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Edward Abbey Quotes


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The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need - if only we had the eyes to see.
 

The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages - as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already.
 

The more corrupt a society, the more numerous its laws.
 

The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws.
 

The only thing worse than a knee-jerk liberal is a knee-pad conservative.
 

The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an "equalizer." Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed-but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.
 

The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
 

There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.
 

There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.
 

This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio, or Rome - there's no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.
 

To die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, like a wolf, like a great bird, seems to me very good fortune indeed.
 

We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foresight of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement.
 

We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may not ever need to go there.
 

We're all undesirable elements from somebody's point of view.
 

What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.
 

What's the difference between a whore and a congressman? A congressman makes more money.
 

Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.
 

When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.
 

When I write 'paradise' I mean not only apple trees and golden women but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, volcanoes and earthquakes, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, bladderweed, ocotillo and mesquite, flash floods and quicksand, and yes - disease and death and the rotting of flesh.
 

When the situation is hopeless, there's nothing to worry about.
 


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