ana013: Private Ownership of Public Space | Part 1: Tim’s Porcfest Speech


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Tim presented a speech at the 14th Annual Porcupine Freedom Festival (Porcfest), titled “Private Ownership of Public Space in Post-State Cities.” He addressed three key questions:

1. What is “public space” and why should libertarians care about it?

2. How can public use be preserved under private ownership?

3. How can state owned spaces be divested into private ownership?

This episode features a brief discussion about Porcfest, and the full recording of Tim’s speech.

View full show notes at



“You had me at ‘Privatization'”


What is the Free State Project?

A pledge by 20,000 libertarian activists to move to New Hampshire within five years.

Adra Architecture – The Official Sponsor of Anarchitecture Podcast (a shameless plug for Tim’s new architecture practice)

Terms and Conditions apply

Tim’s profit-seeking motive for sponsoring PorcFest

The Porcupine as a symbol of Liberty

What the Free State Project and Kim Jong Il have in common

FIGHT CLUB – Tim vs. Jeffrey Tucker

The Porcfest crowd

Not “With Her”

Bohemians in tie-dye

Ex-military guys with assault rifles

Bohemians in tie-dye with assault rifles

Bitcoin computer geeks


Business people


The big umbrella of libertarianism

Porcfest Events

Debates on zoning, immigration

Patrick Byrne – CEO of

Dale Brown, from Detroit Threat Management Center

Burning Porcupine

Pig roast

Vendor booths for businesses, food, and merchandise

The “Adra Lounge” – Tim’s own piece of public space

Thanking our entire audience for going to Porcfest


Brett Veinotte from School Sucks Project

Steve Patterson – Tim throws down the gauntlet, which was quantum entangled so that it was really Joe throwing it down.

“Speaking of shooting off your mouth… my speech.”

The Adra Lounge

Speech Notes Overview

What is public space?

Ownership of land

Divestiture of government property

Ownership of public space

Post-state cities

What is Public Space?

…and why should libertarians care about it?

Space that is accessible to non-owners without invitation, with reasonable restrictions

Access to Public Space

…a sliding scale

Public Space

No permission for entry, no permission for occupancy

(Public park)

Permissible Public Space

Minor permissions for entry and / or occupancy, i.e. Pay a fee

(Movie theater)

Permissible Private Space

Major restrictions on entry and/or occupancy

(Corporate building lobby)

Private Space

Invitation only

(Private Home)

Categories of Public Space

Open Space

Urban open space (plazas and parks)

Natural areas (hiking trails, nature preserves, beaches, preserved farmland)

Enclosed parks (theme parks, amusement parks, botanical gardens)


Social / Cultural facilities (museums, theaters, community centers, libraries, tourist attractions, sports arenas)

Mercantile facilities (Farmers markets, malls, shops, restaurants)

Transportation facilities (airports, train stations, bus stations)


Roads and rights-of-way

Waterways (Rivers, lakes, oceans)

Parking (Lots, garages, on-street spaces)

Restrictions on Public Space

…do not necessarily disqualify a space as “public”

Administrative Restrictions:

Fees for use (park fees, road tolls)

Hours of use

Occupancy capacity (egress, parking)

Types of occupancy (camping, mercantile, assembly)

Behavioral Restrictions:

Disruptive / aggressive behavior / drinking

Reckless driving


Health and safety risks

Why is public space important?

Essential to human functioning

Freedom of movement

Marketplaces – Access to goods, services, and jobs

Recreation, nature, history, and arts

Social interaction, public discourse, protest, celebration

Public Space Summary

Space that is accessible to non-owners without invitation, with reasonable restrictions

Many types of public space – Open Space, Buildings, Pathways

Government owned and privately owned

Degrees of access with permissions

Many private facilities have public space components (i.e. Lobbies)

Expectation of entry (if not occupancy) on most properties

Restrictions on entry and occupancy

Public space is essential to public life

Ownership of Land

Essential elements of ownership

Reasonable freedom from adverse use inhibiting desired use

Duration of desired use with minimal risk of seizure (i.e. lease term)

Freedom to transfer ownership rights at will, in whole (sale) or in part (lease)

Necessity of Land Ownership

Private property ownership of land is essential to settlement and production.

Any society that is not nomadic needs to allocate private property to farm the land and build homes, roads, and infrastructure, with minimal risk of seizure, eviction, and adverse use by others.

Means of Enforcing Land Ownership

Architectural Means

Fences, Gates, Walls, Doors, Intrusion Alarms

Legal Means

Titles, Deeds, Trusts, Surveys, Liens, Homestead, Common Law / Custom

Forceful Means

Armed Security, Forceful Eviction, Booby Traps

Is forceful eviction consistent with the non-aggression principle?

…and the sign says anybody caught trespassing will be shot on sight

So I jumped the fence and yelled to the house, Hey, what gives you the right?

To put up a fence to keep me out, and keep mother nature in

If God were here he’d tell it to your face, Man, you’re some kind of sinner

Signs, by Five Man Electrical Band

Is trespass without threat an act of aggression that justifies defensive force?


Has a trespasser consented to force being used against him?


Does a right to forceful eviction depend on local laws and customs?


Is forceful eviction consistent with the non-aggression principle?

The right to use force to exclude or evict people from a certain area of land is not an a priori “natural” right

However, forceful eviction is necessary (with proportionality and due process) to avoid adverse use of many types of property, which is essential to settlement and production

A right to forceful eviction is a valid legal construct in societies with broad consensus for property rights.

Establishing a Right To Forceful Eviction


“Mix labor with the land”

A nice idea, but impractical

Takes time to “mix” labor with a large area of land

Excludes potential for natural preservation

Can justify an initial claim after the fact

First Claim

“I claim this chest in the name of Spain”

Necessary, but insufficient

Dennis Hope has claimed the Moon and sold off claims to others.

Some combination of claim, survey, and declaration of intent for use may be sufficient to validate a claim (i.e. mining claims).

But none of this matters…


“All your base are belong to us”

No existing land title has been established primarily by homesteading

No future land titles (on Earth) will be created by homesteading

All existing land titles have been created by governments who have claimed unused land or seized occupied land.

Are all existing land titles invalid?


Land claims are relative.

Whoever has the earliest provable claim to land has the best claim (Stephan Kinsella)

Privately-owned land has been “removed” from the governments who seized it.

Is “Public Property” invalid?

There is no public property.

“Public Property” is private property that happens to be owned by a government.

The Owner (government) sets rules for access, fees, and allowable uses, no different than private property owners.

Some government-owned property is public space, and some is not.

Like private property, government-owned land titles may be valid if there are no better competing claims

The problem is the ongoing ownership by a government taxing and initiating force.

The government needs to go away, not the land titles.

Divestiture of Government Property

Why Divest Government Property?

Property ownership forms part of the basis for the state’s power and perceived legitimacy.

Government-owned roads, parks, beaches, etc. are amenities that entice people to support government and taxation. Bread and circuses.

Less justification for eminent domain. Government doesn’t need to take land to build roads if it doesn’t build roads.

Governments collect taxes to build infrastructure, spend taxes blowing up infrastructure in other countries.

Private landownership is the basis for a voluntary society governed by rules of private landowners.

Levels of authority: Landowners’ rules, deed restrictions, social standards, universal morals (NAP)

Municipal police exist largely in part to patrol municipal property. Private security becomes much more viable and logical without government property.

Property divestiture to public forms of ownership (i.e. voucher privatization) could be a windfall endowment to the poor.

How should government property be divested?

Abandonment (to be re-homesteaded)

Only valid for unused land

Restitution to taxpayers (Hoppe)

What’s so special about taxpayers?

What about government’s other victims?

Arbitrary allocation

Politically impossible – giving more property to the rich

Seizure by revolutionaries

In the absence of a valid competing land claim, forceful taking would create an invalid title. Subject to invalidation in future.Revolutionary overthrow of government would just create another governmental owner. Transfer from government to government, not divestiture.

Spin off government departments as private organizations

Highway Department becomes Highway Association / Highway Corporation

Risk of monopoly

Risk of bankruptcy

Who owns the spin-off?

“Opt-in” Trusts

Anyone, anywhere can opt-in to create a share

Preferred shares for people who invest money in improvements

Profits or other benefits for preferred shares

Normal shares can vote but can’t receive profits (Safeguard against losing public use to wealthy cabal)

Preserving Access Rights to Public Space

The purchaser draws boundaries, fences himself in, and says, ‘This is mine; each one by himself, each one for himself.’ Here, then, is a piece of land upon which, henceforth, no one has right to step, save the proprietor and his friends; which can benefit nobody, save the proprietor and his servants.

“Let these multiply, and soon the people … will have nowhere to rest, no place of shelter, no ground to till. They will die of hunger at the proprietor’s door, on the edge of that property which was their birth-right; and the proprietor, watching them die, will exclaim, ‘So perish idlers and vagrants.’” – Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Existing public use of government-owned roads, parks, plazas, etc. has been “homesteaded”

Divestiture of public space to private entities should not allow them to restrict access

Reasonable access restrictions, consistent with existing restrictions

Traffic laws

Fees for use

Hours of operation

Behavioral / safety restrictions

Means of Enforcing Public Access

Public Ownership

Opt-in Trust – Public can join as owners and vote shares to maintain public access

Public access could be removed with broad consensus

Trust Ownership

Declaration of Trust could define purpose of land ownership trust as preserving public space.

Limit powers of trust to remove land from public access

Deed Covenants

Before divesting, governments could establish deed covenants and easements that define public access rights, responsibilities, and restrictions

Summary of Private Ownership of Public Space

Existing land titles not in dispute should be respected

Government property should be divested to private ownership

Public forms of private ownership (i.e. Opt-in Trusts) may be most viable

Public access to existing government property should be preserved by legal right

Post-State Cities

Public space freed from the tragedy of the commons

Private ownership can bring market efficiency, value discovery, and accountability to public space

Enhancement of green spaces and urban plazas

Reduction of road congestion and traffic accidents

Provision of appropriate parking

Efficacy of mass transit

Mitigation of unsustainable sprawl

With or without a state, the thoughtful divestiture of state property to private owners could enrich our cities and towns with a flourishing of public space.


Free State Project | Liberty in Our Lifetime

Porcfest – The Porcupine Freedom Festival

Adra Architecture – Tim’s new Architecture Firm

Dale Brown (Detroit Threat Management Center) on The Tom Woods Show

School Sucks Project

Steve Patterson on Quantum Mechanics (Soon to be corrected)

Signs – Five Man Electrical Band

I Claim This Chest in the Name of Spain!

Dennis Hope – Selling the Moon

Stephan Kinsella – Land Claims are Relative

Hoppe – Divest to the Taxpayers – Near the end of the article. See also the Kinsella link above for a reference to Hoppe’s position.

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