February 19, 2020
Calling All Philosophersby Ballard Quass
Stop counting angels on a pin and speak up against the drug war
Stephen Hawking said that philosophy is dead. I beg to differ. It may appear to be dead, but that is only because it has been hiding its head in the sand, ostrich-like, ever since the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. That was when Congress first set the illogical and unconstitutional precedent of criminalizing plants, which had hitherto been considered our birth right as mere Earthlings under natural law. Since then, the Drug War and its anti-scientific laws have thrived in the hands of tyrants based on a propaganda campaign of sloppy logic, superstitious metaphysics and linguistic equivocation, all designed to make us look upon Mother Nature as a drug kingpin rather than as our medical benefactor and the source of countless therapeutic godsends. In other words, the "Drug War" is the philosophical problem par excellence of our time for it thrives on a series of misunderstandings and presumptions that only a true philosopher can hope to parse with nicety and expose in such a way as to make the need for reform obvious to the man or woman on the street - and thus to the man or woman in Congress.
That's one of the reasons that I've created this website, as an attempt to get the friends of liberty to start attacking the Drug War on philosophical grounds, rather than on the feeble grounds that the Drug War just does not work as advertised. Such latter arguments yield enormous ground to the Drug Warrior, implying that militarized tyranny, domestic surveillance, SWAT raids on unarmed citizens, foreign intervention and the suspension of natural law would be fine if only it cut down on the use of naturally occurring substances.
SWAT raids and domestic surveillance, in a supposedly democratic society, to cut down on the use of substances? And why exactly do we assume that it is good to cut back on the use of naturally occurring substances? That is a mere Christian Science prejudice, not a logical conclusion from any set of agreed-upon propositions. A Drug War critic who argues in this way may as well find another button-pushing injustice about which to opine, since the Drug War cannot be ousted by those who hastily grant all the false unspoken premises upon which it is founded.
If philosophers should read this, there's plenty of work to do, so let's not stand upon ceremony. "Grab a musket and get in rank," as my Jeffersonian ancestors used to say. Here are a few promising projects to fire your respective imaginations.
1) Elucidate the theological, political, and ideological links between the following events: The Drug War of modern times, Emperor Theodosius's 392 AC banning of the psychedelic Eleusinian Mysteries, and the Conquistadors' scorn for the plant-based psychedelic rites of MesoAmerican cultures.
2) Explain how modern employee "drug testing" is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science with respect to psychological healing.
3) Trace the modern antipathy to "substance use" to the distrust of witches and their use of psychoactive plant medicines.