Of Property and Parking

Libertarian theory, being grounded in property rights, sometimes founders in the question of how a person establishes an initial claim to property. By what authority can anyone claim an exclusive right to land? Yet in the absence of the right to exclude, what incentive do people have to expend resources improving land?

While I've often pondered these questions on a theoretical level, I hadn’t realized how they are being fought out, day by day, in the very streets of America.

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Good read, sounds like a

Good read, sounds like a racemic mixture of Pop-Locke and Stirner Egoism.

Works for me.

I love it. Notice that here

I love it. Notice that here (temporary) property rights are created and enforced by private individuals. And meanwhile the government's role in this is anti-propertarian:

"Chairs and barriers of any type holding parking spaces on city streets are considered abandoned property and will be removed and discarded," Pittsburgh Police spokeswoman Diane Richard told Channel 4 Action News in an e-mail.

MORE property and parking

Apparently this is a longstanding point of dispute, with positions staked out by by Richard Epstein, Fred S. McChesney, Jesse Walker of Reason and Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune.

Again, by what authority does someone claim the right to exclude others? More specifically, what remedy should result if someone “trespasses” -- and who should implement it?

After the 1996 storm, a man was killed outside New York after a dispute over a shoveled parking spot. In Philadelphia in 2000, it happened again. In South Boston, a handful of assaults, slashed tires and other cases of vandalism end up in District Court each year after drivers are perceived to have broken the code.

Private property is as much

Private property is as much a biological reality, as much a part of our extended phenotype as a bird's nest or a beaver's dam. It can be suppressed by brute force exercised by a central power, but like the black market, it will creep back as soon as our government keepers look the other way.

Funny you would put it that way.

My cousin feels aggrieved that someone keeps coming onto her property and destroying her willows. She’s even put up fences. The culprit? The beaver who lives across the lake – and who probably now feels about as aggrieved as my cousin. Who is acting consistent with “biological reality” here?

I don’t doubt that the feeling “I own this place” has a biological foundation, much like the feeling “I own my mate” has a biological foundation. I don't know what significance to attach to those feelings. I do know that those feelings often find expression in physical coercion.

Who is acting consistent

Who is acting consistent with “biological reality” here?

That's a misleading question. The biological reality of property rights is a fact about human society. A single human does not instantiate property rights.

Property rights is like sex. While you can masturbate yourself, you can't actually have sex with yourself. You have to have another person in order for there to be sex. So sex, which is biologically real, isn't manifested one person at a time. It's manifested when two people come together to have sex.

Similarly, a woman struggling with a beaver isn't manifesting property rights. Property rights takes multiple people (more than two, actually).

Another thing that takes multiple people is human language. A human child raised by wild animals never acquires human language. And humans communicating with animals do not use human language (except as sources for the isolated noises that they have taught animals to recognize).

Great Read

I have to say this was a good read. As a Republican I normally do not agree with Libertarians however in this case some great points have been made and a reconsideration of my position is in order


Interesting information, keep

Interesting information, keep up the great work