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A message for unhappy campers

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

July 25, 2023

very few months, I get raked over the coals by a follower, based on their wild misinterpretation of something that I've said. (Hey, I'm sure they mean well, bless them!) Here's a case in point.

Two days ago, I blamed Bill Clinton for his role (as I have often done, in fact) in suppressing Blacks in the States and destroying the rule of law in Mexico, and I was told that I should shut up. I'm told that I am a Hilary Clinton hater, that I'm a Republican, and that I am pro-Trump. That's three lies in a row from this anonymous source - someone who should probably be reminded that libel is still a crime in the United States of America.

This former follower - we have both now recalled our virtual ambassadors from Twitter, so to speak - seems to be championing a strange theory about philosophy, namely that the philosopher should let political strategy determine whom he criticizes and whom he praises.

Having grown up in a putatively free country, that's not a philosophical rule of conduct with which I am familiar. (What? Check with pollsters for permission to hold forth on hot button issues? I don't think so.) Besides, if anyone actually read my work - rather than gliding over it in search of something to diss - they would know that I have always made it clear - what is obvious in any case - that Trump is worse on the subject of drugs than the veteran Drug Warrior who is currently installed on Pennsylvania Avenue. Nothing I write is going to win votes for Trump, except if a moron is determined to shove the round peg of my comments into a square hole of their cynical expectations. (To be specific, Biden does not yet believe with Trump that we should execute Blacks for dealing in politically despised plant medicines - however, he does join Trump in believing that folks who use such medicines should be deprived without trial of a livelihood in America through the anti-American process known as "drug testing." So you see, the two presidents are basically Dumb and Dumber on this topic. But then as King Lear reminds us: "Not being the worst stands in some rank of praise.")

The odd thing is, I've always had more trouble with disgruntled followers than I've ever had with Drug Warriors themselves. Drug warriors like Kevin Sabet and Bill Clinton never answer objections. They just ignore you and if push comes to shove (as with Kevin Sabet), they block you from bothering them on Twitter - bothering them with questions they truly can't answer but to their own prejudice. No, it is the friendly fire that kills on Twitter, when you are dissed, not for what you've written, but based on how some fanatic might interpret your words if they were determined to ascribe to you the worst possible motives in the world.

That's a good definition of political correctness, I think, one that captures where its problems lay, to wit: "In political correctness, one judges statements based on how they would sound when coming out of the mouth of the most insincere and hateful person imaginable." It's this insistence on subordinating everything to politics - even common sense and human feeling - that I hate about political correctness, especially when I end up on the receiving end of the intolerance that this cynical philosophy fosters.

Sound familiar? That's the same cynical strategy that Drug Warriors take toward drugs these days: they judge psychoactive drugs simply by asking: "What is the worst possible scenario of use that we can imagine with this drug?" There's no talk of drug benefits, at any dose, for any reason, at any time, in any place. No, once it's been established that the drug can be used irresponsibly by at least one person or demographic, then the drug's use IN ANY SITUATION must be discredited (for everybody, anywhere, ever), just as the ideology of political correctness forces us to consider writers to be traitors if they stand for truth first and put politics second.

But some people do like to complain, I guess. Twenty years ago, I lived on the 11th floor of one of the five Southern Towers apartment high-rises in Alexandria, Virginia, just seven miles south of D.C. One day I responded to a loud banging at my door. Upon flinging the door open, I saw a 25-ish dude spreading eagle across the opening, staring me furiously in the face and saying.... Nothing. He was saying nothing at all, and my repeated comments like "What can I do for you?" went unanswered and even unacknowledged. I had to ask him five separate times to tell me what the problem was, even telling him I was going to call the police, but apparently he was sure that I was playing with him: I KNEW what the problem was, his hateful gaze seemed to be telling me.

Fast-forward five anger-charged minutes: this infuriated demon from the 10th floor finally condescended to tell me that he had been hearing a repetitive scraping noise from his ceiling in his apartment below mine. A series of follow-up questions eventually isolated the problem: It seems that a broken door stop on my bathroom door was resulting in a loud and irritating noise below me every time I opened or closed the bathroom door.

I had no idea that such a noise was being generated in the apartment below me, but The Angry Guy never for once believed that I was innocent. He had got it in his head that I was sitting up above him, wilfully causing the noise and laughing vindictively as I contemplated the anguish that I was putting him through. ("Take this, my pretty!" he seemed to hear me saying, as I moved the doorstop back and forth on purpose, luxuriating in the schadenfreude thus produced.)

I feel like these web haters are channeling this ANGRY GUY whenever I encounter this weird friendly fire.

To be fair, I have gone off half-cocked once or twice myself. I've been angered by some tweets that I should have read twice before blowing up. Once I even "let loose" on what I discovered to my horror was a loyal fan! I had taken his sarcasm toward my critics as intended for myself! He accepted my quick apologies, though I fear he's made himself scarce ever since. But I always apologize for mistakes and try to do better.

That said, I am not in a hurry to apologize for sharing an honest viewpoint, least of all when it's a protest that my critic never bothered to utter, even when it was an "off year" for elections. He might not be so sanguine about Biden's current "drugs" policy if he lived in Southeast DC, where bullets are whizzing even as we speak, all thanks to the Drug War which has always been a poll tax by other means. He might have had a little more sympathy for me as he tried to type his furious Tweet while ducking to avoid errant bullets from his bedroom window.

But I do find it ironic that Angry Guy accuses me of supporting Trump, when I am about the only one in the world who has pointed out that he won the 2016 election thanks to the Drug War, which had thrown millions of minority voters into jail. That's a crucial point that should, in itself, end the Drug War - but the media, of course, will never "run" with that. "The Drug War steals elections for hardliners? So what? We must fight drugs at all costs! If that means stolen elections, so be it!"

Trump's ascension came about thanks to the silence of his opposition, not because folks like myself were sounding off without first getting permission from pollsters to do so. Nor can I see how I am helping Trump by calling for folks to shout "End the Drug War now!" I can't see how such an outburst would ever help Trump, unless we can imagine an undecided voter saying something to themselves like: "I want a president whose security force would never even ALLOW such a protest statement to be shouted audibly at a convention in the first place! I'm switching to Trump!"

The Drug War survives because people are silent about it, not because they're complaining. Besides, if any politician can be said to have "brought it on himself" when it comes to bad press, it is Joe Biden, the sponsor of the bill that disproportionately punished Blacks for coca use and the first president to fire his White House staff en masse, not simply for impairment, but for their mere past use of naturally occurring substances of which racist politicians disapprove.

Next essay: Open Letter to Roy Benaroch MD
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You have been reading an article entitled, A message for unhappy campers published on July 25, 2023 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, 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, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)