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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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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