I find myself rereading the Lensman series*, and a gaping oversight in Doc Smith's logic suddenly hit me over the head.
Yeah, apart from all the shiny tech that's needed to make space opera work. Something fundamental to the nature of the Galactic Patrol itself.
See, Doc came up with a grand deus ex macguffin to make the Galactic Patrol possible. This Lens thingy allows bootstrapping the system, whereby the known-incorruptible First Lensman can recruit more incorruptible men for the Patrol, and they recruit more, and so on. The Patrol ends up with unbounded power, but that's OK because, on account of the Lens and the system built up around it, the Lensmen of the Patrol are incorruptible.
But wait! That means they can't be bought, bribed, nor seduced; nor will they use their power for personal gain.
It doesn't mean a Lensman can't be wrong.
And the perfectly honest and incorruptible man with great power who's gotten hold of a bad idea he's convinced is right... well, he's probably a lot more of a problem than a crook would be.
I can just see one of these guys going a little funny in the head, deciding the Patrol chain of command is under the influence of telepathic spiders, and commandeering the resources of some newly-discovered planet to build a battle fleet to eradicate the spider planet, which turns out to have been home to several billion civilized people and no spiders at all. Oopsie!
* For business reasons. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.