D Pope wrote:And, I completely agree with your assessment of Pauls motivation (for lack of a better word) for playing this gambit. We, as
readers, can get our head around why it worked so why does Jessica have such a hard time?
Paul really is sincere, AND he is using effective tactics. That's the point. The BG make themselves appear sincere as well, but it's pure manipulation. The Atreides are really sincere, and people somehow pick up on that and respect it. The difference between fake sincerity and real sincerity is obviously very powerful, as it was helping to make Leto's house very powerful. Jessica has a hard time with it not because she doesn't understand it, but because it's awesome to behold. I can "understand" the idea of a supernova, but if I saw one directly I'd say something like "WHOOOOOAH!"
D Pope wrote:I think Letos message to the future in the Tabr Hoard sums up my thoughts on BG motivation
during the time of the Prophet, they lacked Noble Purpose! (implying something self-serving
about their cause)
I agree with this, but Jessica wasn't a typical BG. She acted for personal reasons and not political ones when she had Paul.
D Pope wrote:I guess I just want to know that I'm not completely off base, remember that for the
first few years after reading Dune, the one thing I couldn't stop thinking about was how these
whims of the powerful affected the commoners.
Feudalism, which seems to favor commoners less than democracy does, is the predominant planetary hierarchy in the Imperium at 10,191. We must assume that this is for the reasons of basic social evolution, meaning it worked the best.
CoD wrote:Three -- Planetary feudalism remained in constant danger from a large
technical class, but the effects of the Butlerian Jihad continued as a damper on
technological excesses. Ixians, Tleilaxu, and a few scattered outer planets were
the only possible threat in this regard, and they were planet-vulnerable to the
combined wrath of the rest of the Imperium. The Butlerian Jihad would not be
undone. Mechanized warfare required a large technical class. The Atreides
Imperium had channeled this force into other pursuits. No large technical class
existed unwatched. And the Empire remained safely feudalist, naturally, since
that was the best social form for spreading over widely dispersed wild frontiers
-- new planets.
There probably were many democratic colonies, and either they didn't make it or they became second-rate powers that were irrelevant. That style of governing was presumably lacking for some reason, and I think Frank hints at the reason in the Dune series but I'd rather discuss it elsewhere; I think it has to do with the eventual contents of Dune 7. Some rulers, such as Leto I, apparently were a lot nicer than others, but even then they fully utilized propaganda, mass exterminations, and every other tool of ruling necessary to maintain control. I'm not sure I'd call the BG any better or worse than the other factions in this sense; all of them would have been willing to do what it took to achieve and maintain power. The BG may have even been better than the rest because we're not privy to their inner teachings, and it's possible that they really did believe they were trying to truly serve the general good. They may have pursued their goals in a self-serving manner, but consider how hard it would be to be both powerful and NOT self-serving; to be both ambitious and humble. It's sort of hard to blame them for not being perfect in this respect, and I think Leto II understood that they weren't that far off the mark from being on the right path.