Burning Man

A friend announced he was going to the Burning Man festival outside of Gerlach, Nevada. I knew he had been several times and, at $300/person, I wondered what the attraction might be. It’s hot out there in the desert, you know?

So I Google’d up the event’s web page and, after a little looking around, found a PDF called the “Survival Guide”.

On the cover page are these “Participant Responsibilities”:

"Participants at Burning Man must bring all necessities to the desert: food, shelter, water, fuel, and basic first aid supplies. As you read these guidelines for responsible behavior, please keep in mind that you are responsible for yourself at all times, in every regard, as you approach, once you enter, and as you leave Black Rock City. Above and beyond the provision for individual survival, everyone is requested to help ensure our collective survival by following very basic rules relating to public safety and community well being. Everyone is expected to abide by these standards. Community membership is a privilege. Violation of these requirements could result in ejection from the community."

If you change “participant at Burning Man” to “Citizens of the United States” and make other similar changes, you’d have a very succinct statement of my beliefs in this regard.

Sadly, the cover page is not like the content just as the laws of the United States have strayed from its “cover” document, the Constitution.

  • At Burning Man, you can’t bring a dog.
  • At Burning Man, you can’t bring a gun.
  • At Burning Man, you may not sell things.
  • “Your car will be searched at the Gate.”
  • Do not bring: “Feathers of any kind”.

Well, in the United States we can still have dogs and guns. We can buy and sell – that is the foundation of Capitalism, after all – and although your car may be searched entering or leaving the United States, once you’re in, that can’t be done without a warrant or [the ability to convince a judge the officer had] probable cause.

And we can still have feathers in the United States of America.

All in all, I don’t think the Burning Man festival is for me.

Have a good time, Kevin. See you when you get back!


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