Image Library

Quotes by Edward Abbey
(1927 - 1989)


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AbortionAbolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.
AdventureClimbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an inner tube -- there are some things one would rather have done than do.
AmericaIf America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.
AnarchismAnarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.
AstrologyWho needs astrology? The wise man gets by on fortune cookies.
BooksHow long does it take to write a good book? All of the years that you've lived.
CaliforniaThere is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.
CultureOur culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second.
DeathDeath is every man's final critic. To die well you must live bravely.
DespairDespair leads to boredom, electronic games, computer hacking, poetry, and other bad habits.
DogsWhen a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.
Environmental warfareAlways pull up survey stakes anywhere you find them. -- George Washington Hayduke of The Monkey Wrench Gang
EnvironmentalismThe most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws.
FactThere is a kind of poetry in simple fact.
FictionThis book, though fictional in form, is based strictly on historical fact. Everything in it is real or actually happened. And it all began just one year from today.
- ( preface to The Monkey Wrench Gang)
FoiblesIt's a great country: you can say whatever you like so long as it is strictly true -- nobody will take you seriously.
FootballFootball is a game for trained apes. That, in fact, is what most of the players are -- retarded gorillas wearing helmets and uniforms. The only thing more debased is the surrounding mob of drunken monkeys howling the gorillas on.
Free loveFree love is priced right.
FundamentalismA knowledge of the true age of the earth and of the fossil record makes it impossible for any balanced intellect to believe in the literal truth of every part of the Bible in the way that fundamentalists do. And if some of the Bible is manifestly wrong, why should any of the rest of it be accepted automatically?
GenocideExcept for the scale of the operation, there was nothing unusual about Hitler's massacre of the Jews. Genocide's an old tradition, as human as mother love or cherry pie.
GovernmentIn the Soviet Union, government controls industry. In the United States, industry controls government. That is the principal structural difference between the two great oligarchies of our time.
GovernmentAll governments require enemy governments.
GovernmentAnarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
GrowthGrowth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
HopelessWhen the situation is hopeless, there's nothing to worry about.
- (The Monkey Wrench Gang)
HuntersWhenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and aesthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one.
LawsThe more corrupt a society, the more numerous its laws.
LifeWe are obliged to spread the news, painful and bitter though it may be for some to hear, that all living things on earth are kindred.
LitteringOf course I litter the public highway. Every chance I get. After all, it's not the beer cans that are ugly; it's the highway that is ugly.
LogicIf the end does not justify the means -- what can?
LostBe sure to let me know if you get lost.
MarriageMarried couples who quarrel bitterly every day may really need each other as deeply as those who appear to be desperately in love.
MexicoMexico: where life is cheap, death is rich, and the buzzards are never unhappy.
MusicLife without music would be an intolerable insult.
New YorkNew Yorkers like to boast that if you can survive in New York, you can survive anywhere. But if you can survive anywhere, why live in New York?
ParenthoodMost people have no business having children. They are unqualified, either genetically or culturally or both, to reproduce such sorry specimens as themselves. Of all our privileges, the license to breed is the one most grossly abused.
ParklandsNational parking lots.
- ( re development in the national parks)
PatriotismA patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government.
- (naturalist and author)
PerfectionPerfection is a minor virtue.
PessimismA pessimist is simply an optimist in full possession of the facts.
PestsOne thing worse than self-hatred is chiggers.
PowerPower is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.
PreservationKeep it like it was.
- ("The Monkey Wrench Gang")
ProselytingThe missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages -- as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already.
ReasonReason has seldom failed us because it has seldom been tried.
SocietySociety is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.
suspicionNothing looks more suspicious in the eyes of townsfolk, whether red-skinned or white, than a bearded man on foot with a pack on his back.
teamworkOne man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork.
Time and spaceWe are preoccupied with time. If we could learn to love space as deeply as we are now obsessed with time, we might discover a new meaning to the phrase to live like men.
War and politicsThe tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other -- instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
WaterThere is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount -- unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.
WealthThe most striking thing about the rich is the gracious democracy of their manners -- and the crude vulgarity of their way of life.
WildernessIf wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness.
WildernessNo wonder the authorities are so anxious to smother wilderness under asphalt and reservoirs. They know what they're doing; their lives depend on it, and all their rotten institutions.
WomenWomen truly are better than men. Otherwise, they'd be intolerable.
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