Category Archives: Edward Abbey

Laboring with the Monkey Wrench Gang

Some good quotes from The  Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), which I finally got to.  As I type, 80,000 in Washington DC are at the Boise St – Virginia Tech football game, to say nothing of the millions watching on TV (including me).

Let us never deceive ourselves that we labor in anything other than obscurity.

There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to pull up stakes. Has to light out. Has to stop straddling, and start cutting, fence.

All this fantastic effort — giant machines, road networks, strip mines, conveyor belts, pipelines, slurry lines, loading towers, railway and electric train, hundred-million dollar coal-burning power plant; ten thousand miles of high-tension towers and high-voltage power lines; the devastation of the landscape, the destruction of Indian homes and Indian grazing lands, Indian shrines, and Indian burial grounds; the poisoning of the last big clean-air reservoir in the forty-eight contiguous United States, the exhaustion of precious water supplies — all that ball-breaking labor and all that backbreaking expanse and all that heartbreaking insult to land and sky and human heart, for what? All that for what? Why, to light the lamps of Phoenix suburbs yet to be built, to run the air conditioners of San Diego and Los Angeles, to illuminate shopping-center parking lots at two in the morning, to power aluminum plants, magnesium plants, vinyl-chloride factories and copper smelters, to charge the neon tubing that makes the meaning (all the meaning there is) of Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Tucson, Salt Lake City, the amalgamated metropoli of southern California, to keep alive that phosphorescent putrefying glory (all the glory there is left) called Down Town, Night Time, Wonderville, USA.

“When I somebody coming to do me good,” said Hayduke, “I reach for my revolver.”

“Friends,” says Doc, “I don’t believe in majority rule.  You know that.  I don’t believe in minority rule either.  I am against all forms of government, including good government.”

You think a trick like that will fool a bunch of grown men?” Bonnie asks.
Seldom allows himself a cautious smile. “Well now, honey, if Love was by himself I’d say no, you wouldn’t fool him so easy. But with his Team it’s different. One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity there ain’t nothing can beat teamwork.”