THE DRUG WAR PHILOSOPHER: essays against the bloody Drug War DRUG WAR BLOG updated
Essay date: February 17, 2020

What We Mean When We Say 'Drugs'

by Ballard Quass

How the drug war is a creation of language





There was no drug problem in the 1800s because then folks still blamed PEOPLE for bad behavior, not substances.  Today's

The term "drugs" as used in the West is really just a pejorative epithet designed to stigmatize naturally occurring psychoactive substances and those who use them. The superstitious metaphysics underlying this stigma is identical to the mindset that countenanced witch hunts in the 14th through 17th centuries. It is the metaphysics of Christian Science as applied to psychological states, the unverifiable notion (i.e., opinion, or faith) that it is in some sense wrong to avail oneself of psychoactive substances to alter consciousness, and that those who do so are, in some sense, devilish.

That this belief is superstitious is easily seen, since those who use this term pejoratively have almost always done so in wilful ignorance of the precise function (or even identity) of the psychoactive substances in question, implying that a mere detailed knowledge of psychoactive plants placed a woman (and today a drug "user" of any sex) under grave suspicion of non-Christian behavior and intent.

When a "witch" of the old school imbibed extract of mandrake and similar trance-inducing substances, it was (at least according to the stuffed shirt Witch Warriors of the time) in order to commune with devils. But from the witch's point of view, it was surely to seek personal transcendence, whether to engage in what she took to be divination, or simply to relax. When a rock star imbibes plant-based substance, it is also to transcend his or her customary personality and inhibitions on stage, this time not for divination but for vocational success.

Yet psychology insists that anything a star could do on stage using a substance could be done twice as well without that substance.

What wilful self-deception! This is not to say that every rock star or mad comedian REQUIRES substance use (though surely the probability rises as the art form entails an increasingly dramatic split between the artist's on-stage persona and their off-stage behavior, as do both rock-and-roll and hip-hop, and increasingly so, as yesterday's behavioral outrages become today's norms). There are a vast variety of people, and in many cases, the social, cultural and familial stars and planets will so align as to allow the performer to be his or herself on stage, completely, without any impulse to hold back, requiring no chemical incentive other than the baseline chemistry provided by his or her daily metabolism.

But if the vast majority of us are really going to let our hair down, it is completely understandable that -- barring 21st-century laws and mores to the contrary -- we would want to achieve some form of the ecstasy of the witches of yore to help us "let go," such that our "nay-saying" childhood (in which we were psychologically tortured, albeit unintentionally so, by the implicit and/or explicit condemnations of parents, family and friends) are not allowed to stop us from bringing out the Jimi Hendrix in ourselves.

But psychology ignores the ancient need for transcendence, stubbornly insisting, with the Drug Warrior, that we can get all the transcendence we need by simply "telling ourselves" to be happier -- for that's what the whole self-help genre field consists of (not to mention the whole field of psychotherapy itself, at least until the pill-popping paradigm took hold): words, to tell us how to be happier, as if rationality could control our feelings, a central tenet of Western society, which is just plain wrong upon the slightest serious reflection.

Nor is a poor upbringing a necessary prerequisite for seeking transcendence through plant medicine -- at least for those who wish to explore what they are truly capable of in life, those who reject the Christian Science credo that it is somehow wrong to adjust mood via plant medicine.

Even Freud knew better. He did not attempt to improve his life by talk therapy. He engaged in the psychological real politik of cocaine use, early and often, a fact that psychologists ignore at their own peril, thus keeping their discipline out of touch with the real impulses of humankind.

All because the psychologists believe in this thing called "drugs," by which certain substances (i.e., psychoactive plants) are superstitiously believed to possess nothing but evil qualities: the same know-nothing credo that motivated the witch hunters, who cast a jaundiced eye on any woman who dared so much as learn about psychoactive plants, let alone used them.

The word "drugs" works wonders for law enforcement. Imagine if we saw a SWAT team ramrodding a house while a helicopter flew overhead, all because the owners of the house possessed PLANTS! Then it would be instantly clear how tyrannical the onslaught was. The police and politicians know this: that's why they never talk about a war on plants, but rather a war on "drugs." This is how the police departments grow in wealth: the darker they paint this whipping horse of "drugs," the more money is thrown their way by way of funding and forfeitures -- and the American people sit by idly, lulled into complacency by the malevolent use of a synonym.



June 13, 2022




By creating the demonic category called "drugs" (i.e., substances that are supposed to be unsafe anywhere, anytime, for any reason at all and in any context), politicians have promoted a narrative of Christian Science fanaticism that has driven America straight toward fascism, first by encouraging us to use the epithet of "scumbag" for those of our fellow Americans who would dare use such demonic medicines, and second by jailing millions of these "scumbags," thereby removing them from the voting rolls so as to ensure the victory of fascist Drug Warriors at the polls. Once in power, as Trump has clearly shown, the fascists in question will feel free to invoke the "final solution" for their war on plant medicine: namely the execution of those who dare to sell plants and fungi of which politicians disapprove. The only bright spot is that America has not yet quite reached the hysterical fever pitch attained by the Philippines' Duterte who holds that drug users are every bit as evil as drug dealers and therefore suitable targets for the "final solution" as well.

And to think Americans created this "drugs" canard out of whole cloth, by outlawing the opium poppy plant in 1914, in violation of the natural law upon which America was founded. That's when America invented addiction as a moral shortcoming too. Before then, folks like Benjamin Franklin and Marcus Aurelius (not to mention Joe and Jane Blow) could be mere opium habitues, with no stigma attached to their psychoactive pastime. After 1914, hey presto, these habitues were suddenly transformed into "addicts" in the American mind, sad moral weaklings who were to be tended to by a new breed of doctors known as psychiatrists, who would henceforth make a living out of figuring out what deep psychological problems led the user to partake of their supposed poison of choice. In other words, the doctors accepted without question the new definition of drugs as being worthless and dangerous substances, a view foisted on the world on purpose by Joe Biden and his dogmatically mendacious Office of National Drug Control Policy starting in the 1980s.

None of these doctors stopped to think about opium fans like Benjamin Franklin or Marcus Aurelius, or of coca enthusiasts like HG Wells and Jules Verne, or of psychedelic boosters like Clark Gable and Francis Crick. Nor did they ponder the fact that the Vedic religion was inspired by the psychoactive insights provided by plant medicine, as the coca plant and psychoactive mushrooms inspired religions in South America and Mesoamerica respectively. Such mere facts conflict with Drug War orthodoxy, after all, which holds that certain medicines are evil, period, full stop, without regard to any other considerations whatsoever.




Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at quass@quass.com. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.




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Welcome to The Drug War Philosopher: Philosophical essays against America's bloody war on plant medicine, aka the drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-science, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some. Calling for fear not fact, education not demonization.

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2: The Drug War as a Litmus Test for Philosophical Wisdom
3: Addicted to Addiction
4: Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
5: Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama
6: Ten Reasons why the Drug War is Nonsense
7: Time to ACT UP about the racist drug war
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9: How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987
10: John Locke on Drugs
Click here for more essays against America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-nature, imperialistic, a violation of the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America, and the establishment of drug-hating Christian Science as a state religion.





2021 Deaths Caused by the Drug War*

  1. Chicago:797
  2. New York City: 485
  3. Los Angeles: 397
  4. Memphis: 346
  5. New Orleans: 218




*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.



The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."

Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!

The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.

Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!

Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.





When They Ask You For a Piss

A Drug War Poem





When they ask you for some pee
Tell them no 'cause you are free
Free to use what nature grows
Both shrooms and plants

Should they ask you for a piss
Tell them no and let them kiss
Kiss your ass because they're full
Of grade-A shit

Being born on plant earth
Shrooms and plants are yours by birth
Show them what your freedom's worth
Refuse to pee




Boom-Chickadee

The Drug War Poem




Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick churri
Your drug war is crazy, as crazy can be
It banishes godsends that grow at our feet
Till bad vibes and loneliness slowly accrete
Till bad vibes and loneliness slowly accrete

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick churrod
The coca plant, as per the Incas, is God
It sharpens your prose till your fame is widespread
As Jules Verne would tell you if he were not dead
As Jules Verne would tell you if he were not dead

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ka-ripe
I'd like to smoke opium straight from a pipe
To travel to lands seen by Lovecraft and Poe
Though racist drug warriors always say no
Though racist drug warriors always say no

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ker-breech
The mushrooms around us have something to teach
They grow in my garden, I'm fain to partake
Though Chimney-Pot Bennet says Put on the Brake
Though Chimney-Pot Bennet says Put on the Brake

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-hurray
My anger subsides with some MDMA
If only Vlad Putin would follow my lead
There'd be much less bloodshed and cynical greed
There'd be much less bloodshed and cynical greed

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ker-ray
I'll use what I want so get out of my way
I'd rather do opium coca and such
Than Big Pharma pills that addict me too much
Than Big Pharma pills that addict me too much

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ka-runk
Forgive me for saying your drug war is junk
It's dumbness incarnate to demonize plants
I turn a deaf ear to your 'just say no' chants
I turn a deaf ear to your 'just say no' chants






Check out the latest Drug War News!
Today's story:
It's the Prohbition, Stupid!

Lights, Camera, Drug War

Quotes From TV and movies



Panther

1995
"Against hard drugs in the community."

"Hard" drugs? As defined by whom? The DEA? That agency which ranks psychoactive substances by the degree to which they threaten the WASP establishment?
More TV and movie Quotes at Lights, Camera, Drug War.

DRUG WAR BLOG

by The Drug War Philosopher



6-23-22
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.



MORE Anti-Drug War Blog

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

DRUG WAR BIBLIOGRAPHY

Andrew, Christopher. The Secret World: A History of Intelligence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations. London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel. New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English Opium Eater. New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
Ellsberg, Daniel. The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner . New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
Fadiman, James. The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys . New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War. New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Fukuyama, Francis. Liberalism and Its Discontents. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
Gottleib, Anthony. The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Holland, Julie. Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics. New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell. New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
Leary, Timothy. The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead . New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
Lovecraft, HP. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
Mate, Gabriel. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de. Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique . Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
McKenna, Terence. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution . New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis. Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle . New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Noe, Alvin. Out of our Heads. New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Essential Poe. New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
Pollan, Michael. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence . New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S.. Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville . New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Richards, William. Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Rosenfeld, Harvey. Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 . Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Russell, Kirk. Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered. New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Schlosser, Erich. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Sewell, Kenneth. Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. . New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
Shirer, William. The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler. New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Slater, Lauren. Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds. Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
Straussman, Rick. DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences . New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Szasz, Thomas. Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers. New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Szasz, Thomas. Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market. New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R.. Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System. Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Whitaker, Robert. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America . New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine


Welcome to THE DRUG WAR PHILOSOPHER: essays against America's bloody war on plant medicine, aka the drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-science, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some. Calling for fact not fear, education not demonization.

What You Can Do: Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."


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