Does The Sop Mandate Zero Agression Absolutism?

Arguments That It Doesn't

The 1972 Platform seems to explicitly admit the state's authority to use coercion. Its Statement of Principles said "the sole function of government is the protection of the rights of each individual", and the Property Rights plank says we "oppose restrictions upon the use of property which do not have as their sole end the protection of valid rights." This clearly leaves room for non-opposition to property restrictions — like minimal taxation to finance the courts, police, and national defense — aimed at protecting rights. Where the Statement of Principles said we "oppose all government interference with private property", the examples it listed were just "confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain" — noticeably excluding taxation. The only mention of force initiation in the SoP is "we support laws prohibiting the initiation of physical force against others" — language that doesn't necessarily say government should absolutely abstain from the minimal force initiation that might be needed to enforce such laws. "Eventual repeal of all taxation" was only mentioned in a plank titled "Long-Range Goals", and does not rule out the state maintaining a monopoly on retaliatory force (which itself could only be maintained using at least the threat of force initiation).

The SoP has always said that people "should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others." This suggests that the door was intentionally left open for taxation designed to finance essential benefits for the taxpayers themselves.

Against all this textual evidence, there is only a reference in the "Individual Rights and Civil Order" preamble to the "fundamental principle that no individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government". This can be interpreted as stating a general-but-not-absolute principle, or as merely trying to state the absolute principle that civil order requires no force initiation between individuals or between governments.

The 1974 Dallas Accord change to the 1972 SoP does not substantially affect the above analysis. The primary change was from

the sole function of government is the protection of the rights of each individual […]


where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual […]

The subsequent statement of those rights remained unchanged. If those rights did not include in 1972 the absolute right to never to never suffer force initiation by government for any reason, then they don't include it now.

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