Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and the most-prominent anti-tax crusader in the U.S., set the Twittersphere ablaze on Monday when he revealed his summer vacation plans:
Its official. Samah and I are off to “Burning Man” this year. Scratch one from the Bucket List.
— Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) July 28, 2014
“Burning Man” is the annual weeklong, hedonistic adventure in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Tens of thousands of people travel there every year for what the organisation describes as an “experiment” dedicated to “radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.” It all culminates in a tribute to its namesake — when a large effigy of a man is burned on the event’s final day.
It turns out Norquist has had a burning desire to attend the event for quite some time. Norquist had always been intrigued by Burning Man, but his interest piqued in 2012 when he met co-founder Larry Harvey in Washington, D.C. He wanted to go that year, but the timing conflicted with the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
“I thought, who was the idiot who put the Republican National Convention on top of Burning Man!?” Norquist said in an interview with Business Insider.
After more scheduling hiccups last year, everything finally lined up for this summer. Norquist said he’s fascinated by the concept of the weeklong festival, which attracted about 60,000 people to the Black Rock Desert last year. He said it’s “what freedom’s all about,” and he agreed with the characterization that it’s a “libertarian utopia.”
“What they’re doing is, people come together, voluntarily, and create a city. They show up, disappear. Nobody tells anybody else what to do. They don’t have a bunch of laws,” Norquist said.
“It’s wonderful. You read their list of principles — it’s all about people getting together voluntarily and working together. It’s what freedom’s all about!”
In fact, Norquist said Burning Man has many similarities to his own organisation. Burning Man thrives on a system of “giving,” producing a mini-economic system that Harvey has told The Washington Post qualifies as “old-fashioned capitalism.”
Norquist said he doesn’t have any specific itinerary yet, but the concept of liberty Burning Man provides is exciting to him. He could decide to work all day one day, or he could decide to “be artistic” and roam around. The only item he’s sure to be packing is a pair of goggles, because it often gets windy and sandy at Black Rock Desert.
Burning Man also has a reputation for mind-altering substances at an event that’s been called similar to Woodstock. However, Norquist said he won’t be partaking in that aspect of Burning Man. Still, Norquist, who recently advocated for tax breaks for medical-marijuana dispensaries said he’s fine with others doing enjoying illegal drugs at the festival.
“I’m going to take it all in — well, not take it all in,” Norquist joked. “I think lots of things should be legal that I don’t do.”
Norquist will be able to cross Burning Man off his bucket list. What else is left? Attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, and “peeing on a tree in Bohemian Grove.”
“It’s evidently what one does at Bohemian Grove,” he said.
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