Originally Posted by Helo
Public property is exactly what the name says; property that is owned by the public. It may be actively cared for by a government or other organization but the actual owners of the property are considered to be the public. Sidewalks are an example of this.
Do you mean to imply that, because it belongs to the public, any individual member of the public has the right to do whatever she or he wants to it?
That just isn't so.
Public ownership is collective, not individual. Decisions about public property are to be made by the public as a whole, by the lawful representatives of the public, or by whatever other authority is entrusted with making decisions on behalf of the public.
If the public or its lawful representatives makes some provision for graffiti or street art on public property, then it would be legitimate. Random individuals do not have legitimate authority to make decisions on behalf of the public as a whole.
But, then, the whole point of graffiti is to defy authority, to be lawless, right? In that case, public authorities are certainly justified in taking action against it.
(Sorry, I sometimes teach courses in political philosophy, and I tend to get all Rousseauvian on questions like this . . .)