Thursday, January 13, 2011


"Big snow storms and limited parking is a combination that can lead to a whole lot of neighborhood feuds.

Now, in Darby Township, if you feel you have the right to reserve your parking spot, you could face a fine for hundreds of dollars.

You can’t lay claim to a parking spot on a public street in Darby Township. If you do, you could hear from police.

“The law prohibits doing that,” said Darby Township Police Chief Robert Thompson.
Putting in the work to dig out your car after a snow storm and then reserving that spot is a long standing tradition throughout the Philadelphia area."
CBS Philly

This isn't just a tradition in Philadelphia. We've got the same thing in the City of St. Louis. There's something that seems just about the whole thing. If a person spends all kinds of time to get a spot in front of their house clean so they can park there, shouldn't they be able to reserve it? If you say no then I wonder how you would view the person that waits patiently up the street for the spot to be cleared, watching the homeowner labor away, and then swoops in as soon as the homeowner drives off. Does that seem right to you?

There is a natural law theory that applies in this situation:

"The labor theory of property or labor theory of appropriation or labor theory of ownership is a natural law theory that holds that property originally comes about by the exertion of labor upon natural resources. It is also called the principle of first appropriation or the homestead principle.

In his Second Treatise on Government, the philosopher John Locke asked by what right an individual can claim to own one part of the world, when, according to the Bible, God gave the world to all humanity in common. He answered that persons own themselves and therefore their own labor. When a person works, that labor enters into the object. Thus, the object becomes the property of that person."

Do you remember in the western movies how the guy that staked his claim in the gold fields was always required to "work it" to establish ownership? The labor theory of property is the reason why. So my question is how does working public grounds in a gold field differ materially from working public grounds in a city? If I apply my labor to cleaning the snow from the parking space in front of my house doesn't that establish my right to use that space while the snow is still on the ground?

I would argue it does and I would point to the natural law and the sense of injustice it would generate if we watched that lazy interloper take the space created by the labor of another after that other leaves.

Once again politicians are interfering where they're not needed. Let the people sort this out among themselves and if the police are called let the natural law win the day and arrest the scum that tries to profit from the labor of another. Because doing that in damned near any other instance would be theft.

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