The Importance Of Dune, Part 2: The Jihad

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. 

The Davos Crowd think they have won the war, that they have been successful in defeating the insurgent Trump and his Deplorable sand rats.  They think there are only a few of us vocally leading a loose contingent of conspiracy theorists on the fringe of society who can be easily controlled and marginalized.

This was the mistake the establishment made in Dune, thinking the Fremen numbered in the thousands.  In reality, they numbered in the tens of millions and were viciously angry, self-sufficient and disciplined; ready to remake the world and shut off the source of the power, the spice.

When Dune was written the spice was a metaphor for oil.  Today information is the currency of the realm, and Davos thinks that by controlling all information flow they can control everything else.

But they don’t control the information anymore, even if it looks that way. Because by cheating and creating false value throughout the society, by degrading the quality of the information, they have raised the value of producing real things with real labor to the point of it being existential to their power.

And when you marginalize the tens of millions of people who produce the goods which sustain their false reality, when you remove their ability to speak their mind and make their voices heard, when you insult them, berate them, hector them and beat them then you will bear the consequences when the sleeper awakens, in Herbert’s words.

This isn’t a threat or an open invitation to violence.  This is an observation of what always comes next.  These people know that they have been lied to, their children spiritually separated from them.  The election was a cruel joke meant to rub our noses in their complete power over us.  You can see it every day on Twitter.

What comes next will be nothing short of a Fremen-esque jihad by the 70+ million people who voted for Donald Trump.  If his allies prove the systematic thievery of the election, it will fuel what is now a simmering anger to a violent boiling rage with a near-religious frenzy.

They will be fully justified.

I get that anger.  I feel it building in me.  Paul saw this coming in Dune and failed in his attempt to control it.  And I can see it coming today.

Their Jihad will be joined by the people who didn’t want to win by cheating.  There are millions of them, too.  They voted against Trump but don’t view their neighbors as enemies.

The alternative to it is worse, acquiescence and vassalage to a corrupt system.  And that’s why today it’s clear to me this only ends in violence.  The elites had a choice.  They chose poorly.

They have their own religious zealots, suffused with the righteous anger at a corrupt system but blaming it on the wrong people, their neighbors. 

The people have a choice, stand their ground or be ground into paste. 

This is why I feel the only option for Davos when faced with the coming jihad against them will be to unleash a response to it orders of magnitude deadlier than COVID-19.  That’s a moment I, frankly, don’t want to see beyond.

*  *  *

I think it’s quite clear now that we’re in the middle of that next response. The ‘Jihad’ of angry Trump voters hasn’t quite materialized yet, but it has in other parts of the world.

The descent into random violence with brutal Harkonnen police and embedded Sardaukar mercenaries putting down protests in Melbourne, Australia is not only deeply disturbing but, sadly, wholly predictable.

The Fremen were trained by Arrakis through privation and extreme thrift imposed on them by the desert to find meaning and beauty in the simplest things. We’re not there yet. But by now brutally imposing vaccination mandates through a terror campaign people have woken up quickly.

Because they already saw the problem if they didn’t want to believe it would ever come to this.

The sleeper will awaken here in the U.S. The more they take away from us the more it will feed the burning inside.

Davos’ Sardaukar are sustained through blood sacrifice and dehumanization, the Harkonnens through good ol’ payola. They serve this system not because they believe in it but because they are fed by it. Australians will begin imposing costs on them that outweigh their comfort and they will collapse.

It’s already happening in France. It will happen in Germany this fall. And when the U.S. joins the jihad that’s when the violence gets real.

Fat, roid-freaks running around beating old women and unarmed men with gang tactics will turn into massacres, but not for us, for them. They have told us they are no longer negotiating with us. Become subservient or be destroyed. Their call isn’t a bluff but it ultimately is.

We have reached that moment today where the choice is clear. Get hard, get in shape, get tough-mined and become #ungovernable or be extinguished. You are not alone.

Moments like this take generations to build to. Welcome to Arrakis.

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, ‘n Guns blog