Yglesias linked to this defense of the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars universe, and in the comments section, someone linked to this article in the Weekly Standard arguing much the same. Jokes about neocons being evil aside, the arguments are fairly compelling. I don't buy the argument that blowing up Alderaan was justified (in the expanded universe it's pretty clear that they were unarmed, as Leia says). But otherwise, much of what the Empire did was similar to Roman rule of provinces. I think the second author doesn't give enough credit to the idea of a loose confederation, which is probably the best idea, from a human (and alien) rights perspective. Anyway, it's always fun to see serious people talking about Star Wars.