Edward Abbey Was Right

I always liked Edward Abbey, and his anarchist tendencies aren't the thing I liked least about his work. In this piece, public lands advocate Amy Irvine writes a letter to the late author.
I think that we both understand the “other side” of this public-lands debate — by which I mean the self-proclaimed old-timers, the rural folk. Which is, of course, not the other side at all — not even the likes of Cliven Bundy and the guys who took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Most of today’s environmental groups won’t agree, but you might, when I say that sometimes I vote libertarian to help break up the country’s two-party gridlock, but also because I love the idea of what those guys did; I love the active resistance, the sticking it to institutions too large and lethargic to be effective. After all, the folks who have defied federal authority believe as you believed, that we might need the wild woolliness of the West “as a refuge from authoritarian government,” and “as bases for guerilla warfare against tyranny.”

The anti-federalist, Mormon part of me agrees with your words, their actions. But, for Bundy’s kind, the land’s not the thing either.... For me, it’s a matter of degrees. My grandfather, the other ranchers I’ve moved cows for — none of them sits on the extreme and hostile end of the spectrum. Besides, there are so few independent ranch outfits remaining they are hardly the main problem. But I’ll tell you what is:
I'll bet you won't guess what she comes up with.


Christopher B said...


You keep using that word. I don't think you know what it means.

raven said...

Abbey would have been great fun to have a few beers with. Not at all a Man of the New Left- he liked guns, hated his beloved desert being trashed by illegals, and spoke his mind. Today's snowflakes would faint in horror at his barbarism. I read most of his books and enjoyed them all.

I understood the point the author was trying to make, but unsure what she wanted us to do about it. At least she recognizes the divide without rancor for her deplorable kin. Perhaps the hatred displayed at the party was a spur to defending her own.

Ymarsakar said...

The LDS clan, aka Mormon clan, Bundy vs Harry Reid (also LDS mainline branch line aka Mormon).

Mormons do not equal LDS, any more than Catholic means 99% of Christendom. The Mormon label is a subset designed to Other a minority in the US that Americans wanted to get rid of via ethnic cleansing, and the LDS is 90% of Mormons, certainly in the US.

Bundy vs Reid was basically an internal LDS conflict, and Reid lost out and was punished later on *look at his black eye*. This stuff tends to happen because Reid is still under contract. Historically whether people blame this on the LDS internal factions or whether this was Divine punishment, that can be left up to personal interpretation.