Grover Norquist Ponders a Return to Burning Man

Image: Grover Norquist Ponders a Return to Burning Man Founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 10:18 AM

By Andrea Billups

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Grover Norquist may have been one of the most unlikely adventurers to this year's Burning Man event, but he came away happy — and so engaged that he is pondering whether to bring back his children next year.

The anti-tax activist, 57, donned a purple scarf and what sounds like an open mind as he Tweeted out photos of the desert festival where he posed with its co-founder Larry Harvey before the event's famed statue went up in flames, mashable.com reported.

"He has created a wonderful festival/movement/Brigadoon," Norquist wrote of the spectacle.

He added in a Tweet posted Saturday: "Burning Man. 65,000 participants. 1000s of works of art. Anyone who walks through BM and only notices nudity tells you only about himself."

Norquist, who attended the gathering with his wife, was interviewed by New York magazine as he walked among the psychedelic throngs. The publication noted that he arrived at the event by private jet and stayed up late riding through the makeshift city in a car decorated like a spider. He also enjoyed the tradition of rising to greet the sunrise, but was ensconced in the event's gated First Camp where notables and organizers stay.

While some might not get Norquist's fascination, the magazine noted that Burning Man's broader message dovetails nicely with the conservative, who eschews government growth and dependence.

“Burning Man is a bunch of people who think the government doesn’t need to be here,” he said. “Nobody told anybody to do this stuff. I mean, talk about Hayekian spontaneous order — this is, like, exhibit A."

Norquist added: "“The expectation that there’s a cross between absent-minded professors and bohemians and that’s what artists are, it’s not true. Look at the amount of work that goes into building something like (a giant bus tricked out as pirate ship) that! That was not done by lazy people. That was not done by people who think the world owes them a living. Or people who say, 'Let’s pass a law to build a boat.'"

His reaction as a first-timer seems to fit Harvey's vision, too. "If you’re talking about old-fashioned, Main Street Republicanism, we could be the poster child," Harvey said in an interview two years ago with The Washington Post.

The Americans for Tax Reform leader said last month in announcing he would make the Black Rock desert pilgrimage that it was on his bucket list since 2012, the National Journal reported. This year the timing seemed right to make it work, he said.

"There's no government that organizes this," Norquist told the National Journal of his interest in the Nevada gathering. "That's what happens when nobody tells you what to do. You just figure it out. So Burning Man is a refutation of the argument that the state has a place in nature."


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