It seems Grover Norquist had an eye-opening Burning Man experience. He penned an op-ed for the Guardian
It is a larger version of … what? Woodstock? That was a bunch of teenagers coming to watch artists perform. At Burning Man, everyone is expected to be a participant. Burners bring their art work, their art cars, their personal dress and/or undress: everyone is on stage. The story of Woodstock was thousands of young people, without the sense to bring their own food and water, being rescued by the state police and sensible bourgeois rural folks. The story of Burning Man is one of radical self-reliance.
It is more intense than … what? Not quite the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Burning Man is an arts festival in the middle of the Nevada desert. It takes hours to get there, and you must bring what you eat or wear or need: you cannot buy anything there. Burning Man is more like Brigadoon – a western ghost town that springs to life. Dust storms. Cold nights. Black Rock City is completely built and then taken apart and disappeared each year, by 65,000 people.
Burning Man is greater than I had ever imagined. I have been to large demonstrations in favor of the environment, and the trash left behind is knee-deep. At Burning Man, you are hard-pressed to find a cigarette butt on the ground. There are no trash bins. Participants carry it in, and they carry it out. I have been to the Louvre. It is a very big place with many nice paintings. I knew that. I was not disappointed. Burning Man is more like Petra, the lost city in Jordan, which I found more impressive than its advance billing or reputation…. anyone complaining about a Washington wonk like me at Burning Man is not a Burner himself: The first principle of Burning Man is “radical inclusiveness”, which pretty much rules out the nobody-here-but-us liberals “gated community” nonsense.
It’s Radical Inclusion, Grover. Learn your Principles if you wanna come back.
A community that comes together with a minimum of “rules” demands self-reliance – that everyone clean up after themselves and help thy neighbor. Some day, I want to live 52 weeks a year in a state or city that acts like this. I want to attend a national political convention that advocates the wisdom of Burning Man.
Grover, of course, stayed at First Camp, the original plug-n-play, where meals were provided for him and someone else cleaned up.
I was invited to speak to a group one night for an hour. Moments before I spoke, I was told that I was the last speaker in a series focusing on psychedelic drugs. My talk was on freedom. I left untouched the cup of coffee and opened soda at my side. The questions lasted two hours. We had a ball.
Indeed, there is entirely too much work involved at Burning Man for lazy people to get to the Playa, nevermind build a camp or feed yourself.
…You hear that Burning Man is full of less-than-fully-clad folks and off-label pharmaceuticals. But that’s like saying Bohemian Grove is about peeing on trees or that Chicago is Al Capone territory. Burning Man is cleaner and greener than a rally for solar power. It has more camaraderie and sense of community than a church social. And for a week in the desert, I witnessed more individual expression, alternative lifestyles and imaginative fashion than …. anywhere.
The demand for self-reliance at Burning Man toughens everyone up. There are few fools, and no malingerers. …I brought Cuban cigars. Edgy, but not as exciting as some “gifts” that would have interested the federal authorities.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Dennis Kucinich also had a good time: