August 23, 2020
The Drug War Board Gameby Ballard Quass
I was trying to forget about America's drug war last night by playing a simple board game with my sister's family. Finally, I could take my mind off of the modern world's unprecedented folly of turning psychoactive substances into scapegoats and boogiemen.
Unfortunately, however, this respite was not to be, for the board game that we chose was Life, and my sister happened to own the politically correct version of that game that had been printed during the Reagan-and-Bush eras.
Our four-person game began uneventfully. We all went to college and got well-paying jobs, with the possible exception of myself, who ended up as a debt-riddled schoolmarm taking home a mere $50,000 per annum. But at least I was forgetting all about America's anti-scientific drug war and the fact that it violated the natural law upon which Jefferson had founded this country (which, I bet the president in question was spinning in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in jackboots in 1987 and stole his poppy plants).
I was looking forward to an hour of sweet forgetfulness viz. America's drug war superstitions, when my brother-in-law (a ridiculously well-paid travel agent) landed on one of those orange Life spaces that read: "Just say no to drugs."
Oh, boy, here we go...
"Just say no to drugs?" I thought to myself. "It may as well say: 'Just say no to the natural plant medicines of which politicians disapprove.'"
I came very close to making these observations public, but I finally decided to hold my tongue, lest I spawn a conversation that should tick me off still further.
But you can no doubt imagine what I was thinking:
"What next? A space that gives you a Life card for turning in your parents, should they happen to use substances of which politicians disapprove? Or a Life card that cuts your salary in half because you failed a drug test?"
And so I played the rest of the game while mentally multitasking: attending to board game business on the one hand (I came in a surprising second despite my lowly profession, amassing a cool $1,650,000) while silently reflecting as follows:
Imagine playing this "Game of Life" in the middle of the Amazon jungle, surrounded by godsend plant meds that focus and expand the mind, and then landing on a space that says: "Just say no to all those plant medicines that surround you."
You'd be like: "What are the game-makers talking about? Just say no to drugs? Are they kidding me? Why don't THEY just say no drug war colonialism? Why don't they just say no to plowing up the rain forest and enslaving whole peoples in order to acquire their precious rubber? Why don't they just say no to scientism and materialism?"
So much for taking my mind off of America's devastatingly misguided drug war last night. Still, the experience reminded me of how well drug war propaganda of the 1980s (such as the highly mendacious "frying pan" ad) had succeeded in convincing Americans that there was this all-powerful evil called "drugs" that must be quashed at any cost, even if it means renouncing the freedoms that Jefferson had said were ours under the supposedly tyrant-proof protection of natural law.