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Graver Norquist reveals burning ambition


Still playing the wild grover: Often seen on the Hill, Norquist’s festival visit shows he is not yet (Gr)over it
Photo by Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The US anti-tax activist is more of a raver than a Grover, if revelations about his summer plans are anything to go by. He intends to take part in the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Norquist has already pointed out various similarities between the desert-festival and his Americans for Tax Reform group.

"Burning Man was founded in '86, the same year as the [Republican] Pledge [to oppose any tax increases], and the first Burning Man had 20 people at it, and our first centre-right meeting – the Wednesday Meeting – also had 20 people. So I think there's a real kinship there," says Norquist. "These are very similar operations, except we tend to wear more clothes perhaps at the Wednesday Meetings."

He had planned to attend the Nevada desert-based festival of debauchery and nakedness in 2012, only to be double-booked because of the Republican National Convention. This prompted Norquist to tweet: "Which idiot put the GOP convention the same time as 'Burning Man' in Nevada?"

"It wasn't doable with schedules and so on because the Republicans put their convention right on top of Burning Man, silly people," Norquist told National Journal last month. "That's why they probably lost the election."

Maybe Norquist is trying to take some lessons about overcoming political gridlock from the festival to Capitol Hill. He says the festival promotes spontaneous order, whereby a natural structure emerges from chaos without outside intervention.

"There's no government that organises this. That's what happens when nobody tells you what to do. You just figure it out," said Norquist, adding that Burning Man is a refutation of the argument that the state has a place in nature.

Cyndi Lauper might not be performing at Burning Man, but Norquist's attendance shows that tax reform advocates just wanna have fun.

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