Anonymous asked: you should publicly tell tumblr your opinions about how to make sith empire culture and ideology make sense
TUMBLR. ATE. MY RANT. oh my god. I can’t believe I’m doing this twice. This is mostly my headcanon despite my establishing it with fake facts. I need more wine.
So there was a comment chain going around a little while back about how there’s a bit of lore suggesting that the Sith Empire sells itself as meritocratic. I’m willing to believe that Freedom Through Strength is a key propagandistic tenet— and I do love that people tell you to “go in strength”— which has echoes of meritocracy, but it’s not quite the same. The Sith Empire isn’t broadly equal. People are born into higher or lesser positions. But it’s not casteism, it’s good old-fashioned scientific racism. Sith abilities are racialized, and there’s a false but generally held belief that the greater your Sith racial heritage, the greater your dark power. Imperial military strength is racialized and if you’re not human then the Force help you convincing anyone you’re worth their time. Unless they’re Chiss (and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the one other culture they allied with look exactly like blue humans). The religious structure appears to be broadly non-sexist— Sith culture flattens out gender as long as you display strength, which makes sense since the strength is so nonphysical— but the imperial structure really doesn’t. You get “hey there, pretty ladied” a bunch throughout the game, but more to the point, there are a LOT of male generals, moffs, and commandants— I haven’t done a tally but I’d be willing to bet that most planet questgivers are male. Women have lots of other jobs— reclamation officer, scientist, trooper— but not a lot of positions of power. So I’m willing to bet there are gender roles.
There’s also a division between slavery among the Sith themselves—slaves on Korriban are slaves, considered to be sub-sentient. Other Imperial slaves tend to be POWs or POW populations, colonized planets turned into labor, badly policed and prone to revolution, but on Korriban slavery is a death sentence. The Sith can take whoever they want and make them into less than people, and because the Sith have mindpowers, they can do that for real. The military can’t and doesn’t; the military considers those who they defeat to be weak and puling, but they consider their motivations and how you’d have to strike to keep them in line. This is a little overstated in terms of the distinction, but bear with me.
What I’m working my way up to is that there are two distinct strains of culture in the Sith Empire. The first is the Sith among the Sith, and their immediate spheres of influence, which isn’t really worth dwelling on since we all know how this works— dark magic makes any culture inexplicable. Sexy and evil! Then there’s general Imperial culture, which is theocratically fascist. Power goes to the strongest, and the strong gain freedom. The weak are enslaved. There’s communalism— everyone needs to do the best for the Empire— but it’s everyone needs to do the best for the Empire because otherwise the Empire is weak, literally the classic fasces metaphor, the bundle of rods! Fascism is actually not super sustainable in this form unless you are continually being re-reminded why you’re Better and need to Defend The (Expanding) Front, but luckily the Empire has solved this problem twice. First, through isolationism, and second, through a perpetual war with the Republic. The Cold War is probably the worst thing that could’ve happened to the Empire, and you can tell by all the revolutions they’re beating down, how every planet you visit has unrest. It’s not a good place to live.
But the Sith are the perfect sop to that, because they’re religious figures. They are gods. Your gods don’t have to be nice to be compelling and worthy of following. And if your blood’s special enough, and you are strong enough, you can be one too. It’s aspirational, it’s strong, and it’s a faith. A LOT of planet quest Sith (and in the case of the IA, Darth Jadus) are pretty convinced, and convincing, that you ought to be incredibly honored even to hear their voice, so you imagine that encounters with Sith are reasonably prestigious and scary and noble. When Darth Malgus appears to you on that holoterminal to summon you into battle for the empire, he speaks like he’s anointing a fucking knight. It’s not hard to imagine why people would be curiously proud of being a member of the Sith Empire. Also, they can mindfuck you into terror if you step out of line. That probably helps.
[7:17] courtyardhound: and also if you pick up planet quests AS a sith a lot of the questgivers are kind of stoked that you would deign to help them collect 20 bear asses
yes thanks good point
why am i even answering this for you i hate you