How Logic-Challenged Journalists Support the Drug War
by Ballard Quass
When Leah Betts died after ingesting a single Ecstasy tablet in 1995, the media trumpeted the triumphant news (from a Drug Warrior perspective at least) that an actual death had finally been attributed to E. At last! You could almost hear a sigh of relief from Drug Warriors around the world: now they could finally plausibly call for a crack down on a drug that so far had caused nothing but peace, love and understanding on the rave dance floor. The fact that aspirin causes 3,000 deaths a year in the UK was never mentioned, of course. Nor the fact that safe guidelines for Ecstasy use were discouraged because of prohibition which limited researchers' ability to even develop such guidelines. But that's no problem for the modern Drug Warrior. During a Drug War, it only takes one death to torpedo a drug's reputation thanks to the childish logic employed by the Drug Warrior and Drug Warriors were never going to let the world forget this one glaring exception to the rule when it came to Ecstasy use.
But to say that E killed Leah was like saying that a bicycle killed the victim of a bike accident. It misses the point entirely. It turns the drug ecstasy into a scapegoat and boogieman, thereby allowing logic-challenged Drug Warriors to ignore the real cause of Leah's death: namely, the above-mentioned fact that proper safe use guidelines could not be developed for the drug thanks to the Drug War itself.
How does the media get away with this biased drug-related coverage, with this failure to put deaths like Leah's into some kind of sane perspective, pharmacologically speaking? They get away with it because their drug-related articles are informed by the drug-warrior belief that illegal psychoactive substances can only be used for getting "high" in the most frivolous and irresponsible sense of that word, that there is no sensible reason for using such substances. "Drugs like E have no sane use," they believe, "therefore even one death from using them is one too many."
But their premise is false, both psychologically and historically speaking. Historically speaking, entheogenic drugs like E have been the inspiration for founding entire religions (as the Vedic religion was inspired by soma). From a psychological viewpoint, such substances, at a bare minimum, give the user a break from reality, which is precisely the therapeutic benefit that the punter seeks in hitting up the local pub. Meanwhile, the use of Ecstasy by a group conduces to harmonious crowds full of dancers who actually care for each other in spite of racial and ethnic differences, whereas the collective guzzling of beer often leads to violent brawls and the surfacing of vestigial racism in the inebriates.
No sane use for E? Um, hello? It brings about peace, love and understanding. Isn't that good enough for you?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Drug warriors are not interested in peace, love and understanding any more than they are interested in allowing the kind of research that could have resulted in guidelines that would have prevented Leah's death in the first place. The Drug Warrior is all about demonizing substances in a way that no cultures have ever done before (before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 first effectively outlawed a plant in violation of the natural law upon which Jefferson founded America), and if they have to ignore reality to do that, so be it.
It is my hope that essays like this will encourage logic-savvy journalists to fight back against this ideological demonization of amoral substances by putting "drug-related deaths" in perspective in their media coverage, by refusing to adopt the Drug Warrior prejudices mentioned above, especially the absurd notion that psychoactive substances can cause only evil once they have been criminalized by scheming politicians.
Perhaps the greatest change in this regard is needed in the obit section, for the Drug Warrior has a ghoulish love for autopsies of famous people, especially of those who die an early death. Drug warriors are always rooting for the coroner to discover some outlawed drug in the system of such celebrities. Why? Because if an outlawed drug is found, they know that the mere reporting of that fact in the media will read (in a Drug War society like our own) as an implicit argument in favor of the Drug War and the need for a still greater crackdown on illicit substances. No need to definitively link the drug to the death. The autopsy need only associate a proscribed substance with a death and the public (already well primed by Drug Warrior lies and propaganda) will draw the "right" (albeit illogical) conclusion: namely, that drugs are horrible in and of themselves, once they've been outlawed by politicians.
Drug Warriors therefore want to parlay each premature celebrity death into first-class Drug War propaganda, and the media typically abets them in doing this by implicitly accepting the chop logic mentioned above, failing to mention in their outraged articles (with Drug War-friendly headlines such as "E Kills Leah Betts!") that the two main dangers of illegal drug use are both results of the Drug War itself: first, the lack of available safety information about the drugs in question (caused by a drug-war crackdown on research of those substances), and second, the inability to access a safe and unadulterated product (caused by the drug-war prohibition which puts drug sales in the hands of profit-driven criminals, whose financial interest lies in diluting their product with god-knows-what look-alike replacements for the desired product).
Before journalists write one more logically challenged article about the evil of drugs, they may wish to reflect on the following inconvenient historical truths viz today's Drug War ideology:
There was no Drug War in Ancient Egypt. There was no Drug War in Ancient Mesopotamia. There was no Drug War in Ancient Greece. There was no Drug War in Ancient Persia. There was no Drug War in Ancient Rome. There was no Drug War in the Mongol Empire. There was no Drug War in the Viking Age.
Why not? Because until the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, people were judged by the way that they actually behaved and not by what substances they had in their digestive systems. Likewise, before 1914, there was no such thing as a bad substance - only substances that could be bad or good depending on the precise circumstances of their use, for the intelligent of all literate ages have understood that even salt could be deadly at high doses. In other words, substances never kill anyone: all substance-related deaths are caused by people, whether by dealers providing tainted product or by Drug Warriors failing to provide users with objective education about the pros and cons of all psychoactive substances - all substances, including Big Pharma meds, tobacco and alcohol -- whether those substances have been previously demonized by racist politicians or not.
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.