Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
by Ballard Quass
an open letter to the UHMM in Washington, DC
Dear US Holocaust Memorial Museum:
I am writing today to encourage the Holocaust museum to take a stand against America's Drug War. Why? Because thanks to that war's anti-scientific effort to demonize psychoactive plant medicines, Americans have now gotten in the habit of referring to "drug dealers" as scumbags and vermin - scumbags and vermin because they dare to sell plant medicines of which our politicians disapprove. This hyperbolical language of the Drug War is chillingly reminiscent of the Nazi's characterization of Jews and, like that demonization, is based on lies, propaganda and half-truths. It is therefore, I believe, incumbent upon your institution to sound the alarm about this hysterical demonization and urge sensible Americans to cease and desist, especially since this atmosphere of demonization has now given Donald Trump the "moral cover" to call for the execution of said "dealers," revealing yet another insidious way in which the Drug War resembles the Nazi war on Jews. Trump, after all, seems to be advocating a "final solution" to deal with those Americans who dare to sell plant medicines of which politicians disapprove.
For those who would like further proof of this pernicious American mindset, we have only to watch those "Drug War" movies in which the heroes are DEA agents who cynically ignore the US Constitution in order to wipe out vermin drug dealers. In the 2019 movie "Running with the Devil," for instance, a DEA agent played by Natalie Reyes (the apparent "good guy" of the movie) tortures one drug suspect (hanging him from a meat hook in his speedos) and shoots another one in cold blood at point-blank range. Why? Because she's frustrated by her longstanding inability to quash the use of naturally occurring substances: she therefore concludes that the time has come to just plain start shooting the offenders without so much as a trial (this despite the fact that she herself is constantly puffing on a drug that kills far more than the substance that she's attempting to outlaw). Natalie's hypocritical fury reminds me of the frustration shown by Glenn Close's character in the TV movie "Four Good Days" (also from 2019) when she sees a dealer and says, "That guy should be shot," and then rushes inside to calm down with a hastily gulped glass of wine. Such is the hysteria fanned by the Drug War that those who behave in this way are our new American heroes.
Millions of decent Americans will gladly say "Never again" in thinking of the Holocaust, but they forget that the road to evil begins with the unthinking demonization of one's perceived enemy, and that is exactly what Drug War propaganda encourages: the demonization of those who sell Mother Nature's criminalized plant medicines. It does this first by demonizing certain drugs themselves in a way that no other culture has done before (substances were considered completely amoral until 1914) and then extending that anti-scientific demonization to the people who traffic in them. The drug dealer thus becomes the scapegoat for all evil, when the drug dealer's very existence is guaranteed by drug law itself, a prohibition that makes the sale of natural substances incredibly profitable, and thus especially tempting in communities where government neglect with respect to education has led to a dearth of opportunities for the young. This demonization makes sense to Americans only because Drug Warriors have succeeded in expunging all references to positive "drug use" from history, from books, from movies and from TV shows: and so Americans think: "Criminalized drugs can only be used for evil, and so those who sell them must be evil, too." In addition to this "propaganda of omission," there is the propaganda of flat-out lies, like the "frying pan" ad, which absurdly claims that a drug will fry the brain the moment that it's been declared illegal by a scheming politician.
The facts, of course, are quite the opposite. Benjamin Franklin used opium to increase his creativity and affability. Sigmund Freud used cocaine to sharpen his mental powers and combat his depression. Francis Crick used psychedelics to think outside the box and thus envisioned the DNA helix. The US Air Force required its pilots to use amphetamines during certain critical missions. The Vedic religion itself was founded to worship the psychedelic properties of a plant-based medicine known as soma. And the time-honored Eleusinian Mysteries provided psychedelic-fueled insights to such western thinkers as Plato, Plutarch, and Cicero. If illegal "drugs" do fry the brain, it is only because the Drug War has made it impossible for the user to be sure of obtaining a quality product. Thus the cocaine one buys illegally may be mixed with baking powder or boric acid or who knows what? Or the DEA may have poisoned the drugs themselves, as when DEA Chief John C. Lawn laced marijuana plants with paraquat in the 1980s, a weed killer that has since been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease.
Pardon my prolixity, but we can only understand the modern habit of demonizing drug dealers by examining the Drug War lies and propaganda that have inspired that demonization. I have only scratched the surface on this topic, but if you wish to learn more about the insidious Drug War ideology and how it conduces to the demonization of our fellow human beings, I invite you to read a selection of my essays about the Drug War at my website entitled AbolishTheDEA.com. I have recently written a 16-page white paper on this topic ("The Great Philosophical Problem of our Time") that I have shared (via snail mail) with 100 of America's top philosophers. I will be making that white paper available soon as a PDF on my website. I invite you to read that as well.
Conclusion: The Drug War must end because its hypocritical and politically motivated ideology leads to the demonization of certain Americans, especially minorities, as subhuman - leading, of course, to the biggest prison population in American history, composed mainly of minorities, minorities whom Trump is no longer satisfied with simply vilifying and imprisoning and removing from the voting rolls: now he wants to execute them as well.
I hope I have motivated you to denounce the Drug War practice of encouraging Americans to speak of their fellows as scumbags and vermin, simply because they choose to sell plant medicines of which politicians disapprove. Indeed, I hope I have motivated you to denounce the Drug War, period, full stop.
PS The Drug War needs to be eradicated, root and branch, and we need to start over with the 1913 status quo, turning the DEA into the Drug Education Agency, which will educate Americans concerning the subjective positive effects and the objective negative effects of all psychoactive substances -- including the use of Big Pharma antidepressants, to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted but about which the hypocritical Drug Warrior is amazingly silent. In such a world, education will triumph over Drug War superstitions (superstitions about substances that are supposed to be "evil" in and of themselves) and empower citizens to make wise choices. In a free society in which plants are legal again, the knowledgeable American will find plenty of non-addictive options for attaining the kind of self-transcendence which, in a drug-war society, can only be obtained through the use of the highly addictive substances that underground dealers find it profitable to make available.
Even if we suppose that some Americans may choose an addictive route to self-actualization, America has no leg to stand on in denouncing such addiction since Big Pharma meds already addict 1 in 4 American women. Moreover, in a world where ALL plant medicines are legal, there will exist hundreds of substances that can be employed "shamanistically" (with the help of a pharmacologically savvy "empath") to help combat unwanted addictions by changing attitudes - rather than through the notoriously ineffective and barbaric modern anti-addiction practice of cold turkey, made necessary by the Drug War's criminalization of the godsend medicines that could help an addict (through the pharmacologically assisted intervention mentioned above) to discover more productive goals for their life. Freedom from addiction comes from changing one's outlook on life for the better, not from merely changing the substances that one ingests. Psychoactive plants have a long history of accomplishing the former goal when used responsibly with empathic oversight.
For additional reasons to abolish the Drug War (the anti-scientific war that inevitably gives rise to the dehumanization mentioned above), I invite you to consider the following four points:
The Drug War is the establishment of a religion: the religion of Christian Science, which says that we should not use "drugs" for healing (physically or spiritually). The Drug War is thus unconstitutional in the highest degree.
The Drug Warrior's habit of burning plants is worse than the Nazi habit of burning books: the latter injustice seeks to place a limit on what we can think but the former places a limit on how and how much we are allowed to think by outlawing substances that can facilitate deeper insights into the world around us. (Besides, if America can go overseas to burn poppy plants in the name of fighting stateside addiction, then Islamic countries should be able to come stateside and burn our breweries and vineyards for the same reason.)
The Drug War is anti-scientific, as it shuts down mere research on hundreds of psychoactive plants, including drugs like ayahuasca, which have been shown to grow new neurons and thus may play a huge role in learning about and ultimately conquering Alzheimer's Disease. Instead, our elderly and depressed are shunted off onto addictive Big Pharma meds and research on psychedelic entheogens is suppressed. The result? America "says yes to Alzheimer's" because of its anti-scientific determination to "say no to drugs" ("drugs" being a merely political label referring to psychoactive medicines of which politicians disapprove).
Besides being the establishment of a religion (the religion of Christian Science), the Drug War is a violation of the natural law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded this country. For, as John Locke wrote in his Second Treatise on Government: human beings have the right to "the use of the land and all that lies therein." In other words, the medicinal bounty of Mother Nature is ours simply by virtue of our having been born on planet Earth. It is tyranny to invoke the common law of the Drug War to suppress our rights in this regard.
And so when we argue against the Drug War, we are in good company, for we are standing up for Thomas Jefferson, who was surely rolling in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants, in ungrateful violation of the natural law upon which Jefferson founded our republic.
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.