Essay date: February 3, 2023

Drug War? What Drug War?

how scientists pretend that the drug war does not exist

hen Galileo was censored by the church in 1633 for his heliocentric views on astronomy, he knew he was censored. The Chief Inquisitor, Father Vincenzo Maculani, left no doubt about that. Not only was Galileo sentenced to house arrest, but many of his writings were banned and he had to publicly renounce his ecclesiastically incorrect views. He was even forced to recite The Seven Penitential Psalms once a week for three years.1 (That'll teach him!)

His fate has since become a cause célèbre for scientists everywhere, who bristle at modern-day restrictions on their own research, always with this 17th-century backstory in mind. "Never again" seems to be their motto as they scoff at the benighted clerics of the past.

What they fail to realize, however, is that science today is censored every bit as much as it was censored in Galileo's time. In fact, today's censorship is worse because it is self-censorship on behalf of an ideology: namely, the ideology of the Drug War, which tells us that most psychoactive substances have no positive uses whatsoever, not for anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason, at any dose, ever. The fact is, of course, that there are no such substances in the world. To say otherwise is to ignore both science and history. Even cyanide has positive uses. Moreover, some of the medicines that we're talking about here (like soma, coca and ayahuasca) have inspired entire religions. How can they not be without reasonable uses?

Meanwhile, psychedelic medicines can increase neuronal connectivity and even grow new neurons in the brain, but scientists are highly discouraged from following up such leads, since the outlawing of such substances scares away most potential research funders, including the government itself. But the Drug Warrior's claim that psychoactive substances have no good uses is a self-fulfilling prophecy, for Drug War prohibition keeps scientists from looking for the very positive uses which the Drug Warrior has told us do not exist.

For some concrete examples of how scientists ignore the Drug War, consider the following articles about the mind from Science News. None of these articles even mention the existence of the Drug War, let alone the fact that it outlaws hundreds of psychoactive medicines whose considered use could change the very way that we think about the brain and consciousness. These articles are therefore written without the customary scientific disclosure. The authors are pretending to write from a natural baseline, when the government has actually forced them to look for only certain kinds of answers to their scientific questions, namely those that promote a materialist view of the mind, of consciousness, and of the world at large.

Recent Science News articles about human psychology and the mind

"Psychology has struggled for a century to make sense of the mind"2
MY COMMENT: No wonder, considering that the Drug War has outlawed all the medicines that can give us experiential hints about the nature of mind and consciousness. William James' entire philosophy was inspired by his use of laughing gas3, yet today's scientists and philosophers are forbidden from following up his work because the Drug War will not allow them to "go there."

"50 years ago, an experimental drug hinted at serotonin's many roles in the brain"4
MY COMMENT: The author who cites these experimental "hints" from the 1970s fails to tell us that such research (combined with Drug War prohibition) eventually led to the biggest pharmacological dystopia of all time, thanks to which 1 in 4 American women are now dependent on Big Pharma "meds" for life. Once again, we see the propaganda of omission at work in the Drug War.

"Our brains, our future -- how we might heal our brains"5
MY COMMENT: Spoiler alert: the healing in question will not be provided by those naughty medicines that politicians have told us have no good uses whatsoever.

"Brain Zapping Implants are inching closer to reality"6
MY COMMENT: I think I'd say that they're "creeping" closer to reality instead. Scientists muck about with implants and zap the brain, but they will not even consider the possibility of using time-honored medicine to improve mood. This brain zapping sounds like a "kinder, gentler version of Electroshock therapy" to me, which amazingly is still used today. ECT is a crime against humanity in the age of the Drug War, since we never use such treatment as a last resort, but rather because our government has forbidden the use of godsend substances that have cheered up entire societies (like the Inca with coca) and inspired entire religions (like the Vedic with soma).

"Brain discoveries open doors to new treatments"7
MY COMMENT: Materialists continue to cast about for "new" treatments, while the mere existence of time-honored old treatments is no longer even acknowledged. Career advancement first, after all, science second.

"U.S. drug deaths dipped in 2018, but cocaine and meth overdoses rose"8
MY COMMENT: The only time that Science News comes close to mentioning the Drug War is when they publish an alarmist article on "drug use," in which they uncritically promote the view that the use of demonized psychoactive substances can only lead to despair and death.

Yes, Science News does publish the occasional upbeat story about the potential use of psychedelics to help the depressed, but they continue to play ball with the Drug War by implying (mostly by the omission of all contrary facts) that demonized substances really do have no good uses for anyone ever. That's not just a lie, but it's an anti-scientific lie, one that a scientific organization should not countenance.

Why this lack of concern about the Drug War that's killing Mexicans even as we speak and causing record crime sprees in inner cities thanks to the incentivization of violent black markets?

The roaring silence from scientists no doubt springs in part from the fact that they have a materialist bias and so are in no hurry to sign off on substances whose use simply makes a depressed person feel good. Materialists do not care if someone feels good, they want to know if they REALLY feel good, by which they mean, "Do we see the relevant changes in brain chemicals?" That's why psychiatrist Dr. Robert Glatter could ask with a straight face in his 2021 article in Forbes magazine, "Can laughing gas help with treatment resistant depression?"


In preparation for writing an objective book about coca in 1901, author W. Golden Mortimer sent out 10,000 queries "to professors in the several medical colleges, and to those prominent in local medical societies," in order to learn their thoughts about the properties of coca. This was before the "official" beginning of the Drug War in 1914, when the Harrison Narcotics Act first violated natural law by effectively outlawing a plant medicine, namely opium. And yet a sizable percentage of the author's respondents were already approaching the topic from a "moral" point of view, telling Mortimer that he was wrong to be publishing such a factual book because it might lead to more use of a substance whose use conduced only to immorality. Some of the respondents held this view although they readily admitted that they had no firsthand knowledge of the drug whatsoever, but had "a vague fear of insidious danger which they were not prepared to explain, and even preferred not to inquire into."9

It's odd how many scientists assume moral airs when it comes to the study of naturally occurring medicines and yet they have no problem whatsoever with the ongoing scientific study of weapons of mass destruction, like thermonuclear bombs, such as the one that was accidentally dropped on Goldsboro, North Carolina in the '60s. (You know, the H-bomb which came close to obliterating at least half of the East Coast of America, Washington, DC included). When it comes to technology, we're told that it can't be stopped, that its ongoing widespread use is inevitable - but when it comes to medicines that have inspired entire religions, we're told that it's immoral to even understand them. For in the age of Drug War censorship, science is a handmaiden of the government, advancing its pernicious policy of substance demonization. As long as modern scientists are in denial of this fact, they have no right to get on a high horse about the Church's treatment of Galileo in 17th-century Rome.

Next essay: Why Scientists are not qualified to study the effects of DMT
Previous essay: Using Ecstasy in Church

More Essays Here

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The Problem with Following the Science
Doctor Feel Bad
How the Drug War Blinds us to Godsend Medicine
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
The Lopsided Focus on the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs
How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Why Scientists are not qualified to study the effects of DMT
Science Set Free... NOT!
How Scientific American reckons without the drug war

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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.

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)
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