Burning Kochs: Americans for Prosperity Stands Up For Firespinning Freedom


The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity issued an ad slamming Democratic state Senate candidate Sheila Leslie for her role in passing a 2011 law in Nevada licensing the art of fire spinning, so frequently displayed at that desert festival of art and community.

People in the Burning Man community misinterpreted it, because of general disdain for their media-spun vision of what the Koch brothers are all about, but this was not an attack on "Burning Man culture" but on what AFP sees as frivolous and irrelevant lawmaking and fee-imposition.

Apprentice fire performers between the ages of 18-21 must be supervised and trained by existing permit holders.

From their own side, a Reno-based group of fire performers who call themselves "Controlled Burn" and who pushed for the state law say it was to protect performers from inconsistent application of local codes from fire marshalls.

The law does restrict the licensing requirement to those "who performs for an audience using an open flame in a venue authorized by permit of a governmental entity," not to anyone practicing poi in the privacy of their own yards.

The Institute for Justice has compiled a useful document on the absurd number of occupations that it is illegal to practice in these here United States without state licensing.

My 2004 book about the festival's history, This is Burning Man, discusses the festival's anarcho-libertarian roots and its status as a (ironically, highly policed) Temporary Autonomous Zone. My May blogging on Burning Man's attempts to become a D.C. lobbying player.