Before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, American citizens could manage their own pain. They could make life livable with the occasional use of opium during their "down time." (Imagine that: no geriatric wards need be full of moaning seniors!) This allowed the user to make their peace with life by occasionally seeing past their own limiting mental constructs (what we today call the "default mode network") and then come back to "life" mentally refreshed and with the will and perspective to carry on. Nor did opium require increased doses over time to maintain this invigorating effect, nor were there negative physiological effects associated with the daily use of these drugs. At worst, the drug created habituation in daily users (what we now moralistically call "addiction"), but even this addiction could be conquered in one agonizing week -- one week -- whereas it is almost impossible to withdraw from many popular SSRIs (as can be clearly seen by reading addict testimony after searching the words "withdrawal" and Effexor" on Google).
After the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, American citizens could no longer manage their own pain. Instead, they had to make regular expensive pilgrimages to the doctors, where they were prescribed far more dangerous drugs than opium, drugs that were more addictive and brought no pleasant dreams by way of compensation, but rather worked to essentially tranquilize the patient into blandly accepting the status quo. Typically these drugs had to be increased over time to maintain efficacy. Nor have they ever been studied for long-term negative effects, meaning today's patients are essentially guinea pigs: guinea pigs in a test trial that is failing, given the fact that many veteran users of these "silver bullets" are reporting increased depression over time as well as an increasing unhappiness with the emotional flat-lining that is associated with daily use of SSRIs.
There is ample evidence that the Harrison Narcotics Act was a racist political stratagem directed at Asians. But even if we assume that the act was a high-minded attempt to fight addiction, consider the actual outcome:
There are more addicts in America than ever after 1914: it's just that now the addiction is being managed by the American Psychiatric Association and the pharmaceutical industry.
Patients are now worse off than ever -- not only have we deprived them of blissful occasional relief from their pain and sorrows, but we have made them wards of the state, forcing them to visit health-care clinics for a lifetime to ask permission for the relief that was theirs by right just over a hundred years ago -- to pay through the nose for medications that are less effective and far more addictive than opium ever was.
Speaking of which, if anyone manages to conjure Francis Burton Harrison via Ouija board, give him a message for me, would you? Tell him I said, "Thanks for nothing!!!"
PS But even these powerful arguments are beside the point. The fact is that the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act was a violation of natural law because it deprived Americans of their birth right as mere human beings, namely their free access to the plants and medicines that grow at their very feet. It was a power grab by government and the therapeutic industry, both of which would hitherto decide, from their lofty and well-remunerated bureaucratic thrones, of which plants and fungi the will deign to let us partake and precisely at what exorbitant price and in precisely what strictly limited amount. The Drug War is thus anti-American in the extreme, as it elevates common law over natural law. Little wonder then that the architect of American independence should himself become a posthumous victim of the Drug War several decades ago when the jackbooted DEA trespassed on Monticello to confiscate their benefactor's poppy plants.
Rather than being appalled, Americans aid and abet the outrage to this very day by cheering on the DEA in those Drug War movies in which that cowardly agency, runs roughshod over rights that were taken for granted, not only in Jefferson's times but a mere 100 years ago.
Jefferson was rolling over in his grave in the 1980s when the DEA stomped onto Monticello to steal the founding father's poppy plants. It's a wonder they didn't seize Monticello itself under the legal fiction that it was a public nuisance. Lord knows police departments have earned millions by such ploys in the past. Big Liquor must be thrilled at this war on the poppy, especially when America goes overseas and burns the plants in countries where it has been used responsibly for millennia.
The author has been accused of being "reactionary" for comparing the modern drug warrior to the Conquistadores of yore. Here is his response:
There is an ideological current running through western culture that can be discerned from Columbus to Donald Trump, wherein we, the west, think we know what's best for other countries. When the Conquistadores shut down the mushroom cults in South America and killed thousands of the adherents, the act was motivated by the same self-assured scientistic and religious hubris that America demonstrates when it travels overseas today to eradicate plants that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia, and doing so without a care in the world for the feeling of the locals. The motivation is philosophically the same, then as now, as is the goal: to spread western ways around the world and make the world safe for alcohol and tobacco and Christianity and give them a monopoly.
I believe using the term "conquistadores" is important to show how modern drug warrior attitudes are not appearing out of nowhere, as if by magic, but that they are part of a western intolerance toward other cultures that dates back many centuries, at least to the time of Emperor Theodosius II when he outlawed the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian Mysteries in 389 AD. For while the west has largely abandoned the intolerant church, they have not abandoned the intolerance associated with it.
To summarize: I did not mention "conquistadores" randomly and in order to shock, but rather to highlight a thread of intolerance toward other cultures and "other ways of being" that runs through western history. For again, the drug war mentality did not spring like Venus, ready-made out of a clam shell. It came from a European Christian culture that has long felt it acceptable to run roughshod over the religious and cultural practices of non-westerners. We shouldn't hide this fact from our adversaries in an effort to sound conciliatory, but rather get them used to hearing the truth, that, unbeknownst to them, they are perpetuating a reign of western intolerance for other cultures that has been going on now for millennia.
Are you wondering why I stopped you? Well, aside from the fact that you're Black, of course. No, seriously, seriously! (Sorry, my mom always said I should have been a comedian.) I stopped you to give you a warning. No, not about your dodgy right headlight (tho' you really should get that fixed). I wanted to warn you that this website is all about criticizing the willful ignorance of society when it comes to so-called "drugs." It is not -- I repeat NOT -- about encouraging either "drug use" or the LACK of "drug use." Ya feel me? It's about encouraging EDUCATION about substances rather than DRUG WARRIOR DEMONIZATION of substances.
Got it? Okay, repeat after me, then: THIS WEBSITE IS ABOUT ENCOURAGING EDUCATION ABOUT SUBSTANCES RATHER THAN DRUG WARRIOR DEMONIZATION OF SUBSTANCES!!!
So if you're contemplating using anything from table salt to heroin, you've come to the wrong site. The author is neither a doctor nor a pharmacologist. This is a philosophical website, not a practical website. You dig me? You need to study up on any and all substances using reliable sources: don't get your medical opinions about specific substances from a philosophy website like this one, for Peter's almighty sake! Ya feel me? Is the copper right or is the copper right?
Now, be on your way -- unless, of course, you're Black, in which case, get out of the car this instant and put your hands on the top of my vehicle! Move! Move! Move! Papa's gonna rough you up a bit. (Tee-hee.)
Just kidding. I really should have been a stand-up comedian, you know.
And get that right headlight looked at, ya numbskull!
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.