As well as being a cracking novella, this felt like a lot of the current events of our time processing through to become art (as they do). The survivors of Darwath have survived more than one apocalyptic event, but even so they're barely hanging on and they all know it, as survival becomes more and more subsistence from year to year. It's not at all surprising that people in such horrifying conditions want to cling to someone that can offer them bright and shiny dreams...but that doesn't mean it's at all the smart thing to do. Or that there's any substance to those dreams. Also, fake news is apparently something people will fall for without question in any universe.