hen you're a preteen, the state enrolls you in "just say no" classes, in which you receive an award from the local police force for renouncing your right to godsend mind medicine. Then in your teens, you watch endless cop shows in which those who use mind medicine are depicted as scumbags and filth, shows in which you never see the positive, responsible use of such medicine. You watch movies like "Running with the Devil" in which "drug suspects" are hung from meat hooks and shot at point-blank range for dealing in mind medicine, often by a DEA agent who herself is smoking the hell out of a pack of cigarettes. Then you go for your first job interview as a young adult and find that you are not even eligible for employment in America unless you show proof via urinating that you have renounced your right to godsend mind medicine. Meanwhile, the media, both local and national, show you lurid stories of kids misusing psychoactive substances, but never -- no never -- report on the positive use of such substances. And the academic world dutifully follows suit, publishing thousands of papers on the abuse of psychoactive medicine but never -- no never -- reporting on the positive, responsible use of the same (which, if they'd care to look, goes back to the use of soma which inspired the Vedic religion and psychedelics which inspired Plato's views of the afterlife).
You're primed for more such indoctrination after seeing the shamelessly mendacious ad by the Partnership for a Drug Free America which warns us that substances fry the brain the moment that they are criminalized by racist politicians -- this despite the fact that HG Wells and Jules Verne wrote their best stories on coca wine and that Benjamin Franklin and Marcus Aurelius loved their opium dreams.
Well, this all gets a bit much for you. It depresses you. So you go to a psychiatrist to get some legal medication that will help you steer clear of this politically created boogieman called "drugs" that you have been taught to fear since birth. And what does the psychiatrist do? He or she starts you off on a regimen of expensive, habit-forming, and ultimately ineffective mood medicine that you will have to take every day for the rest of your life (thanks to the shamelessly hushed-up chemical dependency that it creates in users). What's more, this legal medicine doesn't inspire you the way that the outlawed medicine could, but rather deadens you to the outside world, making you a good consumer, perhaps, but not exactly a self-fulfilled human being, one able and willing to accomplish their most desired goals in life. As you reach your 60s, in fact, after 40 years of such legally sanctioned pill-popping, you can't help but think that you inadvertently signed up for a lobotomy on the installment plan when you first entrusted your happiness to psychiatrists.
The state has won: You are now another pharmalogically cowed American who acknowledges the right of the state to control how -- and how much -- you're allowed to think and feel in this life.
How? By a lifelong campaign of propaganda. By shamelessly lying to you, both explicitly and above all implicitly, about so-called "drugs", first by telling you that such substances fry the brain, and second by insisting that drugs are bad in and of themselves, without regard for the way that they are used, and that such use always lead to addiction and sorrow.
How's that for irony? The psychiatric pill mill has rendered 1 in 4 American women dependent on Big Pharma meds in life, and yet we're told that the real villains of the piece are godsend medicines that have been used responsibly for millennia by human beings seeking self-improvement and self-transcendence in life, drugs which are all easier to kick than SSRIs, which muck about with brain chemistry, eventually establishing new psycho-chemical baselines that the long-term user finds it hard if not impossible to shake (as, for instance, the recidivism rate of long-term Effexor users who renounce the drug is 95% according to the NMIH).
Welcome to America's Drug War -- friend of the Stock Market and friend of law enforcement, but enemy of real living human beings with aspirations and hopes in life. It's the enemy of education as well, for it seeks to have us fear "drugs" rather than to understand how to use them as wisely as possible. Worse yet, it's the enemy of America, insofar as Jefferson founded this country on Natural Law, which gives us a right to the use of what Locke called "the earth and all that lies therein." That's why Thomas Jefferson was rolling in his grave when Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the ex-president's poppy plants.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
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