March 3, 2020
Drug Warriors Fiddle while Rome Gets Nukedby Ballard Quass
If beer-swilling Drug Warriors are fidgety and want to dedicate themselves to a cause other than drug war colonialism and the overthrow of natural law in America, they might consider channelling their hypocritical hyperactivity toward the worthy goal of preventing nuclear winter. Readers familiar with Ellsberg's "Doomsday Machine" and Schlosser's "Command and Control" know that we are sitting on a time bomb thanks to the proliferation of thermonuclear weapons - weapons for which the Hiroshima A-bomb is simply a fuse.
Yet, somehow the big enemies today are all of Mother Nature's godsend plants. (Huh?)
In short, our priorities are about as wrong as they can be. We ignore one ginormous problem in order to focus on a problem of our own making: namely, the violence and unrest that naturally results from outlawing naturally occurring substances (not to mention the needless suffering of billions of mortals, forced to go without medicines that have emotionally solaced humanity for millennia).
Have you ever heard of the Damascus Incident, that nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated a third of the country? How about the nuclear bomb that landed on Goldsboro, North Carolina and miraculously failed to detonate?
An intelligent people would be grateful for these narrow escapes and demonstrate that gratitude by implementing major reforms, the exact same reforms that would have been demanded by an outraged public had either of these potential catastrophes actually taken place: reforms involving the end of nuclear proliferation with the goal of outlawing such weapons universally. If America needs to flex its muscles overseas, this would give it a chance to do so in a moral cause, rather than in the colonialist folly of telling other countries which plants they are allowed to consume.
Yet America's Congress and its military have conspired to hush up the fact that we are living on borrowed time. Meanwhile, they distract us with a Quixotic scheme to prevent the use of any plant substance that poses a threat to liquor distributors.
Ironically, I believe that nature's psychoactive plants, far from being our enemies, are the only hope for humankind. I know that a number of old-school psychedelic enthusiasts now consider themselves to have been naïve for positing that LSD and such could bring about world peace. But I say to them, not so fast. How can we pronounce on the merits of an enterprise that drug-law has thus far forbidden us to meaningfully undertake? That LSD is not an answer in itself I can readily grant. But there are thousands of psychoactive plants out there, many of which could (especially in the proper "set and setting") restore to the human creature the ability to feel deep empathy for its fellows.*
Far from banning such research, we should be fast-tracking and encouraging it, with a goal of nothing less than saving the human race from its own other-hating disposition.
For, given the dicey "situation on the ground" right now viz nukes, I believe our only real hope is to pharmacologically alter human beings such that they all feel a deep natural empathy for each other. And there is every reason to believe that plant medicines, wisely chosen and wisely employed, can go far in accomplishing this task. When a human being is sick, you give it medicine; likewise when an entire species is sick.
I ask those who demur to suggest a more promising strategy to get humanity out of this booby-trapped world that we've created for ourselves.
For me, at least, the cliché is proving itself to be true: "All you need is love." That's truly all the human species needs to survive. What we've failed to realize, however, is that this love is not optional. Without sincere inner love for each other, the human race's days are numbered. And anyone who thinks that this love can be brought about without the help of Mother Nature's medicines is even madder than the normal human crackpot. Nor is there any reason to reject the freely offered help of Mother Nature in this regard, unless, like the drug warrior, we have a Christian Science disdain for the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.
In which case, I ask the drug warrior to look at all of the trembling, inexperienced, lackadaisical and grumpy fingers on the nuclear trigger these days and ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do you, punk?
*Of course, you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Check out this article entitled "What Would Happen If Everyone Truly Believed Everything Is One," by Scott Barry Kaufman in Scientific American.
If I were a doctor and the world came to me asking to be cured of its suicidal tendencies, I would start by prescribing it MDMA (aka Ecstasy). That drug brought together all races in the UK in the late '80s to create the peaceful feel-good music scene known as the rave.
In the words of DJ Ray Keith:
It was the first time that black-and-white people had integrated on a level, they were all popping Es, and everybody was one.
Want to save the world from committing suicide through nuclear annihilation? Prescribe Ecstasy to be taken as needed -- to combat the human being's propensity to be a jerk toward his fellow human being.
Unfortunately, the drug war always ruins such things, as part of the following self-fulfilling prophecy:
Criminalization of drugs like Ecstasy makes it impossible to use those substances in the safest possible way, since even research on these substances is banned. Then when this anti-scientific situation results in a death (as when Leah Betts dies from hydration issues after taking E), the drug warriors use that as a reason to continue the drug war. Why? Because they have the drug warrior habit of blaming substances for problems rather than people, societies, and social attitudes.
The Brits at the time put up stark black billboards across the nation with the single word "Sorted" on it -- above a picture of Leah Betts as a happy-go-lucky grade schooler, beneath which in tiny print was a phrase stating that Leah had been killed by one single, solitary little E tablet. The message: the evil drug known as Ecstasy killed Leah Betts.
Nonsense. Ecstasy in this case was merely what Aristotle would call the Efficient cause of Leah's death, the cause which simply tells us how things happen but not why. The real reason for Leah's death, what Aristotle calls the Final cause, was the drug war itself. Why? Because it made it impossible to research the drug and provide information on its safe use. Instead, the drug war demonizes illegal substances, criminalizing their mere study, so that no basic safety information can be shared with users, information that in this case would have saved Leah's life.
MDMA is one of the least dangerous drugs in the world, when used properly -- but the drug war makes such substances impossible to use properly because no one is allowed to so much as study them (though happily in the case of MDMA, folks at MAPS and elsewhere have found ways around those prohibitions). Do a safety comparison between MDMA and liquor and you'll see the biggest shut-out in research history -- with liquor facilitating countless deaths compared to one or two anomalous deaths caused by MDMA, with all those latter deaths being easily avoidable in a world where drug safety information is encouraged, not suppressed.
And the result of this anti-scientific demonization? The drug of choice at raves switches from Ecstasy to crack cocaine and the ambience switches from peace and love to gangsters and gunfire. And so the UK's version of "The Summer of Love" was followed by a decade of hate and gun violence. And so the drug war is at it again, manufacturing violence out of whole cloth.
As rave security expert Adrian Saint observes:
And the problem then is... it's a different ambience. It's, all the gangsters come out. It turned from a lovely, "Ah, rave, everybody just cuddle," to actually now everyone's a gangster.
And all because of the absurd anti-scientific drug war that turns amoral substances into scapegoats for bad social policies, like the drug war itself: a policy that keeps us willfully ignorant about substances, under the absurd belief that drugs become pure evil the moment they are criminalized by politicians.