The news out of Black Rock, Nevada, scene of the annual anarcho-libertoid Burning Man festival, summons to mind the Oscar Wilde quip that “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.” After heavy summer rains, the usually dry lake bed had turned into a muddy swamp, and no one can get out. It is being declared a national emergency. Can FEMA and a visit from Joe Biden be far behind?
Burning Man is supposed to be the 21st century Woodstock, where crypto-slinging tech bros and bohemian refuseniks gather to demonstrate how new, self-created social orders of self expression can flourish everywhere with enough Yeti camping gear and Patagonia hempware. As Time magazine proclaimed about the scene:
It may well rank as one of the significant political and sociological events of the age. . . [T]he revolution it preaches, implicitly or explicitly, is essentially moral; it is the proclamation of a new set of values. . . With a surprising ease and a cool sense of authority, the children of plenty have voiced an intention to live by a different ethical standard than their parents accepted. The pleasure principle has been elevated over the Puritan ethic of work. To do one’s own thing is a greater duty than to be a useful citizen.
Oh, wait, what’s what Time wrote about Woodstock in 1969, but I’m sure there’s a leftover tab of LSD somewhere in the Time office to produce another such rendering of Burning Man. (Altamont, you say? What’s that.)
But lo an behold, in our age of endless surveys, it turns out there’s a census of Burning Man attendees. And like America, it has a shrinking middle class!
Despite its reputation as a libertarian enthusiasm, it appears fewer libertarians (as least by formal party registration) attend than Republicans. Given that Burning Man attendees skew toward rich Democrats, it’s a near certainty that Biden will pay attention.
And they are an irreligious bunch, but you expect this from a festival that is a homage to ancient pagan rituals in many ways:
More at the link above if you’re curious about Burners.
Chaser—the scene from Burning Man today: