how the drug war shattered my rose-colored glasses
used to be a good American citizen in the 20th century, one who dutifully ignored the campaign of terror that was being waged by Ronald Reagan in South America against Marxists. Don't bother me with the details, I thought, just keep the price of gas low while quietly taking care of those heretics to the south who do not believe in Capitalism. The idea of even reading a book by Noam Chomsky never occurred to me. Surely, he was just an anti-American radical making a reputation for himself out of nay-saying.
But drug-war research is like a kind of gateway drug*. The more one learns about America's dislike for free thought overseas, especially when it questions the eternal march forward of worldwide capitalism, the more one can understand why the powers-that-be would favor a Drug War, for it immediately limits the thoughts and feelings that one's enemy is allowed to entertain thanks to its seamless and worldwide persecution of naturally invigorating medicine -- while meanwhile giving America carte blanche to interfere at will in the politics of its southern neighbors, invading if necessary to install dictators who share America's dim view of true freedom of thought.
When one reads about the bloody real politik of the Reagan administration in South America, subcontracting murder from the White House, (see, for instance, "Noam Chomsky: Ronald Reagan's Secret, Genocidal Wars"), it's easy to understand the staying power of the Drug War: it's a state tool of terror. If a plausible case cannot be made against a recalcitrant former friend of the States, no problem: just call him a "narco-terrorist" and the American people will give you a free pass to intervene militarily to accomplish your goals. But the Drug War is also a spiteful expression of victory on the part of capitalists over workers. Under Reagan, workers would have to go through the humiliation of urinating for their employers -- as a symbolic act whereby these peons acknowledge their lowly position in the new world order and give their humble obeisance to the powers that be, those 1% for whom stealth despots like Reagan were trying to pave the way for new riches in South America, whatever the locals might think of that plan.
The concept of a "gateway drug" is, of course, bogus. Why are gateway drugs bad, after all? Because they might lead to the use of "hard" drugs? But what are these hard drugs? They are the same kinds of psychoactive substances that have inspired entire religions. Coca was considered to be an Incan god and the Vedic-Hindu religion was inspired by the use of psychoactive soma. Plato got his views of the afterliife from the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries. So why do folks like Biden want us to say no to drugs? Because, apparently, capitalism is the new religion and the world can have no other gods before it.
Therefore drugs that can inspire new religions must be harshly outlawed in a "free" capitalist country -- and not just in the US, either, of course, but worldwide. For the US is in such deep denial about the evils of its own Drug War that it eagerly encourages the world to look at Mother Nature's medicinal bounty with its own Christian Science disdain. And so drug-war America is like a hypochondriac who's not content to pester his own family about his imaginary aches and pains but who wants to teach the entire world that it too should, by rights, feel just as sick as he does. It's a fool's errand, yet the proselytizing works. For if a country founded on natural law does not protect the rights of its citizens to Mother Nature's bounty, less principled countries will be more than happy to run armed interference between their own people and the godsends that grow at their feet. When the US said it was fighting a Drug War, Singapore quickly joined the #metoo movement, thanks to which you can now be executed in Singapore for merely using naturally occurring medicines of which western politicians disapprove.
You'd think Singapore would have at least selected its own set of approved medicines before cracking down -- but they just trusted to the clueless medicinal prejudices of us Yanks. They clicked on all the default options of the Drug War, and then added their own twist by killing the users of medicines that in the past had inspired entire religions.
Finally, something that tyrants and democracies can agree upon: the Drug War is a useful tool for cracking down on free thought.
Author's Follow-up: July 25, 2022
By reading "Who Rules the World?" by Noam Chomsky, one learns of a default core American political belief that is never openly acknowledged: namely, that anti-capitalistic thought and behavior must be punished, if necessary by proxy murders committed on America's behalf.
Is this really the only way America thinks it can survive, is to be a tyrant? I don't believe it. But if politicians think it is, they should admit this and get on with the dirty work of squashing dissent, rather than shamefully pretending to value freedom of speech when what they really want is obedience -- obedience to all the relevant capitalist norms and regulations by which the American 1% are constantly enriching themselves at the expense of the underpaid and eternally drug-tested poor.
The Links Police
That's it, pull over to the side of the Web page. No, put your driver's license back in your wallet. I just stopped you to remind you that Brian is not a Chomsky head. Brian's only now rummaging through the octogenarian pundit's musings and he (Brian) will let you know when he finds something that doesn't comport with reason. That said, let's remember why Brian "went there" in the first place, why he started reading Chomsky after a lifetime of assuming that the guy was beyond the pale. He did so because the Drug War has convinced him that the entire world can be profoundly wrong on major issues -- and if the mainstream American view is so deeply flawed when it comes to "drugs," Brian had to ask himself, "what other seemingly common sense views in America do not actually stand up to rigorous philosophical analysis?"
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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