how ending the drug war will help reset America's moral compass
n chapter 7 of "Who Rules the World?", Noam Chomsky shows how the Magna Carta is being rejected today by Americans thanks to the war on terror.
In 2011, President Obama targeted an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, for assassination, without the pretense of due process, but rather merely based on a "determination" made in the Oval Office. So much for habeas corpus. No wonder the US can't plausibly chastise Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for killing "drug users": if we can kill an American citizen based on White House discussions, why can't Rodrigo kill his own people after a quick strategy huddle in the Malacañang Palace? Chomsky goes on to show how free trade agreements are further eroding the Magna Carta by giving fabulously wealthy corporations the right to sue foreign countries which are attempting to protect their own natural resources. Pacific Rim was a Canadian company but they incorporated in the US in order to acquire "rights" under the Central American Free Trade Agreement-- the right, that is, to sue El Salvador over its attempts to prevent environmental damage to its own countryside. So much for the Magna Carta's "charter of the forest," which insisted that the commons was for the benefit of the public at large, not for private industry.
El Salvador won the lengthy court case in 2017, but during this same time, the Congo was experiencing the bloodiest conflict since World War II, with over 5.4 million killed and raped, a conflict financed by the combatants' sale of mining rights to the western companies that make our cell phones. This is another symptom of the decline of Magna Carta, the very fact that corporations can ignore their moral culpability in the public commons under the theory that they are simply following the dictates of the market, which seems to be a kind of modern-day Nuremberg Defense. The Nazis were just following orders, the corporations are just following market dictates. If corporations are "people" as the 1% would have it, then surely they should be required to have a conscience. If I, as an American freelancer, could somehow double my profits by providing my services to probable rapists and murderers, I would hopefully have the moral backbone to decline that chance for a windfall, rather than simply insisting on my a priori need to follow market dictates. Or is it America's Manifest Destiny to have cell phones, regardless of how many deaths this entails?
Considerations like these cause Chomsky to conclude that: "If the [Magna Carta's] fall from grace continues on this path over the next few years, the future of rights and liberties looks dim."
But there is hope. There is a way to combat this sense that government and corporations can be free to act amorally, as long as they seem to cater to the needs of the moment, or the decade (even if many of those needs are manufactured by Wall Street).
The hope lies in drug use: namely, the strategic use of those godsend medicines that have inspired entire religions: coca, opium, psychedelics, (and perhaps hundreds of other psychoactive medicines which the government has mysteriously declared a priori to have no rational uses whatsoever, not now, not ever, not anywhere). By using drugs that expand our mind's ability to see the world in new ways, we are (to some extent) inoculated against the self-interested lies of Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Seen in this light, it is little wonder that the Drug War has such staying power, for the use of mind-expanding drugs can help us see behind the curtain where the pint-sized Wizard is frantically pulling the levers of his propaganda machine.
Even those drug users who lack the background education to see through this mist of lies will at last be able to FEEL that there's something wrong with American policy. What Ecstasy user, glorying in the oneness of the world, is going to "sign off" on state-ordered assassinations or the acquisition of high-tech minerals from mines controlled by mass rapists and mass murderers?
We are at a turning point now in America: on the one hand, you have states like Oregon, which have decriminalized all drugs -- on the other hand, you have the Trumps of the world, who can't wait for the next election so that they can start executing "drug dealers."
Talk about a house divided against itself.
America is both Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
Assuming that Jekyll wins, however, there is hope that the advised use of entheogens and empathogens will reset America's moral compass, which has gone haywire in proportion as Americans have renounced their belief in the moral touchstone that they once referred to as God. Indeed, the regular use by the American people of substances that "bring us all together" cannot help but conduce to a moral rebirth, one in which we feel compelled to reaffirm the hard-earned rights of the individual that are being so glibly usurped today by both government and big business.
You shot, you scored, dude. I would just add that, when Brian refers to ending the Drug War, he is referring to the legalization (or rather re-legalization) of all psychoactive substances, since it's been so palpably proven over the last 100+ years that the criminalization of the same leads to inner-city deaths, civil wars overseas, the sale of super-addictive drugs, the pharmacological ignorance of the user, the creation of heavily armed cartels and gangs, etc, while giving America cover to intervene in South America at will, not to save it from drugs, of course, but to save it from any social system that does not countenance unbridled capitalism.
Say what you will about the motives for the Drug War (which were clearly both consciously and unconsciously racist), but that war has done far worse than fail. It is not even a Pyrrhic victory, but rather a Pyrrhic failure. It was a war that caused all of the problems that it purported to solve, and then some.
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That's it, pull over to the side of the Web page. No, put your driver's license back in your wallet. I just stopped you to remind you that Brian is not a Chomsky head. Brian's only now rummaging through the octogenarian pundit's musings and he (Brian) will let you know when he finds something that doesn't comport with reason. That said, let's remember why Brian "went there" in the first place, why he started reading Chomsky after a lifetime of assuming that the guy was beyond the pale. He did so because the Drug War has convinced him that the entire world can be profoundly wrong on major issues -- and if the mainstream American view is so deeply flawed when it comes to "drugs," Brian had to ask himself, "what other seemingly common sense views in America do not actually stand up to rigorous philosophical analysis?"
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You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press