This post is part of the Flaws of the Jedi series.
The oppression of the Sith will never return! You, my lord, have lost!Mace Windu, Revenge of the Sith
The Jedi believe the Light Side of the Force to be intrinsically, morally good. The Order believe they are the only Force users who use the Force correctly, for intrinsic, moral, goodness. This provides them a sense of honor, virtue, and pride. It also allows them to deem any action taken by a Jedi as not only appropriate but righteous and irreproachable. Said actions include:
- using genetically modified and conditioned clones to fight for them
- bringing ten year olds into battle
- assigning fourteen year olds as military leaders
- helping slavers
- not helping slaves
- removing an endangered animal from its natural habitat and killing it when it fights back
- sending a child to a maximum security prison for adults with no trial
- encouraging terrorism
- spying on politicians
- lying to politicians
- lying to each other
I do not mean to suggest these actions are all wrong nor that the Jedi have no regrets. However, they are secure in the belief that “peacekeeping” for the “greater good” excuses them.
The best example of Jedi arrogance is when Mace Windu confronts Chancellor Palpatine and instead of ending his reign, he sets Palpatine and Anakin on their path to galactic domination.
Master Windu makes three sizable mistakes. The first is his treatment of Anakin. Mace’s distrust and dismissal of Anakin goes back all the way to their first meeting, and it is not unfounded. Anakin is too old and too attached to his mother for Jedi conditioning. Anakin is reckless and impetuous and cocky and irreverent. Anakin is breaking rules and keeping secrets. Anakin did ascend to the Council through political connections.
But in this case, when Anakin learns that the leader of the Republic is the Sith Lord they’ve been hunting for years he immediately reports to Mace Windu. And Mace Windu confirms he doesn’t trust Anakin, demonstrates that he knows Anakin is in emotional turmoil, and uses it to deny him the opportunity to be a part of the engagement. Anakin is fully responsible for his subsequent actions but things might have played out differently if he was not left behind and left alone, particularly in the room he was only ever singled out as different and denied what he wanted.
Second, Windu chooses to immediately confront the Chancellor/Sith, in his office, with only three Jedi. He brings no additional soldiers or guards and no members of the Senate. He does not convene a Jedi Council meeting to plan. He does not inform any Senators or Republic representatives of the accusation or his intentions. There is no indication he tells anyone beyond the three Jedi he conscripts for confrontation — three Jedi chosen not for their skills but merely because they happened to be in hanger at the time. He plays right into Palpatine’s plot to turn Anakin and malign the Jedi. This is pure unadulterated blind arrogance.
Finally, when Anakin appears, disobeying his earlier direct orders, and calling for leniency, Mace Windu does not make any adjustment to his plan or tone or posture towards Anakin or Palpatine. He does not back down, he does not request help from Anakin, he does not consider arrest. He pushes forward with his stated intention to assassinate the Chancellor of the Republic on no one’s authority but his own.
Mace Windu is a great Jedi, a great general, a great Master, and a noteworthy member of the Jedi High Council. His arrogance is earned. But it results in his death and the end of the Republic.