West Coast Swamp Stuck in Playa Mud at Burning Man

Burning Man shelter in place

by Katya Rapoport Sedgwick at legalinsurrection.com

Lesson learned: when it comes to radical self-reliance, listen to the authorities.

It’s a curious fork in the road. Regular Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical of authorities making the right decisions when a natural disaster strikes. But when it rained a little at the Burning Man 2023 festival, technocrat elites—perversely—had their faith in competent government response reinforced.

In 2005, as hurricane Katrina was approaching New Orleans, the city’s government didn’t use its fleet of school buses to evacuate the low income residents, sheltering them at the Superdome arena. More than 1800 residents died, most of them in flooding. Lesson learned: be self-sufficient.

One hundred and fifteen people died and 66 are still missing in this year’s Maui fire when the local authorities instructed residents to stay put and blocked off the road. Lesson learned: the government doesn’t always have the correct response. I can add many other disasters, like Uvalde and East Palestine where the government fumbled its response.

What Katrina, Maui, Palestine, Uvalde have in common is not the geographic location or race of the victims but the fact that they were the middle class and the poor.

Contrast it to the Burning Man on which people spend thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to attend: 16% of the 2022 guests came from the households with income above $300,000. Over 40% were earning between $100,000 and $300,000. One of the Burners reveling in this year’s crowd was the former Solicitor General of the United States Neal Katyal. As a creature of the DC swamp, he’s a bit of a geographic exception among the Burners, most whom are comprised of California tech elites. We are talking about post-Obama era establishment types in their low middle age, some of them quite prominent, traveling to the desert for the rave of their lifetime. If they still call them raves.

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