The Importance of Dune Part 2: The Jihad, by Tom Luongo

Tom Luongo sees many similarities between Frank Herbert’s classic and the present day West. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

In 2020 I wrote a pair of editorials for the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Newsletter in sympathy to the movie’s original release for last December. This one appeared in November after the (s)election of Joe Biden as U.S. president. I’ve written a lot about the ideas contained in this essay but I felt it appropriate to revisit it now that we’re in the window of seeing our story play out on the big screen, where art still has the possibility of moving us to action.


The Jihad

“We Fremen have a saying: God created Arrakis to train the faithful. One cannot go against the word of God.”

— Frank Herbert

In my last editorial I talked about why Frank Herbert’s Dune was even more relevant today than when it was published in 1965.  As we approached the election, after re-reading Dune, I made it into Herbert’s sequel, Dune Messiah.

And having not read it in thirty years I was amazed at how good it was.  The whole book is about a moment in time that Paul, who can see into the future, cannot see beyond.  The 2020 election felt exactly that way to me.

That moment was a singularity, a point we pass through without knowing what lies on the other side.  The parallels were simply too deep for me to ignore.  The trope Herbert used in Dune Messiah has been copied a hundred times since then, but its metaphoric power remains the same.

A moment like that turns everything on its head when it happens.  It shattered Paul’s life and ushered in the next period of chaos far deadlier than the last.

Dune left us knowing that with the victory over the entrenched, sclerotic power structure of the great houses there would be a religious jihad by the Fremen which would sweep across the galaxy like a plague of killer locusts.

That jihad occurred and Paul was powerless to stop it.

And, like Paul, this is what I fear is coming. The results of the election confirm for me that what comes next will be a terrible thing.

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