Analysis / Legend of Galactic Heroes

Central Theme: A conflict on the Sliding Scale of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism

For those that are familiar with the Nolan Chart, it can be argued that the two protagonists are vertically opposite to each other, representing the best of their ideologies. While their governments are horizontally opposed to each other, representing the worst of that worldview.
  • Yang Wenli is a strong political libertarian, in that at his core, he believes that the goodness of individuals, and for them having freedom to do whatever they want. He is also shown to be highly cynical of any form of government authority and view the military as, at best, a necessary evil that is unfortunately needed in times of war. His worldview is reflected by the 13th Fleet's Mildly Military and lacked back attitude outside of battle. Instead of having a rigidly enforced power structure, the interaction between officers and the enlisted was shown to be very informal, and the system is based on meritocracy, in that everyone is allowed to enjoy life as long as you are shown to be capable of getting the job done. However, he does have elements of the libertarian straw men. In that despite all his talk and ideals for a free society, he lacks the ambition and drive to actually take control and do what is necessary to actually make society a better place. If he could have it his way, he would have simply stayed home and spent the rest of his life reading history books instead of actually putting what he advocates into practice.
  • Reinhard von Lohengramm is an authoritarian, and unquestioningly a hardcore statist. He demands unquestioning personal loyalty and that his orders be obeyed. And in exchange for their servitude, they are given a leader that actually gets things done in a way that no one else in the past 200 year have been able to achieve, giving everyone who serves under him more power, authority and glory then they could have ever achieved otherwise. As long as you play by all his rules, he will ensure that you will be awarded. However, with the exception of a few individuals, he doesn't let other criticize his ideas. Resulting in even his rare bad ideas to not be challenged. This is reflected in the interactions between Reinhard and his officers, in that things usually only go badly if they disobey his orders. And that things are always very formal between them, with there being a very clear line that they are in a leader-subodinate relationship. As seen by how even after he married Hilda, they still refer to each other by their titles instead of their first name.
  • The Free Planet Alliance is a liberal state. They are a democratic government formed by exiled political refugees as a response to an oppressive dictatorship, and is founded upon noble ideals of freedom and liberty. However, such a state wasn't designed to survive under constant war, and their ideal eroded overtime as a result. Their foreign policy is a good example of Liberal Idealism in that they believe in 'spreading democracy' to foreign lands, even when it isn't practical or that the locals even want to be 'liberated' in the first place. Political corruption is problematic, as seen in how political leaders are willing to send thousands of soldiers to die, just so they can win the next election. Not to mention the existence of wet work squads such as the Patriotic Knights Corp, with grants political leaders Plausible Deniability when they need dissidents to be silenced without looking bad.
  • The Galactic Empire is a conservative regime. With it brutally suppressing anyone who opposes their draconian rules of life, or who try to obstruct their authority by disobey a command. Beyond this, the Empire is shown to be socially stagnant, with them literally basing their society on 19th century Prussia. Social inequality is systemic, in that there is a clear divide between commoners and nobles, with long term stability being a focus of their regime.