by The Drug War Philosopher

Turnip blood as a drug on the market!

If you think it's hard to get blood from a turnip, try finding a positive reference to demonized "drugs" in American TV shows and movies. Search the Script.com database for the word "drugs" and you'll get over 4,000 hits, with nary a one testifying to the life-affirming power of godsend plant medicine. Drugs like coca and psychedelics have inspired entire religions, but you'll see the word "drugs" used only in connection with lowlifes and scumbags, extortionists and murderers. In short, American script writers have been bribed by the DARE organization and the local State Police with far too many "just say no" teddy bears to think rationally on this topic.

That's why I hope that "decriminalization" states like Oregon will gradually teach these brainwashed screenwriters that the sky, at least, will not come crashing down the moment that Mother Nature's bounty is legal again, just as it was before Chinese-hating racists outlawed the poppy plant in 1914, thereby elevating common law above the natural law upon which America had been founded. My concern is that without full legalization, however, the otherwise responsible "users" in those states will be forced to choose their psychoactive medicines from the limited and often tainted formulary provided by criminal gangs, gangs whose incentive lies in money-making, not in assuring safe product. Because you know that if problems arise for this reason, the drug warriors will instantly blame them on decriminalization rather than on the way that the drug warrior limits choice and empowers economically minded cartels.

No use is always better?

One of the favorite cliches of the anti-drug crowd is the notion that "no use is always better," by which they apparently mean that it's better to go completely without psychoactive medicine than to use any whatsoever. This, in fact, is the official mantra posted on the front page of the Drugs Reddit site itself. Yet the idea that "no use is always better" is clearly false.

If a person suffers from daily headaches, would it be better for them to go without aspirin? Of course not. Well then, if a person suffers from hatred of their fellow human being, would it be better for them to go without empathogens like MDMA, which teach them to love their fellow human being? Of course not. Likewise, if they were constantly hearing defeatist messages in their mind, would it be better for them to go without medicines that silence that inner doubt and let them achieve something in their life at long last? Of course not.

In the latter case, the drug warrior might cry, "But what if the cure becomes addictive?!"

The answer is twofold:

1) The "cure" in the above case could involve psychedelic therapy, which is non-addictive.

2) Even if the "cure" is addictive, how is that worse than a lifetime dependence on Big Pharma meds, a dependence which society not only sanctions but actively encourages in the phrase ("remember to take your meds")? Do we look down on a person because they have to take insulin on a daily basis?

So the phrase "no use is better" is nonsense. One might try to salvage the phrase by interpreting it as follows:

"In an ideal world, one should not have to use any psychoactive medicine," but even this restatement is problematic. What do we know, exactly, about the reason that there are psychoactive plants in the first place? Maybe they are intended (as John Locke supposed) "for our comfort and well-being." For all we know, it is actually stupid for human beings to ignore the ability of plant medicine to boost their creativity, their friendliness, their ability to focus on the task at hand, etc.

In short, human beings are in no position to say that psychoactive medicine is bad from any logical basis. When they say so, they are actually advancing a Christian Science position on the matter, since their statement is supported by belief only, not by facts and logic.

Sure, psychoactive drugs, like aspirin, always come with their own potential risks, but that is only one part of the story. The potential risk must be weighed against the potential gain, and that's a calculation that cannot be made without first consulting the needs and desire of the "patient" -- one who may not think life's worth living under the psychological status quo.

This is why it's so nutty that America withholds laughing gas and MDMA from the depressed. By doing so, they show an absurd focus on risk and absolutely zero interest in the wants and desires of their "patients." No doubt they're thus saving a small minority of potential users from various forms of "misuse," but they're thereby consigning millions to a life of totally unnecessary despair.

The fact that America is absurdly focused on risk can be seen by the fact that I have now spent 50 years of my adult life without access to any psychoactive plant medicine, meaning that in the last half-century, science has not seen its way clear to give me the green-light even to use the plant medicine that grows at my very feet!

And why this purblind focus on risk? It's because the subject of "drugs" is political in America. The regulators know that if they approve a drug for use and it is subsequently misused in a newsworthy way by even a statistically tiny subset of young Americans, then demagogue politicians will cite those isolated incidents as a reason to keep said drug out of the hands of everybody in the world, never mind the fact that they are thereby punishing many millions for the uninformed use of a few. Of course, adding insult to this injury is the fact that even this uninformed use is a consequence of drug war mentality which is dedicated to making Americans fear "drugs" rather than understand them.

Interesting how America holds alcohol to no standards at all and then holds psychoactive medicine to standards that no substance could ever meet. I wonder how many American regulators go home to "a nice tall one" after having vetoed, yet again, the use of laughing gas and MDMA by the depressed.

No use is still better, you say? If you believe that, then I wish you joy of your religion... of Christian Science, that is. But please do not adopt social policies that force me to live by that religion's anti-patient precepts.

What are they THINKING?

I keep seeing movies in which self-righteous drug agents feel like they're doing God's work by chasing down coca and other plant medicines. I ask myself, why do they think that's a good thing?

Then I realized, it's because they accept the drug war lie that psychoactive medicines have no potential positive uses whatsoever, the lie championed both by the DEA in its politically minded "scheduling" system (as well as the "class" system overseas) and in Joe Biden's Office of National Drug Policy, whose charter actually forbids the consideration of potential good uses for the medicines that we have classified (that is to say demonized) as "drugs."

From that point of view, you can see how drug agents would be primping their feathers every time they got "drugs" off the street.

However, the truth is that all psychoactive substances have potential positive uses, at some dose, for some person, in some situation. The DEA does not have the philosophical ability to even opine on what psychoactive substances would be beneficial to humanity, for that is not a scientific question, but rather a socio-psycho-cultural one, so to speak. Can one benefit from great mental clarity (as that provided by the coca leaf)? Can one benefit from creativity-enhancing dreams (as those provided by the poppy plant)? Can one benefit from seeing mother nature with surreal clarity (as that provided by morphine)? Can one benefit from life-changing psychological insights (as those provided by psychedelics)?

These are not scientific questions, they are philosophical questions, because their answer depends on what we consider to be "the good life."

Sure, the DEA can point to a lack of studies on a given plant medicine or fungi, but that does not constitute any proof whatsoever that such meds do not have potential positive uses for humankind, because when it comes to psychoactive medicines, that is not a scientific question.

So the DEA has in no way established what is impossible to establish: namely that there are no positive uses for a given drug. (Was it not a good "use" of drugs to inspire the Vedic religion, then? Why is the DEA tacitly getting involved in religion by demonizing the very pharmacological fountainhead from which religion comes, in India, in South America, in Mesoamerica, etc.?) What they have done, however, is ensured that we will find no positive uses for the drugs that we have demonized, for the simple reason that our government will not allow us to.

This is a shame, because it's not just the rare hedonists who will be negatively affected by this government lying. There is plenty of prima facie evidence to show that brain-growing and mind-expanding psychoactive drugs could do things like help Alzheimer's victims, help the autistic, help the depressed, and even prevent school shootings by teaching hotheads how to love their fellows.

But the US Government has enacted laws to see that no such breakthroughs are ever made.

So when the drug agent is primping her feathers in the field, she should rather be throwing away her badge, as she reflects on the fact that her job is supporting a government campaign to keep millions (perhaps billions) around the globe in a state of totally unnecessary suffering.

PS For those wondering how morphine can help the prepared mind to see the natural world with vivid intensity, check out "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains" by Edgar Allan Poe. (We have to learn all the good things about "drugs" from yesterday's literature, because since 1914, the drug war's substance prohibition has taught the American media to ignore all but the down sides of the drugs that it chooses to demonize.)

Drug War scores an F-

I always hate to say that the drug war has failed, because that gives the impression that it would have been great if it had only succeeded. Au contraire, it would have been an Orwellian nightmare in which folks were so completely brainwashed by their government that the mere thought of seeking self-transcendence through plant medicine would have been eradicated from the human mind -- this despite the fact that such transcendence had inspired entire religions in the past.

But if we must use the "failed" metaphor, then the Drug War has surely earned an F- on its report card. I mean, what was the original goal of the drug war after all? To put an end to the use of opium.

Okay, what's the state of affairs today. Yes, the drug war has so demonized opium that it's rare to find an American who will even dare utter the word. But now 1 in 4 American women and 2 in 8 men are chemically dependent on Big Pharma meds, which is many times the number of Americans (like Benjamin Franklin, for instance) who were ever habituated to the opium poppy. And those Americans who are NOT participating in the psychiatric pill mill created by the drug war are using synthetic opioids, which are far more dangerous than the poppy plant that the anti-Chinese drug warriors outlawed in 1914 (in violation of the natural law upon which Jefferson founded America).

So the Drug War has already earned an F- in light of these considerations alone, never mind the fact that it has censored scientists, blinded us to positive uses for thousands of plant medicines, and resulted in the election of fascists thanks to its massive disfranchisement of minorities.

The Drug War is therefore not simply a failure: it is the nonpareil of failures, the very touchstone of muddleheaded and counterproductive approaches to solving perceived social problems.

DEA now hiring for position of Panty-Sniffer First Class

I try to spruce up old essays of mine that were written back in the day when I was just a lad, bless me. Here's one such update that I've just posted this morning for the essay (cum comedy routine) entitled Se Llama Mushrooms:

Okay, that was... quaint, shall we call it? But you've got to remember, these curious effusions were indited a full 2 1/2 long years ago, when Brian was still a lad (couldn't have been more than 62 years old at most), and he had only just started his task of upbraiding the establishment for its nonsensical drug-war pieties. He's connected a lot of philosophical dots since then. Like the fact that the Drug War is a makework program for law enforcement personnel which actually obliges them to become noxious busybodies.

It's like a movie I just saw in which a female drugs agent comes into town looking for medicines of which pharmalogically clueless politicians disapprove. You'll have to forgive my French, but I couldn't help but think of this self-righteous public servant as a... well, as a professional "panty sniffer," if you will, as she rushes about town drawing her gloved finger over any and all surfaces that appear to harbor the least amount of particulate of any kind. You could see she was just waiting for the moment that she could cry out: "Bingo!" or "Gotcha!"

She doesn't care about bank robberies, she doesn't care about nuclear war, she doesn't care about terrorism. She's just a prudish schoolmarm trying to find out if the locals have been naughty or nice.

LOCAL: "But we're good people here, Ma'am!"
OFFICER: "That's as shall appear, my pretty! Heh-heh-heh-heh! Say, do you mind if I sniff your jacket, young man?"

And then when you think of the thousands of her self-aggrandizing colleagues in the US alone who only have jobs because of this Big Brother fight against the "pre-crime" of substance possession, folks who, barring that, would be slopping together Whoppers at Burger King. Well, it's a boon for the glove industry at any rate. Somebody has to clad those busybody fingers of theirs as they poke about for a legal excuse to confiscate mansions and yachts on behalf of the local police.

America has come within a hair's breadth of being nuked multiple times (accidentally and otherwise) in the last 50 years, including once in Arkansas, once in North Carolina, and even once in Pearl Harbor (see the book Red Star Rogue for details on this latter brush with Armageddon that the US government has been attempting to hide from its own people for the last 60 years). But it never seems to have occurred to strategically hysterical authorities that these thousands of "panty sniffers" that we're employing today in the name of the Drug War might be of more service to the Republic if they were looking for nuclear threats, not pharmacological ones.

I guess they figure that if we're blown to bits, we can all go to heaven secure in the knowledge that we have just said no to mother nature's godsends. Or if we survive the initial blast, we can stand up to the invader (the one who comes stateside after we do the dirty work for them by blowing up Arkansas ourselves) and cry: "Don't shoot, comrade, we're good people here, we have all just said no to godsend medicine!" To which the Russian sniper replies, "Just say no to THIS!"

I'm just sayin', let's get our priorities straight here!


Do you want to know how perspicacious those philosophy professors of yours are? Easy. Just ask them what they think about "drugs." If they don't admonish you at once for using an ambiguous and highly fraught term (videlicet the politically defined category of 'drugs'), then you can safely ignore (if not denounce) everything that they proceed to tell you on the subject. That was my epiphany this week, namely that the Drug War is a litmus test of philosophical wisdom.

This is also the week when I dubbed myself The Drug War Philosopher and changed site titles accordingly. This is certainly more evocative of my site's purpose than the current title, which is just basically the domain name itself, i.e. Abolish the DEA, for while that is a consummation devoutly to be wished, it is not really the purpose of this website, except perhaps in a quite tangential fashion.

Finally, this was the week when I realized that the Drug War is a war on knowledge, and not just figuratively speaking either. For as Brittany Hunter points out in Joe Biden: The Architect of America's Disastrous War on Drugs, the current president's 1980s anti-drug agency called the ONDCP (the Office of National Drug Control Policy) had a charter that actually forbade the organization from considering research about potential therapeutic benefits that might be used to argue in favor of decriminalization. And this policy now pervades the political world. It's the reason why drugs researcher DJ Nutt of England was removed from his job for pointing out that certain illegal drugs are actually safer than certain legal ones.

For the drug warrior's goal is to demonize criminalized medicines, not to understand them.

COMING SOON: A list of email addresses for the many screenwriters who write TV shows and movies that implicitly promote Drug War ideology. I will provide this list in the hope that site visitors will write to these bamboozled authors, politely explaining why they should cease and desist in promoting a drug war that kills thousands of Americans every year in inner-city shootings, that creates civil wars overseas, that empowers a self-described Drug War Hitler in the Philippines, and whose philosophy of substance demonization has kept depression-prone chappies like yours truly from accessing plant medicines that have inspired entire religions in the past.

Depp V Heard

Well, this was the week when we learned from drug researcher Amber Heard that marijuana use in puppy-hood leads to lifetime defecation issues in schnauzers. I understand her paper on the subject has already been accepted for publication in the esteemed journal Nature. We also discovered -- no surprise here -- that the public loved Johnny Depp just the way he was, opium use and all, and that no one -- positively no one was rushing to have him arrested for this habit (although the DEA was looking on jealously, just itching for the chance to take down this Christian Science heretic). And that's probably good, since the prime suspect in making Johnny a "monster," to the extent that he was one, was clearly alcohol, not opium. Besides, no one was in a hurry to see Johnny's personality tamped and tampered with by Big Pharma antidepressants. So if he had to be habituated to something, please God let it be opium instead. Our prayer for Johnny then is not, "let him be sober,": but rather, "let him learn to use mother nature's godsend plant medicines wisely! Along with the highly non-addictive MDMA should he be so inclined."

US Memorial Day

Well, this was the week that I tried in vain to convince the Twitter-verse that we had a solution to the school shooting crisis staring us in the face, if only we weren't blinded by the light of the drug-war ideology of substance demonization. That solution, of course, is the therapeutic use of empathogens on hotheads and other potential mass shooters. But my tweeted links to How Ecstasy could end mass shootings didn't exactly break the Internet. I fear that Americans have received one too many bribes of State Police teddy bears in their childhood to permit of them believing that it isn't our moral duty as good Christians to just say no to godsend psychoactive medicine -- yes, even if it could theoretically prevent school shootings.

This was also the week when I tried once again to make modern nonfiction writers grasp the fact that they were reckoning without their host when they pronounced on the philosophical assumptions of our times without even mentioning the drug war. To that end, I gently upbraided Francis Fukuyama for his recent book about the bipartisan assault on liberalism (Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama) wherein he blamed the politically created category of "drugs" for making matters worse, without bothering to mention that a worldwide drug war exists, let alone that it alone is responsible for the inner-city gunfire for which Francis wrings his sociocultural hands. Like Bill Clinton, he blames the inner-city violence on gangs and "drug dealing," conveniently ignoring the fact that both are a natural consequence of prohibition in poor, and poorly educated, communities. It's as if the government had criminalized milk, and then blamed the ensuing violence on the armed gangs that arose to meet the demand for dairy. It's hypocritical to blame the armed gangs since government policy created them out of whole cloth, just as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.

Speaking of reckoning without one's host, Anthony Gottlieb never once mentions the drug war in his otherwise wonderful book entitled "Dream of Enlightenment," which I've been perusing of late. That oversight, of course, seems understandable according to modern sensibilities, since there supposedly was no drug war in the time period under consideration there, though there were certainly plenty of signs of the nature-hating zeitgeist that preceded it. That said, however, there have been giant ethno-pharmacological strides made in the past half-century -- starting with the Life magazine articles of Gordon Wasson and continuing today with the Ted Talk effusions of Rick Doblin. These advances make it clear that human personality can be changed for the better with the help of empathogenic drugs which inspire love and fellowship, even in formerly hateful human beings. Like most philosophers, however, Gottlieb appears unaware of this fact. Had he known of the transformative power of drugs like psilocybin and MDMA, he surely would have questioned Thomas Hobbes' view that human beings even have a "true nature," let alone an evil one. (Please see Open Letter to Anthony Gottlieb.)

Whatever the supposed "true nature" of the diverse participants in the rave scene of 1990s Britain, they all came together in peace and love on the dance floor with a little help from MDMA -- before drug warriors cried foul, that is, banned the drug, and returned the dance floor to the usual alcohol-fueled violence with which the powers-that-be were apparently so much more comfortable.

Anywho, as always, I wrote a letter to Tony on this topic, and I am so confident of a speedy reply from that gentleman, that I am actually going to hold my breath now until it arrives. Ready? 1, 2, 3... (mmmmmm hurry up, Ton'... mmm mmm.... don't let me down!)


There were two big stories this week: the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and the fact that no one mentioned Ecstasy when talking about that tragedy. Ecstasy is the drug that brought peace, love and understanding to the dance floor in Britain in the 1990s, turning rave concerts into unprecedented cuddle-fests uniting folks of every religion, ethnic group and skin color. It's common sense that a therapeutic protocol using E could help pacify hotheads -- at least to the point that they will no longer be inclined to shoot up grade schools. But Americans are so sure of the need to demonize psychoactive medicine that this possibility does not even occur to them. How Ecstasy could end mass shootings

Also this week I've appended an editorial comment to the essay entitled Why Americans Can't Handle the Truth about Drugs, describing how the FDA establishes a hypocritical and anti-scientific system for approving psychoactive medicine. Well, first of all, they should have no role in "approving" psychoactive plants, period, full stop. That's a violation of natural law for government or science to run interference between human beings and the plant medicine that grows around them. Second of all, the FDA has to start considering the rights of the depressed and anxious (and those who merely seek religious inspiration or mind improvement!) The FDA is hung up on the unscientific idea that a drug can and should be criminalized if a handful of uneducated youngsters can find a way to misuse it. Why? Because drugs are politicized in America, and when the media makes a big hoopla about teens misusing, say, nitrous oxide, then beer-swilling drug warriors are going to raise a big stink about it and flex their Tarzan muscles and show their easily-led masses that they, for one, are in favor of CRACKING DOWN on fill-in-the-button-pushing blank.

In these cases, scientific precision is thrown out the window. The FDA doesn't care how statistically insignificant the juvenile problem is, nor how the use of the substance in question might lessen the use of more dangerous drugs by those same juveniles, by helping to wean them off of alcohol, for instance -- no, the FDA simply evaluates the demonized medicines based on how loudly these medicines are condemned by pharmacologically clueless politicians. Such demagogue drug warriors are the modern Chicken Littles of our age, constantly raising the alarm about any psychoactive substances which they fear might make Americans a little more peaceful and a little more individualistic (and consequently a little less willing to allow consumerism and money-making to define them as people).

No one stops to consider that it is absurd -- and ultimately tyrannical -- to deny godsend medicines to millions -- indeed billions -- on the basis of how a few uneducated kids might use a substance. It never seems to have occurred to the FDA that there are any other stakeholders in this business, namely 40% to 50% of the entire world-weary planet. If the depressed and lonely knew how they were being screwed here (to say nothing of those who merely want to improve their minds), they would riot en masse in front of DEA headquarters in Washington, DC, to end the lopsided focus on protecting a handful of theoretical young abusers and to have the FDA serve the interests of the VAST MAJORITY of stakeholders for a change. But they have as yet failed to do so. Incidentally, the envisioned protests should by rights feature the pharmalogically disgruntled of every country in the world, since the US has managed to either convince, strong-arm or financially blackmail the entire world into following its know-nothing Christian Science lead when it comes to psychoactive medicines, including the ones that have the illegal effrontery to grow at your very feet, reader!

Humph! The IDEA of those plants and fungi! The US will teach THEM, right? We'll eradicate them from the face of the globe! See how they like THAT?!

Incidentally, the foregoing rant was parody. I don't mean to insult you, reader, by stating that obvious fact explicitly, but when I crack wise like this, I always get at least one email accusing me of being a drug warrior prude.

Finally, if the FDA is so exquisitely worried about a handful of juvenile delinquents, they might want to give education a chance. Abolish the DEA and replace it with the Drug EDUCATION Administration.

Thoughts? Contact Brian Quass at quass@quass.com.