Were the Jedi knights enemies of liberty? The political philosophy of the Jedi is explored by both Reason‘s Jesse Kline and Dan Drezner of Foreign Policy in recent blog posts. Kline claims that the main goal of the Jedi was to enforce the big government agenda of the Galactic Republic. Drezner refutes that we actually know too little of the agenda of the republic at all. What we do know, however, is that Palpatine tried to set up a totalitarian state that would surely be anti-liberal and big government.
Drezner claims that we have little information on the pre-Phantom Menace policies of Supreme Chancellor Vallorum, leader of the Galactic Republic. We do however know that the monopolistic and militaristic Trade Federation appears to be at least partially sanctioned by the Republic, as they have their own representatives in the Senate. Vallorum does however appear somewhat opposed to their blocade of trade to Naboo, as he at the beginning of The Phantom Menace dispatches the Jedi to negotiate.