The following letters have been sent to various newspapers. They are examples of applied socionomics. If you write a letter and think it is appropriate for this page, please send it to the Tucson Center by email in care of Dave Ferguson at Selected letters will then be published at this web site. When you write your letter, indicate to the editor that it may appear at the Tucson Center web site and we encourage you to mention the URL at that time and in the letter itself. The TCSR internet address is Thank you.

Letter Number: 1Author: David R. FergusonDate: July 25,1997
Topic: Drug WarsSent to: New York Times
The Drug War is another symptom of a society with a less than optimum socio-moral system. As a socionomist, I would like to suggest that the highest and best socio-moral system heretofore conceived is based on natural law and the deduction of natural rights. John Locke established the basis for this system. Thomas Jefferson was the greatest practitioner, and Murray Rothbard wrote the clearest exposition of the resulting legal philosophy in his book (now out of print), The Ethics of Liberty. Socio-moral systems evolve and are not based on rational analysis. The results,however, are predictable given sufficient understanding.

Letter Number: 2Author: David R. FergusonDate: August 8, 1997
Topic: Equal Housing Opportunity Sent to: The Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio
I am writing in reference to the article entitled "Rejected renters to get $100,000 and apology" by Chrissy Kadleck in the August 1, 1997 edition of The Chronicle Telegram. First to summarize the facts as I understand them:
  1. Lance Stehman is the legal and just owner of an apartment building.
  2. Dionise Barnett came to rent an apartment and was turned down by the rental agent because she had two children and the apartments were intended for adults only.
  3. Barnett, with the assistance of the Urban League and Avery Friedman, sued Stehman for the act of non-rental committed by the agent.
  4. Stehman agreed to settle prior to a final court decision.
  5. Stehman agreed to :
    1. send a written apology,
    2. uphold the requirements of the Fair Housing Act in the future,
    3. maintain records available for review by the Urban League for two years,
    4. attend a fair housing education program along with employeees and agents,and
    5. pay $100,000 to the parties involved.
It was "unclear" to the reporter how this money would be divided. As a socionomist(one who studies social order and development), I would like to point out the meaning of the word "OWN" according to natural rights legal philosophy. It means you have the right to use some particular object and you have the right to deny use to others unless they meet your conditions such as the payment of a sum of money. But, and this is important, it is up to the owner to decide whether to accept the offer or not. Does Stehman "own" the apartment building? Apparently not. Part of his ownership rights has been transferred to "society". The problem with a socio-moral system that accepts the concept of positive rights(rights TO something), is where does it stop. Race? Color? National Origin? Gender? With Children? Physical and Mental Disabilities? What's Next? The owner becomes a small cog in a giant machine designed to make society work better. But does it? In this case the Barnetts decided not to rent the apartment and moved back to Toledo ($100,000 richer minus the cut that goes to Mr. Friedman and the Urban League). And what if they had moved in? What about the "rights" of the other renters to live in a quieter adult apartment complex? Finally, what is the logical distinction between requiring that this family be allowed to rent a particular apartment and requiring that they be allowed to sleep overnight in the apartment owner's house if they were,say, too poor to afford lodging. The latter is, of course, not legally required. Do you think it should be? If not, why not? (For those who are interested, the Socionomics internet address is

Letter Number: 3Author: David R. FergusonDate: August 23, 1997
Topic: Medical Marijuana Sent to: Albuquerque Journal, Aubuquerque, NM.
I support the legal use of medical marijuana as part of a socio-moral system of harmony and order called natural law and natural rights. As a socionomist (one who studies social order and development), I have concluded that peace and prosperity are best served by a system of laws that are based on the only two crimes (and their variations) that are universally recognized. These crimes are assault(harm to another person) and theft(harm to another's property). I do not think that the medical use of marijuana falls into either of these categories and therefore it should be legal. We must always remember that there is a difference between what we should have a right to do and what is right to do. The former is a social decision but the latter is a personal one. For more information on Socionomics, please visit our website at

Letter Number: 4Author: David R. FergusonDate: September 16, 1997
Topic: Jury Nullification Sent to: Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Co
I am writing in regard to the Laura Kriho case. Here we have a juror fined $1200 for not revealing to the judge her knowledge of the concept of jury nullification. This is the idea that jurors may judge not only the facts in a case but also the law itself and the circumstances. Judges prefer that jurors who understand this not be allowed to serve. I know because I was dismissed from jury duty because I informed a judge that I was "fully-informed". The question is: Does this procedure help or hinder the pursuit of justice in our society. As a socionomist(one who studies the principles of social harmony, order, and development), it is my opinion that on balance it is harmful. Natural rights are best preserved by appeal to the conscience( tempered by reason) of individuals and not to the collective decision making process, which is subject to control by small groups and application by specialists called lawyers, bureaucrats, and politicians. I do not believe that jury nullification will lead to social breakdown even though some decisions may be arbitrary or capricious. The alternative is to have even more unjust decisions made by the power structure and this WILL ultimately lead to a further loss of freedom and justice for all. Jury nullification is a safety valve which functions to ease the transition, or evolution, from bad laws to good laws in a "fully-informed" democracy. For more information on the study of Socionomics, please visit the Tucson Center for Socionomic Research at

Letter Number: 5Author: David R. FergusonDate: Oct 6, 1997
Topic: Licenses And Other Permissions Sent to: The Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio
I am writing this letter in regard to the article entitled Black hair braiders sue state in the Friday, Oct. 3rd edition of The Chronicle Telegram. Here are the facts:
  • Cheryll Hosey wants to braid hair for a fee.
  • The State requires that Ms. Hosey obtain a license in order to legally pursue her trade.
  • Only Michigan and Maryland "allow" hair braiders to operate without a license.
  • The Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit to obtain the permission of the State for Ms. Hosey to legally braid hair without first obtaining a license.
As a socionomist (one who studies the principles of social harmony, order, and development), I must argue on the side of Ms. Hosey. She has a natural right to braid hair for a fee. Once we accept the principle that the State has the power to grant us permission to do anything, then they have the power to grant us permission to do everything. It's not just a joke these days when people say that if it's not prohibited then it must be mandatory. From owning guns to selling beer to building a house on "wetlands", everyone has to ask permission to do perhaps the majority of things we do. The only "natural" constraint on activities is that you are not permitted to violate the equal natural rights of fellow citizens. If you do, then you have committed a crime and are then subject to the consequences of the justice system. That means, in effect, that you cannot assault or harm another person or their property. You can braid hair without knowing what you are doing but you probably won't have many customers for very long. Beyond these basic limitations you are free to act in accordance with your conscience subject to the moral judgment of your peers. We live in a society that is controlled by professsional politicians who arbitrarily grant us this right or that right and then stand back and let us fight it out to see which one of us will be granted or denied the next favor. Is this the only way to organize society or is there a better way? To learn more about Socionomics, please visit the Tucson Center for Socionomic Research at