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Declaration of Independence from the War on Drugs

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 24, 2023

The following Declaration of Independence from the War on Drugs is inspired by Julian Buchanan's lists of Drug War downsides, as well as on the Declaration of Sentiments of 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention on behalf of the rights of women.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to reassert their right to the bounty of Mother Nature and to their sovereignty over their own minds and mental states, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are the right to the use of the land and all that lies therein and to sovereignty over their own moods and their own minds; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of Americans under the Drug War, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the abolition of the same. The history of the Drug War is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of government toward citizens, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over them. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

Now, in view of this disfranchisement of minorities and the unjust practices above mentioned, and because Americans do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate re-admission to all the rights and privileges which belonged to them as citizens of the United States before the Drug War began denying us access to Mother Nature and sovereignty over our own mind and mood.

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf.


WHEREAS, John Locke in his Second Treatise on Government remarks, "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being," and whereas no injustice is more patently intolerable than the governmental control of how, and how much, a citizen is allowed to think and feel... Therefore,

That such laws as conflict, in any way, with our natural right to the bounty of Mother Nature are contrary to the great precept of nature and of no validity, for this is "superior in obligation to any other."

That all laws which deny us the right to control our own thought processes and mood are by definition tyrannical and contrary to Natural Law, and therefore of no force or authority.

That drugs are neither good nor bad. That they are neither moral snares nor panaceas. That they are given to us by nature to be used as deemed best according to our own philosophy of life, and not that of our government, least of all a government that would have us profess the anti-drug doctrine of Mary Baker Eddy and her church of Christian Science.

That drug testing should be employed only when necessary, and then only in order to identify officially impaired individuals. It should not be used as an extrajudicial fishing expedition to locate mere traces of substances of which politicians disapprove.

That the entire purpose of Natural Law is to prevent the infringement of those most basic of rights, than which nothing could be more fundamental than our right to control our own moods and thought processes.

That it is the duty of all Americans to secure to themselves their sacred rights as vouchsafed them by the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America. For although Reagan may have ignored Natural Law, he did not overthrow it.

That the speedy success of our cause depends upon the zealous and untiring efforts of both men and women, of all races, creeds, and colors, for the overthrow of the Drug War mentality of substance demonization and the re-legalization of Mother Nature's bounty and the godsend medicines that may be derived therefrom.

That problematic drug use should be treated as a health problem, and that pharmacologically savvy empaths should be permitted and empowered to treat such issues with or without drugs, in accordance with the desires and goals of the sufferer and not in furtherance of a hypocritically defined "sobriety" and the Christian Science agenda of the State.

That should anyone doubt the sufficiency of these resolutions, let them consider the plight of the poor and minorities, against whom the Drug War has been most obviously directed, as can be shown by the fact that America has the largest per capita prison population in the world, most of them minorities, at least 20% of whom are in jail for drug-related offenses.

That drugs should be made available on a non-profit basis so that potential users can make decisions about use based on facts and not based on advertisements that are designed to psychologically manipulate the would-be user into buying a given substance.

That no policy which results in the election of anti-democratic presidents should be part of the American experience, no matter how loud the many beneficiaries of the Drug War (the military, police forces, Big Pharma, psychiatry, the corrections industry, etc.) scream in defense of the bloody and corrupt status quo, for Natural Law itself precludes their right to deprive us of our basic rights to control our mental states and to have access to the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

March 24, 2023
This document is a work in progress. Brian is adding new charges against the Drug War on an almost daily basis, in an effort to enumerate the seemingly endless downsides of the War on Drugs: which should rather be called the war on Blacks, the war on minorities, the war on Mother Nature's godsend medicines, or the war to control human consciousness. The Drug War can also be fairly called the enforcement of Christian Science sharia and the unlawful establishment of that religion as the law of the land, and indeed now of the world. One almost hopes that we never inhabit other planets, since the DEA is sure to outlaw all psychoactive godsends that we might discover there.

Author's Follow-up: March 24, 2023

This Declaration is written in America by an American, but unfortunately the Drug War ideology is America's most successful export, since governments around the world are always looking for ways to control their populations -- or else they're pressured into following Drug War etiquette by a kind of blackmail: in exchange for loans and trade relations -- and in some cases to forestall invasions -- countries are forced to play ball with the know-nothing anti-citizen policies of the so-called War on Drugs, which, as Dawn Paley points out, is an absurd misnomer, since one cannot fight a war against substances -- unless we count the fact that the US, in its fanaticism, has attempted to physically eradicate the plants of which it disapproves, in the same way that police sought to eradicate books in "Fahrenheit 451," the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. Rather, the War on Drugs is a War on Citizens, and above all the poor and minorities. In the US that mainly means Blacks; in Latin America, it means mainly those poor ethnic groups that want no part of unfettered capitalism. So the US talks about drugs as a pretense, but then cracks down only in the places that they want to make safe for Big Box stores.

America cannot survive much more of the Drug War. It has already resulted in the election of a fascist, who may yet "take power" again and begin executing minorities and overtly invading countries in Latin America, under the pretense of waging a war against time-honored medicines.

Next essay: Time to Glorify Drug Use
Previous essay: The Criminalization of Nitrous Oxide is No Laughing Matter

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Addiction Tweets

ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
Until we get rid of all these obstacles to safe and informed use, it's presumptuous to explain problematic drug use with theories about addiction. Drug warriors are rigging the deck in favor of problematic use. They refuse to even TEACH non-problematic use.
Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Chesterton might as well have been speaking about the word 'addiction' when he wrote the following: "It is useless to have exact figures if they are exact figures about an inexact phrase."
The government causes problems for those who are habituated to certain drugs. Then they claim that these problems are symptoms of an illness. Then folks like Gabriel Mate come forth to find the "hidden pain" in "addicts." It's one big morality play created by drug laws.
Chesterton wrote that, once you begin outlawing things on grounds of health, you open a Pandora's box. This is because health is not a quality, it's a balance. To decide legality based on 'health' grounds thus opens a Pandora's box of different points of view.
Using the billions now spent on caging users, we could end the whole phenomena of both physical and psychological addiction by using "drugs to fight drugs." But drug warriors do not want to end addiction, they want to keep using it as an excuse to ban drugs.
Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic.
And this is before we even start spending those billions on research that are currently going toward arresting minorities.
When doctors try to treat addiction without using any godsend medicines, they are at best Christian Scientists and at worst quacks. They are like the doctors in Moliere's "M
As Moliere demonstrated in the hilarious finale, anyone can be THAT kind of doctor by mastering a little Latin and walking around pompously in the proper uniform.
Like the pompous white-coated doctor in the movie "Four Good Days" who ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.

Prohibition Tweets

Democratic societies need to outlaw prohibition for many reasons, the first being the fact that prohibition removes millions of minorities from the voting rolls, thereby handing elections to fascists and insurrectionists.
When folks die in horse-related accidents, we need to be asking: who sold the victim the horse? We've got to crack down on folks who peddle this junk -- and ban books like Black Beauty that glamorize horse use.
Today's Washington Post reports that "opioid pills shipped" DROPPED 45% between 2011 and 2019..... while fatal overdoses ROSE TO RECORD LEVELS! Prohibition is PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE.
The goal of drug-law reform should be to outlaw prohibition. Anything short of that, and our basic rights will always be subject to veto by fearmongers. Outlawing prohibition would restore the Natural Law of Jefferson, which the DEA scorned in 1987 with its raid on Monticello.
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."
Prohibition turned habituation into addiction by creating a wide variety of problems for users, including potential arrest, tainted or absent drug supply, and extreme stigmatization.
If we let "science" decide about drugs, i.e. base freedom on health concerns, then tea can be as easily outlawed as beer. The fact that horses are not illegal shows that prohibition is not about health. It's about the power to outlaw certain "ways of being in the world."
The formula is easy: pick a substance that folks are predisposed to hate anyway, then keep hounding the public with stories about tragedies somehow related to that substance. Show it ruining lives in movies and on TV. Don't lie. Just keep showing all the negatives.
Then folks like Sabet will accuse folks like myself of ignoring the "facts." No, it is Sabet who is ignoring the facts -- facts about dangerous horses and free climbing. He's also ignoring all the downsides of prohibition, whose laws lead to the election of tyrants.
That's the problem with prohibition. It is not ultimately a health question but a question about priorities and sensibilities -- and those topics are open to lively debate and should not be the province of science, especially when natural law itself says mother nature is ours.
I personally hate beets and I could make a health argument against their legality. Beets can kill for those allergic to them. Sure, it's a rare condition, but since when has that stopped a prohibitionist from screaming bloody murder?
I can think of no greater intrusion than to deny one autonomy over how they think and feel in life. It is sort of a meta-intrusion, the mother of all anti-democratic intrusions.
Enforced by the blatantly rights-crushing solicitation of urine from the king's subjects, as if to underscore the fact that your very digestive system is controlled by the state.
Until prohibition ends, rehab is all about enforcing a Christian Science attitude toward psychoactive medicines (with the occasional hypocritical exception of Big Pharma meds).
Philip Jenkins reports that Rophynol had positive uses for treating mental disorders until the media called it the "date rape drug." We thus punished those who were benefitting from the drug, tho' the biggest drug culprit in date rape is alcohol. Oprah spread the fear virally.
This is the "Oprah fallacy," which has led to so much suffering. She told women they were fools if they accepted a drink from a man. That's crazy. If we are terrified by such a statistically improbable event, we should be absolutely horrified by horses and skateboards.
This hysterical reaction to rare negative events actually creates more rare negative events. This is why the DEA publicizes "drug problems," because by making them well known, they make the problems more prevalent and can thereby justify their huge budget.
The Partnership for a Death Free America is launching a campaign to celebrate the 50th year of Richard Nixon's War on Drugs. We need to give credit where credit's due for the mass arrest of minorities, the inner city gun violence and the civil wars that it's generated overseas.
In 1886, coca enthusiast JJ Tschudi referred to prohibitionists as 'kickers.' He wrote: "If we were to listen to these kickers, most of us would die of hunger, for the reason that nearly everything we eat or drink has fallen under their ban."
Drug Warriors never take responsibility for incentivizing poor kids throughout the west to sell drugs. It's not just in NYC and LA, it's in modest-sized towns in France. Find public housing, you find drug dealing. It's the prohibition, damn it!
I don't believe in the materialist paradigm upon which SSRIs were created, according to which humans are interchangeable chemical robots amenable to the same treatment for human sadness. Let me use laughing gas and MDMA and coca and let the materialists use SSRIs.
What prohibitionists forget is that every popular but dangerous activity, from horseback riding to drug use, will have its victims. You cannot save everybody, and when you try to do so by law, you kill far more than you save, meanwhile destroying democracy in the process.
Prohibition is based on two huge lies: 1) that there are no benefits to drug use; and 2) that there are no downsides to prohibition.
The 1932 movie "Scarface" starts with on-screen text calling for a crackdown on armed gangs in America. There is no mention of the fact that a decade's worth of Prohibition had created those gangs in the first place.
The worst form of government is not communism, socialism or even unbridled capitalism. The worst form of government is a Christian Science Theocracy, in which the government controls how much you are allowed to think and feel in life.
The Shipiba have learned to heal human beings physically, psychologically and spiritually with what they call "onanyati," plant allies and guides, such as Bobinsana, which "envelops seekers in a cocoon of love." You know: what the DEA would call "junk."
And where did politicians get the idea that irresponsible white American young people are the only stakeholders when it comes to the question of re-legalizing drugs??? There are hundreds of millions of other stakeholders: philosophers, pain patients, the depressed.
Yes, BUT when they say "drugs plus therapy," they don't mean drugs in general. They mean a small selection of drugs that pass muster with pharmacologically clueless politicians.
I agree that Big Pharma drugs have wrought disaster when used in psychotherapy -- but it is common sense that non-Big Pharma drugs that elate could be used to prevent suicide and obviate the need for ECT.
There are a potentially vast number of non-addictive drugs that could be used strategically in therapy. They elate and "free the tongue" to help talk therapy really work. Even "addictive" drugs can be used non-addictively, prohibitionist propaganda notwithstanding.
We need to start thinking of drug-related deaths like we do about car accidents: They're terrible, and yet they should move us to make driving safer, not to outlaw driving. To think otherwise is to swallow the drug war lie that "drugs" can have no positive uses.
The DEA outlawed MDMA in 1985, thereby depriving soldiers of a godsend treatment for PTSD. Apparently, the DEA staff slept well at night in the early 2000s as American soldiers were having their lives destroyed by IEDs.
Imagine someone starting their book about antibiotics by saying that he's not trying to suggest that we actually use them. We should not have to apologize for being honest about drugs. If prohibitionists think that honesty is wrong, that's their problem.
I, for one, am actually TRYING to recommend drugs like MDMA and psilocybin as substitutes for shock therapy. In fact, I would recommend almost ANY pick-me-up drug as an alternative to knowingly damaging the human brain. That's more than the hateful DEA can say.
A pharmacologically savvy drug dealer would have no problem getting someone off one drug because they would use the common sense practice of fighting drugs with drugs. But materialist doctors would rather that the patient suffer than to use such psychologically obvious methods.
If there's any doubt about this, check out the 2021 article in Forbes in which a materialist doctor professes to doubt whether laughing gas could help the depressed. Materialists are committed to seeing the world from the POV of Spock from Star Trek.
If the depressed patient laughs, that means nothing. Materialists have to see results under a microscopic or they will never sign off on a therapy.
Oregon's drug policy is incoherent and cruel. The rich and healthy spend $4,000 a week on psilocybin. The poor and chemically dependent are thrown in jail, unless they're on SSRIs, in which case they're congratulated for "taking their meds."
Prohibitionists have blood on their hands. People do not naturally die in the tens of thousands from opioid use, notwithstanding the lies of 19th-century missionaries in China. It takes bad drug policy to accomplish that.

William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

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You have been reading an article entitled, Declaration of Independence from the War on Drugs published on March 24, 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)