In a recent post, I discussed how Cass Sunstein argued, with the aid of the Star Wars saga, that delegation to the executive could be dangerous to democracy. While Posner and Vermeule contend that democracy favors delegation, because the democratic legislature has chosen to delegate, Sunstein notes that delegation can lead to the end of democracy, as it allows the executive to permanently displace the legislature. This was the case with Emperor Palpatine and with Adolph Hitler, both of whom received delegations of authority that they used to rule and never allowed the legislature to take back the authority.
Sunstein notes that George Lucas, the principal author of Star Wars, had analyzed the declines of democracies. According to Lucas, “You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kind of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody’s squabbling, there’s corruption.”
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Cass Sunstein has been blogging on his new book on the Star Wars movies. He loves them and finds a variety of things to say about them that are more serious than Star Wars. One post is about why success is so hard to predict, another is about the hypothetical writers behind texts, and a third is about the separation of powers. It is hard to tell without reading the book if Sunstein saw all of this in Start Wars or just loved the movies so much, that he tried hard to find interesting things to say about them.
Will Baude, another law professor, reviews Sunstein’s new book in the New Rambler. Baude’s main concern is that the producers of the new movie, the Force Awakens, announced that they would ignoring the large canon of books that have been written about Star Wars and that George Lucas always followed. This might seem like a minor thing to most movie viewers, but Baude is on strong ground in noting the importance of “world building” in the sci fi/fantasy world and how a large number of books can powerfully develop such a world.
My own objection to the Force Awakens is that it was essentially a remake of the first movie. It shows the artistic bankruptcy of modern movie making. To watch the best art on film these days, one should turn to shows on HBO and Cable TV. That is where the creativity. Baude and I agree that the new movie should have told a different story about a different part of the Star Wars universe. Of course, the producers would have probably made less money that way, which helps to explain why so many movies suck these days.