January 7, 2020
There is a Specter Haunting Scienceby Ballard Quass
the specter of the Drug War
An actual speech from an actually imagined meeting of the National Science Foundation
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid there was a bit of a typo in the bulletin for today's science lecture. My speech today is not going to be on, and I quote, "Genetic Variability in Hydrastis Canadensis." (I'm not sure what your secretary was smoking when she came up with that title, since it bears so little resemblance to the actual topic of my proposed animadversions for this morning's session. Humph.)
The actual title of my address today is: "Scientists are Cowards: Yes, I'm talking to you."
And I begin. Ahem.
There is a specter haunting Europe - and the entire free-world for that matter -- the specter of the anti-scientific drug war.
You doubt it? Just hear me out.
Suppose that the Catholic Church had come forth in the last half-century and told you that there were thousands of plants that you scientists were no longer allowed to study, on pain of being ostracized, removed from your job, or perhaps even arrested?
You guys would be up in arms. Especially the rabid atheists among us. Not to mention any names, of course (such as Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris or Michael Ruse or Richard Dawkins). You'd be like: How dare the Church tell science what it can and cannot study?
Enough with the hypocritical applause, folks, because guess what: you scientists DID let an outside force trump the cause of science over the last 50 years - it's just that the force in question was the government, not religion.
The Drug Warriors declared that you must stop studying a wide variety of psychoactive plants (on pain of the aforesaid penalties), and you guys essentially said, in the immortal words of Sergeant Schultz from "Hogan's Heroes": "Jawohl, Herr Kommandant. I know no-think about such plants, I say no-think about such plants!"
QED: You scientists are cowards. End of discussion.
You failed to push back and declare science off-limits to political manipulation. Not only did you thereby do a disservice to science, setting a fascist precedent for ages to come, but you thereby also consigned millions of depressed mortals to decades of unnecessary psychological suffering, suffering that could have been so profoundly alleviated by the advised introduction of psychedelic therapy, using all those psychoactive plants that the government had ordered you to ignore.
Hey, what can I say, folks: tell the truth and shame the devil, right?
Oh, nice. Now you're sending up your security guards to force me off stage? For shame. "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty security guard!"
Leave go! I'm almost finished!
The good news is, you scientists can make up for this pusillanimous oversight by belatedly standing up to government today, through the many scientific organizations here in the States and abroad, and declaring the obvious: that science must be free and that government must revoke all the disincentives that they have put in place in order to keep Americans from acquiring a dispassionate understanding of psychoactive plants.
Do it for science - and for the psychologically suffering around the globe.
It's time for a new Magna Carta, one that puts government in its place with respect to science!
All right, all right, I'm leaving, Tarzan!
What kills me is, the atheists among you write whole books about the dangers of the Church interfering with scientific investigation, a merely hypothetical -- if not absolutely paranoid -- concern, but they never say anything -- not one word -- about the subjugation that is taking place right in front of them even as we speak: the subjugation of scientific investigation to the political demands of the drug war.