Friday, October 24, 2008
One of Traven's more obscure books, but one of his best, The White Rose chronicles the life of a communal farm, and what happens to it when big business interests looking to drill oil on it insist on having the land. Written about Mexico near the turn of the previous century, its criticisms are still valid in most parts of the world today.
"We all are poor people, and we delight in the machine, in the airplane, the radio precisely because we have lost our attachment to the soil. This loss leaves us apathetic and distracted. That's why we need gasoline - to anesthetize us, to make us insensible of our loss, of our pain, gasoline that deludes us with speed so that we can flee all the quicker from ourselves and the needs of the heart."
"No king, no president, no group of capitalists, will hatch a war without justifying it on the grounds that it serves the common good and cannot be avoided for this or that reason, and that the nation's standing in the eyes of other peoples, hence honor, requires the war. Without a moral justification no war is begun. And finding a good excuse is the first task of those who think a war is needed. The more believable the excuse, the surer the result in all actions requiring the co-operation or toleration of other men."