Fifteen years later, this reads like it was written last week.
Abbey was neither liberal or conservative. He was a provocateur -- he tested and questioned all beliefs and all logic -- and was only happy when he had a good controversy in progress. I suffered twice from his keen wit -- skewered repeatedly about ten years before he wrote this essay. And yes, we had all been doing some very serious drinking that lasted until nearly dawn.
This essay came from one of his last books, One Life at a Time, Please. Almost the last thing he wrote. Somewhere in the frontal matter of the book (preface, foreword, copyright page -- the stuff nobody reads) he got in one zinger that should have been used as his epitaph.
"If there's anyone still present whom I've failed to insult . . . I apologize."
(My thanks to Milady madfly for finding this online somewhere. Warning: this wench is psychic. I lost my copy of the book years ago and have been trying to find another for months, just for this one essay. Then she emails it to me out of the blue.)
To: JackelopeBreeder; KneelBeforeZod
THE Edward Abbey? OMG....this is sooo cool!
I consider myself one of the Green Republicans here, so this is too cool.
To: Free the USA; Libertarianize the GOP; B4Ranch; madfly; FITZ; Reaganwuzthebest; hsmomx3; ...
posted on 05/19/2003 6:47:50 PM PDT
("Push to test." < Click! > "Release to detonate." Oops...)
I was sitting in a bar on 4th avenue in Tucson around about winter 1983 (remember the restaurant on the corner of 5th st.?). The well dressed patrons had just heard Abbey quoted in the press as saying that:
"Mexican illegal aliens should be stopped at the border, handed a gun, turned around, they'll know what to do when they get home".
They were all horrified, of course. Saying things like, "is Abbey a Nazi?". I laughed so hard at them, I spat up. They just stared. They thought he was some kind of fuzzy, furry Spotted-Owl hugging GreenMan. Umm, don't think so...
His book of quotations is still at my father's house in Tucson. Which is a good place for it....but the one thing that I have wondered over the last 10 years of this immivasion madness: where are all the people now who listened so fervently to Abbey and others in the 1970's? Collecting a paycheck from Club Sierra? Working deals at the Wilderness Society to get a cheap land deal through a public land trust donation? The silence from them is DEAFENING.
posted on 05/19/2003 7:06:19 PM PDT
Jackelope Breeder wouldn't happen to be Chilton Williamson Jr., would he? I was raised in Idaho and it was common knowledge that Jackelopes were most often seen in Wyoming --a spot where Mr. Williamson has been known to hang his Stetson.
I attended the U. of New Mexico a year or two after Ed Abbey had departed the campus. A poster attributed to him was still decorating a few spots around the school. It read (approximately):
"There will be no peace until the last dictator is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
Yes, he was a provacateur.
I agree with you about Abbey - He defied labels, and was the iconclast's iconoclast.
My favorite Abbey quote was one on welfare; Abbey, who had actually worked at one time as a social worker, stated that we should offer all single women on welfare the option of sterilization, in exchange for a brand new Mustang convertible. He added "Not only would this cut down on welfare expenditures, but it would have the added benefit of eliminating from the gene pool anyone foolish enough to accept such a deal."
posted on 05/19/2003 7:19:06 PM PDT
Edward Abbey, patron saint of the extremist radical environmentalists and author of Ecotopia, their holy scripture
Brilliant essay. Thanks for sharing it with us. Yes, it reads like it was written last week.
posted on 05/19/2003 7:44:43 PM PDT
I had forgotten I sent that to you. Well,that does it, you are my new Psychic Friend, lol. Can't wait for your next wish, sir!
I have a dusty old copy of MonkeyWrench Gang next to a 1915 copy of Zane Grey's "Rainbow Trail".
You, my friend, are a born story teller, with an interesting past and a good memory! Keep 'em coming.
posted on 05/19/2003 8:29:26 PM PDT
(Feeling discouraged and burnt out. . . . .)
Edward Abbey really hits the mark with this.....
"Especially when these uninvited millions bring with them an alien mode of life which - let us be honest about this - is not appealing to the majority of Americans. Why not? Because we prefer democratic government, for one thing; because we still hope for an open, spacious, uncrowded, and beautiful-yes, beautiful!-society, for another. The alternative, in the squalor, cruelty, and corruption of Latin America, is plain for all to see."
15 years later, the final sentence of this passage appears to be the destiny for America.
posted on 05/19/2003 8:57:06 PM PDT
...culturallymorally-generically impoverished people.
I agree with much of this but the above line in idiotic and racist.
posted on 05/19/2003 8:58:57 PM PDT
Yes, I know, if the American Indians had enforced such a policy none of us pale-faced honkies would be here. But the Indians were foolish, and divided, and failed to keep our WASP ancestors out. They've regretted it ever since.
At this point in American History I'd like to know how we are any different as a people than the American Indians were when it comes to being "Foolish" and "Divided". What's that they say about divide and conquer?
posted on 05/19/2003 9:04:58 PM PDT
In which case it might be wise for us as American citizens to consider calling a halt to the mass influx of even more millions of hungry, ignorant, unskilled, and culturallymorally-generically impoverished people.
Wouldn't matter if they were fat, educated, skilled, and culturallymorally-generically advanced; we are out of room.
At least until we have brought our own affairs into order.
No, not until, but never. We are full-up.
because we still hope for an open, spacious, uncrowded, and beautiful-yes, beautiful!-society
Well, you're hoping for something already lost to us.
posted on 05/19/2003 9:08:00 PM PDT
(Feeling discouraged and burnt out. . . . .)
"Therefore-let us close our national borders to any further mass immigration, legal or illegal, from any source, as does every other nation on earth. The means are available, it's a simple technical-military problem. Even our Pentagon should be able to handle it. We've got an army somewhere on this planet, let's bring our soldiers home and station them where they can be of some actual and immediate benefit to the taxpayers who support them. That done, we can begin to concentrate attention on badly neglected internal affairs. Our internal affairs. Everyone would benefit, including the neighbors. Especially the neighbors."
This guy was truly ahead of his time. Still, 15 years later the immigration madness continues and anything resembling the above remains a far off dream.
posted on 05/19/2003 9:14:22 PM PDT
Outstanding post! I consider myself a crunchy conservative, or, as Rod Dreher, formerly from NR, has said, a "Burkenstocked Burkean" - one who favors BOTH small government AND small capitalism.
Edward Abbey was certainly on the mark regarding immigration.
posted on 05/19/2003 9:17:31 PM PDT
(extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...)
The United States has been fully settled, and more than full, for at least a century.
It's was full for longer than that--North America was full long before Columbus discovered America.
I love Edward Abbey. Got turned onto him in '91 by a couple of friends in Tuscon.
I love his quote, in I think, "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness"....
(I'll paraphrase it if I don't have it right)
"If more people carried guns, there would be a lot better manners around here..."
posted on 05/19/2003 10:38:42 PM PDT
(Where's Seldom Seen?)
I'm astonished that I could agree with Edward Abbey about anything.
Make no mistake, though: Edward Abbey was a extremist liberal.
Abbey was the original environmentalist wack-job. He was also an alcoholic, a mysogynist (& I don't throw that term around lightly) and was probably manic/depressive.
.......which means he was a PERFECT DEMOCRAT--LOL!
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