Essay date: April 2, 2022

Black Lives Don't Matter

in 'The Runner' by Jason Chase

Detective Wall calls a black teenager a 'scumbag' and a 'waste' for selling plant medicine of which politicians disapprove

'The Runner' by Jason Chase shows the Drug War at its racist best.

The screenplay tries to make a villain out of the usual suspects, including the obligatory coke-dealing Hispanic Drug Dealer, "Local Legend," and his black teenage admirer, Blake. But the real villain of the piece is Detective Wall, the smug and self-righteous drug agent, who...

1) calls Aiden's black teenage friend "a scumbag, not worth another thought," and wants to lock him up for 20 years.

2) ignores Aiden's request for a lawyer, saying, "Guilty people want lawyers."

3) slaps the teenage Aiden repeatedly, telling him, "I own you, you f - -, you waste!"

This un-American (indeed Nazi-like) law enforcement makes sense only if we believe the Drug War lie that plant medicine is pure evil, but that's wrong! God himself said his creation was good, both as to flora and fauna. Jules Verne and HG Wells wrote their best work under the influence of coca wine. Marcus Aurelius and Benjamin Franklin enjoyed opium. The entire Vedic-Hindu religion was inspired by the psychoactive effects of a plant, and Plato's views about the afterlife were inspired by his participation in the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries.

And yet Jason Chase has made a movie that glorifies the trigger-happy gunmen who bash down doors to stop people from using plants that grow at their very feet, thereby supporting a Drug War that has caused a civil war in Mexico, turned America's inner cities into shooting galleries, and empowered a self-proclaimed Drug War Hitler in the Philippines.

Jason fails to realize that the negative events depicted in his film only take place because America has decided to demonize psychoactive plant medicine rather than learning how to use it wisely for the benefit of humanity, which, despite drug-war lies, has always sought self-transcendence and self-improvement with mother nature's plant medicines - and we seek to quash that impulse at our own peril.

Please, Jason, America does not need more films that glorify SWAT teams: America needs films that promote facts not fear, and education not criminalization.

If you're worried about addiction, Jason, what about the record-breaking 1 in 4 American women in the US who are chemically dependent on Big Pharma meds, many harder to kick than heroin, which they have to take every single day of their life??? That's the biggest addiction in human history!!! Why don't we break down THEIR doors and haul THEM downtown and call THEM "scumbags" and "waste"? Why don't we say that THEY'RE "not worth another thought"? Likewise with those who use liquor, which kills 400,000 people a year - or tobacco, which kills 95,000 a year.

We don't break down their doors and shout "Go, go, go!" And why not? Because the Drug War is a political war against minorities, not a war against the powers-that-be. It's a shame that in the third decade of the 21st century, Americans still don't get this, and that we are still making movies like this that celebrate our imperialist and racist war against psychoactive plant medicine.

Oh, and spoiler alert: remember that black teenager who was selling plant medicine of which politicians disapprove? He was shot dead in the gunfire that erupted as the SWAT team stormed in. (Detective Wall only wanted to throw the teenager in jail, but this works too, since either way, he's been taken off the voting rolls so that conservatives and Drug Warriors can continue to triumph at the polls.)

Agent Burrell had warned against the raid, suggesting that teenagers might get killed, but Captain Ames indignantly dismissed his worry, for the totally irrelevant reason that "thousands of lives are endangered by this crew." 

"Really?" one wants to say in response. So what? That doesn't mean that you have to arrest them in the most violent and dramatic fashion imaginable! Fortunately for the SWAT team, the middle-aged Hispanic dealer was also killed in the raid, so at least the SWAT team can boast about something more than killing children.

Detective Wall, who apparently got a bad scratch during the raid (aww!), actually wins a medal for killing teenagers. A medal, he says, "is so no one questions whether it was a worthwhile cause."

Well, the medal didn't work this time, Wall. This reviewer, at least, questions the wisdom of your cause, for the Drug War that you champion goes against everything that America is meant to stand for, by demonizing teenagers, criminalizing plant medicine, incentivizing dealing, and holding the safeguards of the US Constitution in supreme contempt.

I dare say that Thomas Jefferson would agree with me, since he was rolling in his grave when the DEA stormed onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants, in violation of the natural law upon which the garden-loving president had founded America.

The Links Police

Why do you think I stopped you? That's right, because it would have been a crime for you to leave without at least perusing some additional pics and 'says on the topic of Drug War and minorities. Sad that today, when minorities are beaten for selling drugs, their so-called defenders cheer on the police. They (Jesse Jackson Sr., Bill Clinton and company) have yet to grok the simple truth made so evident during liquor prohibition, namely that prohibition leads to violence.

Author's Follow-up: August 31, 2022

If you ever see a quartet of self-satisfied cops holding a press conference about the latest drug bust, do me a favor and boo. The police should have nothing to do with substance use. If someone misses a dose of their antibiotic, do we have the cops come break down their door? No more should they do so when we're discussing the pharmacological improvement of mood and mind.

So, bug off, copper! Go help some little old lady across the street or stop a terrorist attack, and stop scapegoating "drugs" for every social problem in the world.

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans


Right. In fact, the drug war can be seen as a way for conservatives to keep America's eyes OFF the prize. The right-wing motto is, "Billions for law enforcement, but not one cent for social programs."

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."
The Drug War is one big entrapment scheme for poor minorities. Prohibition creates an economy that hugely incentivizes drug dealing, and when the poor fall for the bait, the prohibitionists rush in to arrest them and remove them from the voting rolls.
Next essay: The problem with Modern Drug Reform Efforts
Previous essay: The Drug War as a Greek Tragedy

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A Dope Conversation about Drugs

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PSA about the Deadly Grand Canyon

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Predictive Policing in the Age of the Drug War
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(seemingly useful organizations)

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 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.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

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)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Whitaker, Robert "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at