Junk, trash, rubbish- our lives are debauched, our natural resources squandered, our native land ravaged in this mad production of metal, plastic, glass, and paper garbage. Who needs throw-away beer cans? Bottle my beer ( and let’s go back to making real beer, by the way; no more of this watery green commercial angel piss) in solid, substantial, amber-colored jugs that fit a man’s hand, that rest solidly on a table and can be washed out and used over again, for Christ’s sake, like they do it in Bavaria and Austria, where beer began. Who needs color television? It’s bad enough in black and white and wavy stripes. Who needs trail bikes, snowmobiles, electric razors? Winnebagos, power lawn mowers, Styrofoam packaging, bulk-rate mail? Ballpoint pens, glass office buildings with windows that can’t be opened, tract homes made of green lumber and plasterboard? Condominiums with cardboard walls, polyurethane geodesic igloos, plumbing that doesn’t work, blenders, dishwashers, dryers, plastic picnic plates, electric guitars and Moog synthesizers? Vinylite upholstery, synthetic textiles made from ersatz fibers, sour green oranges and acid injected tomatoes and hormone-polluted beef shipped from 3,000 miles away, frozen grape juice, incomprehensible income-tax forms, short-life light bulbs, high-powered cabin cruisers on every pond and stream, spray deodorants, nondairy products, plywood ski hutches in the mountain valleys of Colorado and Utah, four wheel drive “recreation” vehicles, snow-making machines, Astrodomes, the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, aluminum pie plates, Teflon frypans, artificial fruit “drinks,” electric typewriters, all-electric homes, electric chairs, gas chambers, neon billboards, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Alamos? The list goes on and on ad infinitum, and anyone who wants to can easily make up a list ten times longer than mine.
While real needs go unsatisfied: good beer, good fresh healthy food for all; homes and apartments for all that are well made, well designed, comfortable, durable and handsome; quick easy urban transit systems; good continental passenger train service; air that’s fit to breathe, water that’s fit to drink, foot that’s fit to eat; and now and then, when we want it, some space and solitude and silence. Is that too much to ask of a sane and rational political economy?God only knows it’s too much to ask of the one we’ve got now. Like my old man always says, capitalism sounds good in theory but it just doesn’t work: look around you and see what it has done to our country. And what it is going to do to our country- if we let it.
Not that socialism is any better. Socialism is worse. Then what is the answer? Some mixture of the two? Something in between? Or something entirely different?
…what we need in our perishing republic is something different.
Something entirely different.
Edward Abbey, “The Second Rape of the West” from The Journey Home, 1977
Scary to think that this was written over thirty years ago; scarier to realize Abbey and his ideas helped form a lot of my political and social ideals; scariest of all, nothing much has changed.
If not the green party, where do we start?