Thursday, December 30, 2010

If you shovel snow from a public parking space, can you "save" that space for yourself? Show your work for full credit...

Interesting how circumstances can change the way people think about public property.  Just because someone shoveled a space they feel entitled to it.  Perhaps these residents are using this passage from John Locke "Two Treatises on Government" to justify their attempt at co-opting of public property:

""The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.""
However, I don't believe Locke would not approve of using his words in this case with land legally appropriated for use "in the common"--it is no longer "in the state of nature"--or is it? If government fails in its duty to preserve the property in common (not plowing the road for the safety/convenience of its citizens),should/could it not be considered plunged back into the state of nature?  It would be an interesting episode of COPS to see a resident use Locke to justify  his place-holding of a public parking spot...I am guessing that would end with a tasing.


  1. I am from the suburbs of Chicago and as far as I know, Chicago is the only city where its residents use chairs to reserve parking spots. It is well know here and has a long tradition, as the city has informally allowed it for years. Recently however, there have been some issues in very popular neighborhoods and the city has publicly stated a ban on reserving parking spots with chairs. From what I hear, it is starting to be enforced as well. So this tradition will probably disappear soon. That being said, I highly doubt anyone ever used John Locke in defense of their actions, despite this proud city bestowing to the world the (in)famous Chicago School of Economics from the University of Chicago.

  2. I neglected to cite where I found this picture...Looks like it is Chicago . The bloggers are associated with Northwestern. I have to say, I was not aware of this "tradition" with the chairs. Thanks for commenting.


View My Stats