America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine
lcohol can kill tens of thousands of Americans a year and we consider it a bargain price to pay for a little harmless fun. But if a demonized psychoactive plant from Mother Nature is merely REPORTED as being somehow related to one single solitary death -- one single solitary death -- the Drug Warrior considers it to be a knock-down argument that the plant medicine in question should be made unavailable, not just to Americans but to everyone around the world, including drug researchers studying Alzheimer's, and that we should even send our army overseas to burn those plants, no matter how many millennia they may have been used responsibly by other cultures.
That's why enemies of the Drug War should think twice before turning the regulation of plant medicine over to the healthcare state. The system is hypocritically rigged to pillory therapeutic plant medicine for statistical trifles while it gladly lets non-therapeutic drugs like alcohol and cigarettes ravage the population at will. That's why Americans are depressed in record numbers. Because we're determined to ban the effective drugs over trifles while ignoring the enormities perpetrated by our go-to drugs of alcohol and tobacco.
Author's Follow-up: September 20, 2022
There's another reason why science and the healthcare state should only play a peripheral role when it comes to psychoactive medicine. That's because, when it comes to such nostrums, the user is often looking for self-transcendence and an ability to maximize one's potential, as the coca leaf provides the endurance and opium, the creativity, to allow one to succeed in life. In other words, use of such substances is often an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to achieve self-actualization in life. For many of us, that is the prime directive. If we were stereotypical robots, we would be walking around saying: "Must have a meaningful life," whereas the robots of the medical tribe would be saying something quite different, namely: "Must maximize safety."
Wrong. That makes enough sense in the realm of physical medicine, but it is a purblind maxim when it comes to psychoactive substances. Yes, safety is a consideration when it comes to using psychoactive medicine, so give me all the facts about actual use -- including the subjective reports of actual users -- but at the end of the day, as the Brits would have it, I would rather live a potentially shorter life in which I am achieving my goals than become a centenarian purely for the satisfaction of chart-wielding doctors.
Of course, historians like Paul Johnson ("The Birth of the Modern") cherry-pick a few cases of opium misuse (as in the case of the drug-friendly but hypocritical Samuel Taylor Coleridge) to conclude that drugs like opium probably do not help creativity -- but Johnson makes the usual mistake of expecting such drugs to act like aspirin. Just as we take an aspirin to ease a headache, we should, he feels, be able to take opium to improve creativity. Otherwise, the drug does not "work." But the efficacy of psychoactive drugs involves a great host of contextual and psychological factors that Johnson ignores. They are not one-size-fits all drugs. The question is not whether opium, say, increases creativity in general, but whether it improves creativity in the case of a given person of a given history with a given desire for a given outcome using a given dose at a given frequency in a given situation. It seems to have worked in these ways for Marcus Aurelius and Benjamin Franklin, not to mention Poe and Lovecraft, the latter's work in particular being full of unapologetic opiate imagery.
Johnson goes on to spitefully GUESS that Franklin "probably" became an addict in his old age, but it's not quite clear why even this should be problematic, unless we want to subject opium use to a moral scrutiny that we never apply to Big Pharma meds, let alone to the coffee that Johnson no doubt drank every day of his adult life, or the alcohol that he imbibed, etc. One wonders what uncharitable future historian will look back on Johnson's life and self-righteously conclude that "he was probably addicted to alcohol."
Those of us who have friends and family that smoke are used to said individuals suddenly disappearing from parties and such. We're originally like, "Where is so-and-so?" until the penny finally drops, and we realize that said person has gone outside for a smoke. If we're going to get on high horses about potentially useful drugs like opium, then by rights we should be indignant about smokers. But again, the Drug War is political, and so we only invoke moral disdain when it suits us for non-health-related reasons.
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
POLITICS AND THE DRUG WAR
Most prohibitionists think that they merely have to use the word "drugs" to win an argument. Like: "Oh, so you're in favor of DRUGS then, are you?" You can just see them sneering as they type. That's because the word "drugs" is like the word "scab": it's a loaded political term.
And these are the people that Trump has promised to execute if he is elected.
What are drug dealers doing, after all? Only selling substances that people want and have always had a right to, until racist politicians came along and decided government had the right to ration out pain relief and mystical experience.
"When two men who have been in an aggressive mood toward each other take part in the ritual, one is able to say to the other, 'Come, let us drink, for there is something between us.' " re: the Mayan use of the balche drink in Encyc of Psych Plants, by Ratsch & Hofmann
PSYCHIATRY AND THE DRUG WAR
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
"I can take this drug that inspires me and makes me compassionate and teaches me to love nature in its byzantine complexity, or I can take Prozac which makes me unable to cry at my parents' funeral. Hmm. Which shall it be?" Only a mad person in a mad world would choose SSRIs.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Sana Collective Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.
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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war 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.
PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
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
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press