Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 393, November 12, 2006

"Knowin' history's the KEY t'keepin' a FREE country."—Lucy Kropotkin

Letters to the Editor

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Letter from Donald Meinshausen

Letters from E.J. Totty and Ward Griffiths

Letter from Chris Claypoole


This is Don's friend Carol writing for him while he is in prison.

He would love to hear from you all.

Write to:

Don Meinhausen
Inmate #08996-050
FCI Fort Dix
Ft Dix, NJ 08640

Please send articles about current events of interest, especially from a libertarian perspective.

Also, if you would like to help him and transcribe and email out some of his writings to various libertarian lists, do write him!! He'd appreciate it.

If you want to send him some money for personal toiletries etc., since he makes so little at his job, ask him the best way to do that. I know they recently changed the procedure but have not been able to find out how though it should be somewhere on (Bureau of Prisons site)

Also if your mail ever comes back to you because they say they have moved him, there is an Inmate Locater on

Donald Meinshausen

My dear Ward,

Re.: "Letter from Ward Griffiths"

It is incumbent upon yourself, to realize that whenever you remark of a 'tax' upon whatever, you must realize that whatever percent you might happen to decide, there will be those among us who will thence commence to dissemble endlessly.

Ergo, there can never be any such thing as a tax by whatever percentage.

The only valid tax upon our meager exchange of wealth, is that which we might personally levy upon our own selves, and even that might be declaimed as instituted slavery.

But at least, if we tax ourselves, we do so for our own purposes.

And, yes, I understand the thrust of your argument. It's just that whenever someone remarks of 'percentages,' well, I go off the deep end.

As one Libertarian, to another, let me just state that you must use words with precision.

For if you do not, you may become a prisoner of your own words.

E.J. Totty

To which Ward Griffiths replied:

Actually, I thought "zero percent" was as precise as I could put it. What wording do you suggest instead?

Ward Griffiths

To which E.J. Totty replied:


Well, you must remember, that your own words may be used against everything you happen to stand for.

So, again, you must never ever mention the idea of anything hinting of whatever portion of another's wealth, lest you connive to deceive.

I live my life in peace, not ever having any other's wealth in mind.

So, while you might say 'zero,' there are others who will increase that zero to infinity.

Ergo, there can never be a 'zero' percent, not ever.

E.J. Totty

Re: "Winners and Losers", by Lady Liberty

I would like to agree with Lady Liberty's story of the football players she watched, and the anti-social behavior they and their fans displayed. I've seen the same type of behavior in many high school sports even here in Maryland, where the sports are taken far less seriously than in other parts of the country. What is worse, I've seen some (admittedly just a little) in my daughter's soccer games. When she played in a recreation league travel team, some of their opponents from a county to the east of ours had a well-deserved reputation for rough play. One team in particular had what could be called an enforcer. She would regularly push other teams' players roughly, using her larger size (about a third larger than the most of the other girls). Some referees (especially those from that county) would not yellow-card her until someone got hurt. By the way, these were 10 to 12-year-olds.

The coach verbally encouraged her and the rest of the team, which also played roughly, depending on shoving rather than ball skills. I was told that the games in that county were usually played like that - element of rugby or American football injected into an Under 13 girls soccer league. And the parents were just as raucous, yelling things that would have eventually drawn a penalty in our county.

And I definitely agree with her conclusion, that people like that will gravitate to positions of authority in order to abuse that power. As Hayek pointed out in The Road To Serfdom, positions in which power resides will always eventually be occupied by those who are willing or eager to wield that power.

I will disagree a little with Jonathan David Morris. Pre-election and exit polls have a well-documented history of inaccuracy, based largely on sampling errors. The exit polls taken in the 2004 presidential election had such a sampling error—far too many of those polled were from heavily Democratic districts and/or were predominately young people, who were more likely to be Kerry voters than Bushites. The reports I saw and read tried to put the blame on youthful and inexperienced pollsters, or on people with an "agenda." And the initial results certainly fit in with the desires of most of the television media. By the way, I do not believe some of theconspiracyy types on the right that think this exit poll reporting was an attempt to depress the Republican vote. It just happened. (Never attribute to malice what is more easily explained by stupidity.)

So, in a way, the polls are based on lies in many cases. Pre-election, it can be over-sampling one party over another, polling "registered voters" rather than "likely voters" and asking leading questions. And, yes, some of those being polled do lie to the pollsters, as some people will tell a caller what they think the pollster wants to hear. Every election I can remember in my 55 years has had the poll percentages tighten significantly as the election nears. Even among Democratic primary races here in Maryland (often more important than the general election, with registration 2-to-1), the election results were as much as 10 points off from pre-election polls. Were those polled lying? Was there a fix in? Or was it just that people are not as predictable as the pollsters and politicians (and behavioral psychologists) believe they are? Sure, some so-called push polls try to influence how people perceive an upcoming election, but I think that mostly it is that the sampling error is far larger than pollsters like to report. Polling is not like counting the cows in a herd moving through the gate to the slaughterhouse, even if the end result is similar.

Chris Claypoole

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