The ongoing failure of drug reformers to attack the DEA
magine there was a government agency that everybody agreed was telling lies. Not only that, but everyone knew that these lies had caused millions of depressed patients and wounded soldiers to go without godsend medicines for almost half a century. Now imagine that the agency in question was also known to have deliberately poisoned American citizens with weed killer, and that this weed killer was subsequently found to cause Parkinson's Disease.
Now, imagine that this all occurred in a supposedly free democratic country and yet no one complained. To the contrary, movie studios cranked out propaganda in which this same lying and murderous agency was portrayed as a hero, a hero that clandestinely uses torture and murder to achieve its goals.
Sounds like fiction, huh?
Well, unfortunately, this is not an imaginary scenario. The agency described above is Richard Nixon's Drug Enforcement Agency, and even the most vocal drug policy reformers have been loath to criticize it. Sure, they may point out in passing that the agency is lying about psychoactive substances through their politically motivated drug scheduling system, but they never take the obvious next step and call loudly and clearly for the agency's abolition, let alone for a criminal trial that would hold its leaders responsible for the great unnecessary suffering that they have knowingly caused over the last four and a half decades.
That's the reason why I created the website AbolishTheDEA.com just over a year ago: to finally speak truth to power and tell the DEA in the words of Shakespeare's Laertes: "Thus diddest thou!"
That's also why I fret over the MAPS' organizations approach of "working through the system" to decriminalize psychedelics, since it obliges them to cooperate with the DEA, thereby granting that agency a kind of moral street cred that it does not deserve. This, after all, is the agency that is fighting tooth and nail to keep godsend medications out of the hands of suffering Americans, and why? Merely in order to preserve its own jobs - which brings up another problem with the DEA about which Americans remain mostly silent: the fact that it has a glaringly obvious conflict of interest in establishing the legality of substances, since their whole raison d'etre is to crack down on illegal drugs. And they freely act on that interest, as was demonstrated in 1985 when the agency went against the advice of its own legal counsel and criminalized MDMA, thus throwing thousands of soldiers under the bus by denying them a godsend therapy for PTSD.
For those who need more reasons to hate the DEA, consider that former DEA Chief John C. Lawn poisoned marijuana with paraquat back in the 1980s, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. That's the moral equivalent of genocide to punish those who violate a controversial and unpopular law. This is a ruthless agency that has no one's interests at heart but their own, an absurd nature-hating agency that requires researchers to protect supplies of drugs like psilocybin as if they were fissionable nuclear material rather than Godsend plant medicines from Mother Nature.
Such an agency should be a laughable dinosaur in 21st-century America and treated accordingly. The Israelis got rid of their Anti-Drug Agency. Now it's time for the United States to do the same, preferably replacing it with the Drug EDUCATION Agency, an organization tasked with presenting the objective statistical facts about all psychoactive substances, including alcohol and Big Pharma anti-depressants, including both their pros and cons.
But Goliath is still defiantly loitering in the Valley of Elah, taunting free-spirited Americans with his contempt for constitutional niceties and his disdain for human life, practically daring some modern David to come forth and topple him.
Are we going to rise to the challenge and set out, slingshot in hand, or is the DEA a modern-day Stasi that even rebel spirits are afraid to challenge head on?
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company