How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Drug War
by Ballard Quass
It all started in 1914 when bigoted politicians decided that lower-class Americans could not be trusted to use opium wisely. Suddenly Mother Nature went from being a gift-giving goddess to a common drug kingpin. Enter Richard Nixon in the sixties, who decided to further blaspheme Mother Nature by criminalizing a host of additional psychoactive substances that happened to be used by his political enemies.
It's always disappointed me that Americans have thus far hobbled together so little pushback against this denial of a birthright, this outlawing of the freely given gifts of Mother Nature, this unprecedented coup against the therapeutic goddess of humanity. The government took away our right to control our own pain and to control our own psychic condition and Americans seem to have merely sighed, asking their government, "Okay, so you want me to give up my natural birthright? Fair enough. Oh, and you want me to urinate on command to prove that I am faithful to my government? No problemo. Gee, isn't democracy just swell?"
Nowadays, when the DEA asks us to jump, American's simply say "How high?"
For just one obvious example, browse some mycology pages online. You'll find that many mushroom hunters (professionals and hobbyists alike) want it to be known that they will have nothing to do with psychedelic mushrooms that they happen to come across. "Look at me," they seem to say, "I'm a professional mushroom hunter who is obediently ignoring the most interesting part of Mother Nature at the behest of the U.S. government. So don't expect me to write anything about your tawdry psychedelic shrooms!" Far from screaming bloody murder about their unprecedented loss of human rights, their forced separation from Mother Nature's bounty, many online mycologists pride themselves in pointing out that they study only those plants that their government will allow them to study. Thus they recast their own political timidity as patriotism.
But America's response to this usurpation has been even worse than that. We have rewritten history so that we do not have to confront the fact that we have criminalized Mother Nature in the first place. This can be seen by any regular viewer of the Great Courses program, a collection of videos presenting college courses taught by some of the most popular professors in the world.
Although I am a regular viewer of the Teaching Company's courses, I've yet to see one of their history professors so much as acknowledge the fact that the game-changing Elusinian mysteries of ancient Greece involved the use of a naturally occurring psychoactive substance similar to LSD. I've yet to see one of their biology professors allude to the psychoactive power of mushrooms. I've yet to see one of their anthropologists discuss the crucial role of natural psychedelic medicines in early South American ritual. Nor have I ever seen one of their political science professors ever mention the infamous DEA raid on Monticello in discussing the political legacy of Thomas Jefferson.
I guess this makes sense. It would be too painful for a supposedly free people to remember what we've given up, so we have rewritten history to help us pretend that Mother Nature's pharmacy was never particularly useful to us in the first place. "Humph! Mother Nature: who needs her? Let the government and Big Pharma decide what I need - and when - and at what price, too."
The good news is: modern research is showing us today how so many of the natural substances that our politicians have outlawed are proving to be godsends in therapeutic settings. My hope is that the penny will eventually drop and we'll draw the obvious conclusion from this research, namely that no naturally occurring plant is bad in and of itself, and that, as Terence McKenna once said, it is "ridiculous and obnoxious" to criminalize the freely offered medicines of Mother Nature. Perhaps someday we'll learn the ultimate lesson from today's anti-patient drug war: that it is both scientifically stupid and a violation of basic human rights to turn Mother Nature into a drug kingpin.
Bone up on slam-dunk arguments against the drug war, starting with the fact that it was a violation of natural law to outlaw plant medicine in the first place. Check out
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for fun ways to learn more about the manifold injustice of the status quo, including many knock-down arguments never made before. Why? Because even the majority of drug-war opponents have been bamboozled by one or more of the absurd assumptions upon which that war is premised. See through the haze. Read on. Listen on. And Learn how tryants and worrywarts have despoiled American freedom, thereby killing millions around the world, totally unnecessarily, ever since the fateful day in 1914 when ignorant America first criminalized a mere plant -- and insisted that the rest of the world follow suit or else -- an act of colonialist folly unrivaled since the days of the genocidal Conquistadors.