Remember that Meyers is talking about C++ here, where there's a distinction in the `friendliness' of a function. He himself says that the choice is between non-member non-friend functions and member functions (i.e. methods). Friend functions have the same dependency on implementation changes as methods.
In Python, there is no such friend distinction, although you can come close to faking it with private names. So the argument based on degrees of encapsulation doesn't hold water in Python.
I disagree. While non-methods *can* look inside an implementation, it's still implied that they break encapsulation if they do. (This may explain why you like to use private names -- they make the encapsulation explicit. For me, it exists even when it is implicit.)
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)