(urth) Watchmen, fascism, feudalism and Wolfe

David Duffy David.Duffy at qimr.edu.au
Mon Mar 21 17:54:14 PST 2005

On Mon, 21 Mar 2005, Maru Dubshinki wrote:

> On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 16:55:05 -0800, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <danldo at gmail.com> wrote:
> > You want to know a classic that's facistic as all hell?
> >
> > Read _Dune_ and pay attention to what's actually going on.
> > Master race, fuhrerprinzip, the whole works.
> Alright, I find that not a little insulting and downright wrong.
> First off, what the hell do you expect?  The whole power system in the Duniverse
> is feudal, practically fascistic by definition.  I mean, I've never
> seen a fictional work which had a feudal power structure and wasn't
> fascistic.

Which can come back around to Wolfe, the Divine Right of rulers, and the
natural hierarchy of authority, and the lawfulness of revolution.  The
Autarch is exactly in the mould of Herbert's ruling family.

With a few exceptions, Wolfe's worlds are feudal or authoritarian in
nature, and full of warfare.  On Urth, the rebels are in the wrong, as
they are against the anointed ruler.  in Long Sun series, the
revolutionaries are "in the right" in overturning the usurpers.  However,
they merely want to return to the rulership of a King, the Calde, as set
down by the demiurge Pas.  In the sublunary world, that is as good as you
can get.  In the medieval Christian viewpoint, this too is as good as you
can get.

WRT Severian's guilt or otherwise, I think his viewpoint is that of a
soldier doing his duty -- which inevitably involves harm to others.
Similarly, in the world of the (virtuous) Knight, and of the Soldier (of
arete).  Their duty is something all Wolfe's characters have to work out
for themselves, but then have to act on regardless of consequences to
themselves or others.

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