Fri, 19 Aug 2005

Burning Man

I notice that the Burning Man art festival has an awful lot of rules. Some of these rules are imposed upon it by external authority. Other rules, however, are necessary to keep people from coming to harm. The Burning Man organizers have created their own police, their own hospital, property rights, noise abatement laws, and a planned community.

Some people would say that this is evidence of a need for government. I don't think so. What is happening instead is a very large community is created from nothing in a very short period of time, and then is disbanded. If a community grows slowly on its own, or else is a permanent community, it will create its own spontaneous order. Burning Man has neither of those. The organizers end up being the source and repository of the spontaneous order. They started with no rules, and over time, having made mistakes and learned from them, they have put rules in place.

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