rowid is (per its own description) "a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues." I sent its editors the following email today to alert them to the philosophically shallow reasoning in a 2018 article entitled "In case you choose not to say no to drugs, kids," published in The Student Newspaper.
This is not exactly a correction, but I could not find an email address that precisely covered my reason for writing you today.
I'm writing in reference to The Student Newspaper article that you cite, apparently because it contains a favorable mention of Erowid. The article is entitled "In Case You Choose Not to Say No to Drugs, Kids."
Although we might praise the author of that post for "having her heart in the right place," her article demonstrates clearly that she is under the influence of Drug War propaganda, which she has apparently accepted uncritically.
Why, for instance, should we be telling kids to say no to "drugs" in the first place, when drugs are essentially mother nature's plant medicines? Why do we not also want them to say no to "Big Pharma meds" to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted?
These are just two philosophical issues that loom unnoticed in Karolina Zieba's article. I critique the article in more detail in two essays on my site at abolishthedea.com (see links below). I invite you to read them. I've devoted two essays to this one article because I think that the staying power of drug-war prohibition has been due in large part to the philosophical shallowness of many of its would-be opponents, folks who write half-heartedly on the topic, taking the anemic and misinformed line that "Illegal drug use is unnecessary, but it's going to happen anyway, so we might as well allow it."
I fear that, like Karolina, many Erowid readers (perhaps editors, too, for all I know) may "have their heart in the right place" when it comes to these topics and yet fail to comprehend the full evil of the Drug War, because they have been bamboozled by Drug War lies, propaganda, and the drug-war revision of history thanks to which Americans never hear of the positive use of currently illegal substances. Perhaps they've also been bamboozled by well-meaning authors like Karolina herself who fail to grasp the many injustices that are perpetrated daily in the name of the Drug War: from stifled research on drugs to fight Alzheimer's to the use of electroshock therapy that could have been avoided had medical godsend plants been available to treat depression.
I also write because, by prominently listing Karolina's article, Erowid seems to be (at least to some degree) endorsing its content, and I therefore feel compelled to write you to explain why I believe that such an endorsement is misplaced.
Brian shot, Brian scored. Yes, writers like Karolina seem to share the Libertarian view of "drugs" -- they agree with the Drug Warrior that this politically defined category of substances is indeed horrible -- but since such horrible substances exist and people seem to want to use them (sigh...), well, doggone it, we shouldn't go overboard in trying to punish them!
With friends like that in the drug-law-reform business, who needs enemies?
The fact is that there are no such things as "drugs." Why not? Because there are no substances that are bad in and of themselves, without regard to how, why, when and where they are used and by whom. Even the highly toxic Botox can be used in safe doses and in safe ways.
Besides, the kinds of substances that we demonize today have inspired entire religions (including the Vedic-Hindu religion and the mushroom and coca cults of Latin America) and been used wisely for good reasons by such western luminaries as Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, HG Wells, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Richard Feynman, Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft -- along with a who's who of philosophical greats including Plato, who got his ideas about the afterlife from his psychedelic-fueled experience at the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Finally, never mind what happened in the past: once we stop demonizing substances, we'll see that (Drug Warrior lies not withstanding) psychoactive drugs can be strategically used for all sorts of mind-building purposes. Morphine could be used intermittently to improve our appreciation of mother nature. Opium could be used intermittently to improve our knack for creative visualization. And coca (as HG Wells and Jules Verne well knew) can be used wisely to increase our mental focus for tasks like writing books.
But America's Office of National Drug Control Policy is committed to ignoring any possible beneficial uses for these "drugs." In fact, the organization's ground rules actually require them to ignore any potential benefits of vilified psychoactive substances, meaning, of course, that the organization in question should be referred to as the Office of National Drug Control Propaganda.
With this backstory in mind, we can see how would-be drug-law reformers (like the Liberal Media and Libertarians) are actually damning drugs with their faint praise of them. I fear that they have all received one too many teddy bears from the State Police in their formative years in return for having "just said no" to the psychoactive bounty of Mother Nature.
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
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You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press