September 18, 2020
Dirty Minded Drug Warriorsby Ballard Quass
A 1988 court ruling gave Native Americans the right to use peyote in worship. Native Americans only, mind, not Caucasians, nor African-Americans, nor Hispanics, nor Jews. Why not? (Wait for it, folks...) Because these latter groups do not have a history of religious peyote use.
Huh? Elizabeth, I'm comin' to join ya!
And so absurd social policy like the Drug War leads to more absurd policy in the exact same way that a lie leads to more lies. Only imagine: a court telling you that you cannot engage in a religious practice because your ancestors never found it necessary to do so. Pope Leo X should have rolled out a papal bull to that effect back in 1521 and he could have forestalled the entire Reformation. "Sorry, Martin Luther, but your descendants have no history of being saved by grace, so you must continue to find your salvation in DEEDS just like the rest of us, thank you very much."
The Conquistadores certainly never required that the Aztecs demonstrate a family history of Christian worship before welcoming them into the faith. To the contrary, the Spanish warriors downright insisted on the heathens becoming Christian or else.
This, of course, is all par for the tyrannical course.
The surprising part of this story is that many Native Americans agree with the judicial ruling mentioned above (though not necessarily with the "reasoning" behind it), contending that non-native Americans do not have the correct mind set to use peyote with due reverence.
Now, I loathe both the court ruling and the racial prejudice that informs it, and yet the Native Americans in question have a valid and a very telling point.
Non-native Americans are like little children when it comes to "drugs." They have been taught to consider the use of Mother Nature's psychoactive medicines as prima facie evidence of hedonism and "getting high." And so when they see a Native American using a "drug" for religious purposes, the non-native is kind of like a little kid in an art museum pointing at the statue of David and saying: "Aww, he's nekkid, dude!" - only in our case, the childish little kid is saying: "Aww! He's getting high, dude!! Tee-hee-hee!"
I encounter this childish attitude when a fellow Caucasian finds out inadvertently that I'm publishing a website called "Abolish the DEA dot com." Their verbal response itself is usually perfunctory, as in, "Oh, uh-uh," and yet they speak in a kind of awed and conspiratorial voice, as if to tell me: "Oh, yeah, dude, drugs! You're all about partying hearty and gettin' it on! I gotcha! Wink, wink, wink!"
And I'm thinking to myself: "No, dude. I am all about the restoration of natural law, the re-legalization of plants, and the overthrow of America's State Religion, i.e. Christian Science."
But America is under the spell of Drug War propaganda which insists that Mother Nature's psychoactive plant medicines can only be used for "getting high." And that mindset is constantly re-enforced by books, magazines, news, TV shows, and movies, all of which studiously ban the positive depiction of illegal "drug use" and simply remove from the history books any references to, say, Freud's use of cocaine, or Benjamin Franklin's use of opium, or Plato's use of psychedelics in the Eleusinian Mysteries. (Of course, JFK's use of "speed," as Monty Python would put it, is "right out.")
This propaganda of omission has turned Americans into little children with respect to psychoactive substances, and in two ways:
First, by convincing us that we could never possibly learn to use such substances wisely, that we are children for life as far as that is concerned; and second, by convincing us that banned psychoactive substances can only be used for naughty purposes.
If the latter proposition is true, then we non-natives can, indeed, only sit back and snicker at the profound ceremonies of the First Americans, thinking to ourselves, "Religion, indeed! Ha ha!"
In short, we are dirty minded, just like the child tittering foolishly in front of Michelangelo's masterpiece.
Given this state of affairs, one can almost say that the judicial ruling mentioned above was actually right, though certainly not for the absurd reasons that were adduced by the blatantly racist judge in the case. Non-natives cannot be allowed to use peyote in religious ceremonies. Why not? Because they are simply too immature to do so reverently. Drug War propaganda has seen to that.
PS Of course, there's an even bigger threat to the respectful use of sacred substances such as peyote, and that is capitalism itself. If non-natives can use peyote, then the substance could presumably be marketed freely, in which case irreverent advertising would not be far behind. But that's a topic for another essay.