Essay date: September 18, 2020

Dirty Minded Drug Warriors

How drug war propaganda turns Americans into children viz psychoactive plant medicine

1988 court ruling gave Native Americans the right to use peyote in worship. Native Americans only, mind, not Caucasians, nor African-Americans, nor Hispanics, nor Jews. Why not? (Wait for it, folks...) Because these latter groups do not have a history of religious peyote use.

Huh? Elizabeth, I'm comin' to join ya!

Only imagine: a court telling you that you cannot engage in a religious practice because your ancestors never found it necessary to do so. Pope Leo X should have rolled out a papal bull to that effect back in 1521 and he could have forestalled the entire Reformation. "Sorry, Martin Luther, but your descendants have no history of being saved by grace, so you must continue to find your salvation in DEEDS just like the rest of us, thank you very much."

The Conquistadores certainly never required that the Aztecs demonstrate a family history of Christian worship before welcoming them into the faith. To the contrary, the Spanish warriors downright insisted on the heathens becoming Christian or else.

This, of course, is all par for the tyrannical course.

The surprising part of this story is that many Native Americans agree with the judicial ruling mentioned above (though not necessarily with the "reasoning" behind it), contending that non-native Americans do not have the correct mind set to use peyote with due reverence.

Now, I loathe both the court ruling and the racial prejudice that informs it, and yet the Native Americans in question have a valid and a very telling point.

Non-native Americans are like little children when it comes to "drugs." They have been taught to consider the use of mother nature's psychoactive medicines as prima facie evidence of hedonism and "getting high." And so when they see a Native American using a "drug" for religious purposes, the non-native is kind of like a little kid in an art museum pointing at the statue of David and saying: "Aww, he's nekkid, dude!" - only in our case, the childish little kid is saying: "Aww! He's getting high, dude!! Tee-hee-hee!"

I encounter this childish attitude when a fellow Caucasian finds out inadvertently that I'm publishing a website called "Abolish the DEA dot com." They usually respond in a kind of awed and conspiratorial voice, as if to tell me: "Oh, yeah, dude, drugs! You're all about partying hearty and gettin' it on! I gotcha! Wink, wink, wink!"

And I'm thinking to myself: "No, dude. I am all about the restoration of natural law, the re-legalization of plants, and the overthrow of America's State Religion, i.e. Christian Science."

But America is under the spell of Drug War propaganda which insists that Mother Nature's psychoactive plant medicines can only be used for "getting high." And that mindset is constantly re-enforced by books, magazines, news, TV shows, and movies, all of which studiously ban the positive depiction of illegal "drug use" and simply remove from the history books any references to, say, Freud's use of cocaine, or Benjamin Franklin's use of opium, or Plato's use of psychedelics in the Eleusinian Mysteries. (Of course, JFK's use of "speed," as Monty Python would put it, is "right out.")

This propaganda of omission has turned Americans into little children with respect to psychoactive substances, and in two ways:

First, by convincing us that we could never possibly learn to use such substances wisely, that we are children for life as far as that is concerned; and second, by convincing us that banned psychoactive substances can only be used for naughty purposes.

If the latter proposition is true, then we non-natives can, indeed, only sit back and snicker at the profound ceremonies of the First Americans, thinking to ourselves, "Religion, indeed! Ha ha!"

In short, we are dirty minded, just like the child tittering foolishly in front of Michelangelo's masterpiece.

Given this state of affairs, one can almost say that the judicial ruling mentioned above was actually right, though certainly not for the absurd reasons that were adduced by the blatantly racist judge in the case. Non-natives cannot be allowed to use peyote in religious ceremonies. Why not? Because they are simply too immature to do so reverently. Drug War propaganda has seen to that.

Of course, there's an even bigger threat to the respectful use of sacred substances such as peyote, and that is capitalism itself. If non-natives can use peyote, then the substance could presumably be marketed freely, in which case irreverent advertising would not be far behind. But that's a topic for another essay.

Previous essay: The Philosophy of Drug Use

More Essays Here

old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

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. 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.

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.

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
  • 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
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • 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
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • 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
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at