway and died for his son. That’s when that elusive bird finally settled in the palm of his hand and said “let go” and he finally stopped fearing death.
#okay this though???#we’re all like anakin is a literal fascist but it’s like….are we assuming he is actually politically sophisticated enough to understand#what he’s suggesting here?#I mean even the way it’s written in the film makes it clear that he has no idea that the idea he just proposed has a name#and that name is fascism#he’s talking to one of the most politically savvy people in the galaxy meanwhile and of course padme calls him out in an instant#and I sometimes struggle with why padme would continue liking him even after this considering how politically astute she is?#but then it helps to realize that she probably realizes how politically naive he is too#not that this isn’t dangerous#but she probably doesn’t think he’s thought it out or has the capacity to act on this half-formed belief#at least not until actual politically cunning palpatine comes and manipulates him#even then does anakin really understand?#on mustafar he claims to have brought ‘peace justice and security to his new empire’#which once again is a laughably naive thing to say#I don’t really think his political opinions are his own#he just apes whatever he’s been instructed to do#again I’m not suggesting this means he isn’t responsible for his actions#but I think we need to understand his ‘fascism’ differently#sorry I have Feels about this
He’s also coming from a completely different set of life experiences than her. She’s a former queen of a royal house that has always lived in opulence. Her experience with the Republic has led her to believe that while the system is flawed, it is fundamentally sound and good for the people of the GFFA. Anakin knows better. He’s seen the evil that skirts the edges of the Republic. He’s been its victim. This is something I wish had been touched upon more explicitly in the movies and EU – while Anakin is most certainly wrongheaded in his approach toward galactic betterment, she’s just as naive as he is just in very different ways. Her dismissal of Anakin and his uneducated viewpoints ultimately highlight two issues that wind up dooming the Republic later on: 1.) her misunderstanding of how damaged – and therefore dangerous – Anakin really was, 2.) the way that the core and wealthy mid-core planets so casually overlooked the very real complaints of suffering and economic strife in the extended reaches of the GFFA. The writing was on the wall for a long term. It was just waiting for the right villain to give it life.
The funny thing is, Naboo and it’s democratic system as actually pretty unique when it comes to planetary governments. I think Pantora is ruled by some sort of assembly, but every other planet we know of is ruled either by the monarchy/aristocracy or by a corporation. The Republic isn’t even a democracy. Senators aren’t elected by the people they represent. They’re appointed by the planetary rulers. They represent the needs of those rulers and not the actual people of their worlds. The political system of the GFFA mostly works well for Padme and people like her because it’s designed to. It does not work well for people like Anakin. It exploits people like Anakin and tells them, over and over, they they need to be ruled and that their sacrifices are for the greater good. Padme’s dismissal of Anakin’s political opinions is more than dangerously naive, it’s profoundly ignorant considering how, on the vast majority of GFFA planets, that’s literally how the government works.