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Noah Smith

Grover Norquist Picks Burning Man Over Drowning Government

Grover Norquist, the antitax libertarian, says he will do fine at the Burning Man festival, where outlandish behavior and bizarre acts of self-expression are the norm.
No taxes here.
No taxes here.

The way we define "east" and "west" doesn't allow us to declare one spot of land the westernmost point on the globe. But if "west" is defined more emotionally as the idea of American freedom, then the Burning Man festival might be the uttermost west. If you don't already know what Burning Man is, you shouldn't rely on me to explain it to you -- just read the introduction on the website, use Google Images, or read the first few chapters of Cory Doctorow's book "Homeland.''

This year, the media is abuzz with the news that Burning Man will be getting a very special guest: Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. At first this might seem a bit incongruous, since conservative activists don't seem like the type who enjoy nudism, drugs, crazy art or a "giving economy." Also, Norquist campaigned for George W. Bush, who is about as close to the antithesis of Burning Man as any American I can think of. But Norquist explains his mission thus: