In the late 20th century, young Brits of every race and social class came together on the dance floor to party, not like it was 1999, but like it was 2099 instead, a time in the distant future when guns and anger had been put aside and people of the world had finally decided to unite. It was the so-called rave scene and America's cousins were resurrecting the ethos of peace, love and understanding from the ashes of '60s idealism in the States, complete with a uniquely British 'summer of Love' in 1988.
The mood of the time is nicely captured by a handful of quotes from the documentary "United Nation" by promoter Terry Stone:
"It was the first time that black-and-white people had integrated on a level... and everybody was one." -- DJ Ray Keith.
"It was black and white, Asian, Chinese, all up in one building," -- MC GQ.
"Everyone's loving each other, man, they're not hating." - DJ Mampi Swift.
In short, everybody just wanted to "cuddle," according to event security expert Adrian Saint.
What's not to like, right? Nonviolent concerts in which Brits come together in colorblind celebration of the drum-and-bass music genre.
You'd think that government would have been delighted to see the emergence of such a non-violent dance genre in our troubled world.
But to the contrary, they were appalled.
Because much of the camaraderie of the scene had been chemically encouraged with a little help of an illegal drug known as Ecstasy, E, or MDMA, which young people were "popping" at the scene. And this was a complete "non-starter" as far as government was concerned. Why? Because in the age of the Drug War, we do not judge people by how they behave (be they never so law-abiding) but rather by what chemical substances they happen to have in their digestive systems.
Thus Drug War ideology persuaded British parliamentarians to not simply take this new Camelot for granted, but to actively seek to shut it down, a goal that they nearly accomplished in 1994 with the passage of the so-called Criminal Justice Bill, which outlawed all non-licensed parties that featured repetitive dance music.
So far, so bad.
But the coup de grace to the peaceful rave scene was to come one year later, when, in 1995, teenage raver Leah Betts died after taking an E tablet at a rave party.
Of course, everyone immediately placed the blame for this death on E, since Drug War superstition holds that substances are responsible for evil, not government policies that lead to their misuse.
The fact is that Leah's death could have been easily avoided had Drug Warriors legalized E and allowed it to be objectively studied by researchers (only imagine: freeing up scientists to actually do their job!). In that case, Leah could have been told how to avoid the rare side effects of ecstasy by maintaining proper hydration during use (especially when like, Leah, you weigh a mere 100 pounds!). But no. Drug warrior society is so obsessed with demonizing this thing called "drugs," that they do everything they can to make informed use impossible when it comes to criminalized substances, either by banning research on this topic entirely or by tarnishing the reputations of scientists who dare to pursue such information, thereby also ensuring that would-be funders think twice before throwing any money behind such research goals.
And so stark billboards with a black background appeared across Britain, featuring the huge word "Sorted" to the left of a large black-and-white head shot of a smiling Leah Betts, with the caption: "Just one Ecstasy tablet took Leah Betts."
This billboard perfectly illustrates the Drug Warrior habit of confusing cause and effect. To say that the drug Ecstasy killed Leah is like saying that driving a car killed the victim of a traffic accident. In some sense it is true, but it is also beside the point. The real question in the latter case is: "what happened that allowed the victim to be killed while driving in a car?" The question in Leah's case is: "what happened that allowed the victim to be killed by taking Ecstasy?"
But that's an inconvenient question for government because to answer it would be to point the finger of blame at drug policy itself. So politicians bypass the question entirely by scapegoating the drug Ecstasy and shaking their hypocritical beer-guzzling heads about the terrible problem of teenage drug abuse. "Tsk tsk tsk!"
What a joke. It would be funny except for the fact that the otherwise laughable Drug War has been amassing a body count ever since the first outlawing of a plant medicine in 1914. The Drug War has not just killed one single British teenager, either, but kills hundreds around the world every single day through inner city gang violence and civil wars around the globe that have been created out of whole cloth by substance prohibition in previously peaceful countries. Britain would soon run out of billboards if it tried to put a face on all of these victims with roadside signage.
Unfortunately, Leah Betts was not the only victim of the UK's demonization of Ecstasy. The entire peace-and-love ethos of the rave culture disappeared shortly after her death, to be replaced with the violent gangster ethos, as dutifully propagandized Brits renounced Ecstasy in favor of anger-facilitating drugs like alcohol.
Needless to say, violence now spiked at rave parties, forcing promoters like Terry "Turbo" Smith of One Nation to hire whole teams of ex-special forces soldiers to keep the peace at concerts. But the government could apparently live with this new status quo, since the drugs being used now were far more objectionable to government than the hapless E tablet, whose main effect when used wisely was to bring about peace and understanding and make people want to cuddle in colorblind harmony with their music-loving fellows.
And so government drug policy not only killed Leah Betts, but it shut down the new British Camelot as well, replacing it with a new Wild West in which machine guns and AK-47's took the place of six-shooters and Winchester rifles. Worse yet, British politicians soon began pointing to this violence that they themselves had created as "proof" that the Drug War needs to continue.
If the British government wants to save the Leah Betts of the future, they will start "saying yes" to peace, love and understanding and applaud cultural phenomena such as the rave scene for facilitating that goal.
Until then, we have a new answer to the question posed by Rodney King, in the wake of the violent response to the mauling that he received from racist police officers in Los Angeles in 1991:
Q: Why can't we all just get along?
A: Because Drug Warriors won't allow us to.
AFTERTHOUGHTS: Growing up stateside, my school teachers would often favorably compare the education of British kids to that received by their American counterparts, and I was always tempted to believe them -- until, that is, the Drug War came along and showed me that the Brits will lap up Drug War propaganda just as eagerly as everyone else in the world. Just imagine: the British people can demonize a love-promoting chemical substance because it "caused" one death -- one death -- meanwhile considering the violence-provoking alcohol to be a bargain when it only causes thousands of deaths each year. What's more, the Ecstasy that they demonize would not have even caused the death in question had the Drug War not made it impossible to learn and spread accurate information about its use. The Drug War thus ensures that criminalized substances will be given damning PR, thereby seeming to "prove" that the Drug Warrior's fetishization of chemical substances actually makes sense, when in reality it represents the triumph of a new modern superstition, a superstition which holds that substances can be sufficiently characterized without regard for the context and social environment that surrounds their use.
May 9, 2022
The world has drugs exactly backward. The species Homo sapiens NEEDS mood medicine if the very world is to survive. It's hip these days to mock the "Flower Children" of yore, but they were "onto" something in spite of themselves: namely, the fact that we human beings belong to a flawed species. Our distrust for "the other" has led us into a dark corner from which there is now no escape except Armageddon -- nuclear, biological or otherwise -- unless... we stop ignoring the need for "peace, love and understanding" (as British politicians so glaringly did viz. the 1990s rave scene) and start doing everything we can to foster those emotions through god-sent pharmacology: medicines like E which can turn haters into friends of humanity.
Do you Drug Warriors hate the boogieman of "drugs" so much that you would turn down the one and only way to end school shootings and prevent nuclear war? So far, astonishingly, the answer seems to be yes, just as you'll gladly tolerate Alzheimer's disease in your parents (or autism in your kids) rather than legalize the research and use of substances that show tantalizing promise for treating such conditions.
If anyone thinks I'm sappy or out of line here, fine: but I'll bet they don't have a better idea for avoiding Armageddon.
We need a new worldwide politics, made up of one simple proposition: namely, that all Homo sapiens must be taught to love their fellows on principle -- and that the guided use of empathogens like Ecstasy and psilocybin must be mandatory in cases where any human being remains negatively disposed toward "the other" (the other color, the other religion, the other ethnicity, the other political party, etc.).
This goes double for politicians, who, like Polynesian tribal leaders and their kava, should be required to hold meetings with their foreign counterparts while under the influence of friend-making drugs like Ecstasy.
It's our last best hope as a species, reader.
Please don't wait until you're reading this post in a fall-out shelter to recognize this fact!
Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at email@example.com. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.
*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.
The above numbers may represent undercounts since some of these totals were compiled in late 2021.
The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."
Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!
The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.
Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!
Substance prohibition created drug gangs and cartels just as surely as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.
Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.
Drug War Victim of the Day
killed in Prince Georges County, Maryland on August 15, 2022
Southeast Washington DC remains a no-go zone, even for UPS drivers, as this latest shooting incident points out, which is 1 in 6 shootings that have taken place in the last week, two of them fatal. If this were happening in Hollywood, California, it would be a scandal. But movie stars are people, and victims of the drug war, especially when poor and black, are what Noam Chomsky calls 'unpeople.'
Yes, even the director of "Bamboozled" is bamboozled about drugs. He agrees with the drug warrior lie that there are psychoactive substances in nature that have no positive uses whatsoever, in any place, any time, any context. This superstitious way of thinking has forced me to go without godsend medicine my entire life. Thanks, Spike. Why do you want people to become drug-hating Christian Scientists, exactly? These things that you call "drugs" have inspired entire religions. The conservatives are laughing as they rush to the polls to elect fascists, because they have bamboozled Spike Lee himself to sign off on the drug war which brings death and incarceration to inner city blacks. Throw away that "just say no" teddy bear with which you were bribed in childhood, Spike, and open your eyes.
Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!
Here's my letter to his website:
Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel.
New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner .
New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys .
New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War.
New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Liberalism and Its Discontents.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy.
New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics.
New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell.
New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead .
New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de.
Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique .
Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution .
New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle .
New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Out of our Heads.
New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
When Plants Dream.
New York: Watkins Publishing, 2019.
I find philosophical problems with most of the books that I read on the subject of psychoactive medicine, but Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the few authors who could teach me a few things on this topic.
Poe, Edgar Allan.
The Essential Poe.
New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence .
New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S..
Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville .
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 .
Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered.
New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.
New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. .
New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler.
New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds.
Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences .
New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers.
New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market.
New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R..
Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System.
Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .
New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine
There are an absolute LEGION of online articles and newspaper stories that get it wrong about so-called drugs. Even those in favor of drug law reform have been subject to drug war propaganda from childhood (and they probably have a DARE teddy bear to prove it!) so speak truth to nonsense and comment on the articles that get it wrong.
Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
How America can end inner-city homicides overnight in three easy steps:
Re-legalize Mother Nature's plant medicines
Treat substance abuse as a health problem
Buy back inner-city guns at double their purchase price (even triple the price would be a huge bargain in the long run)
This will, of course, be a huge sacrifice for everyday Americans, who do love their drug war, bless them.