Essay date: March 3, 2020

Drug Warriors Fiddle while Rome Gets Nuked

the world is on the brink of nuclear winter and clueless drug warriors battle plants

f beer-swilling Drug Warriors are fidgety and want to dedicate themselves to a cause other than Drug War colonialism and the overthrow of natural law in America, they might consider channelling their hypocritical hyperactivity toward the worthy goal of preventing nuclear winter. Readers familiar with Ellsberg's "Doomsday Machine" and Schlosser's "Command and Control" know that we are sitting on a time bomb thanks to the proliferation of thermonuclear weapons - weapons for which the Hiroshima A-bomb is simply a fuse.

Yet, somehow the big enemies today are all of mother nature's godsend plants. (Huh?)

In short, our priorities are about as wrong as they can be. We ignore one ginormous problem in order to focus on a problem of our own making: namely, the violence and unrest that naturally results from outlawing naturally occurring substances (not to mention the needless suffering of billions of mortals, forced to go without medicines that have emotionally solaced humanity for millennia).

Have you ever heard of the Damascus Incident, that nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated a third of the country? How about the nuclear bomb that landed on Goldsboro, North Carolina and miraculously failed to detonate?

An intelligent people would be grateful for these narrow escapes and demonstrate that gratitude by implementing major reforms, the exact same reforms that would have been demanded by an outraged public had either of these potential catastrophes actually taken place: reforms involving the end of nuclear proliferation with the goal of outlawing such weapons universally. If America needs to flex its muscles overseas, this would give it a chance to do so in a moral cause, rather than in the colonialist folly of telling other countries which plants they are allowed to consume.

Yet America's Congress and its military have conspired to hush up the fact that we are living on borrowed time. Meanwhile, they distract us with a Quixotic scheme to prevent the use of any plant substance that poses a threat to liquor distributors.

Ironically, I believe that nature's psychoactive plants, far from being our enemies, are the only hope for humankind. I know that a number of old-school psychedelic enthusiasts now consider themselves to have been naïve for positing that LSD and such could bring about world peace. But I say to them, not so fast. How can we pronounce on the merits of an enterprise that drug-law has thus far forbidden us to meaningfully undertake? That LSD is not an answer in itself I can readily grant. But there are thousands of psychoactive plants out there, many of which could (especially in the proper "set and setting") restore to the human creature the ability to feel deep empathy for its fellows.*

Far from banning such research, we should be fast-tracking and encouraging it, with a goal of nothing less than saving the human race from its own other-hating disposition.

For, given the dicey "situation on the ground" right now viz nukes, I believe our only real hope is to pharmacologically alter human beings such that they all feel a deep natural empathy for each other. And there is every reason to believe that plant medicines, wisely chosen and wisely employed, can go far in accomplishing this task. When a human being is sick, you give it medicine; likewise when an entire species is sick.

I ask those who demur to suggest a more promising strategy to get humanity out of this booby-trapped world that we've created for ourselves.

For me, at least, the cliché is proving itself to be true: "All you need is love." That's truly all the human species needs to survive. What we've failed to realize, however, is that this love is not optional. Without sincere inner love for each other, the human race's days are numbered. And anyone who thinks that this love can be brought about without the help of mother nature's medicines is even madder than the normal human crackpot. Nor is there any reason to reject the freely offered help of mother nature in this regard, unless, like the Drug Warrior, we have a Christian Science disdain for the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

In which case, I ask the Drug Warrior to look at all of the trembling, inexperienced, lackadaisical and grumpy fingers on the nuclear trigger these days and ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do you, punk?

*Of course, you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Check out this article entitled "What Would Happen If Everyone Truly Believed Everything Is One," by Scott Barry Kaufman in Scientific American.


If I were a doctor and the world came to me asking to be cured of its suicidal tendencies, I would start by prescribing it MDMA (aka Ecstasy). That drug brought together all races in the UK in the late '80s to create the peaceful feel-good music scene known as the rave.

In the words of DJ Ray Keith:

It was the first time that black-and-white people had integrated on a level, they were all popping Es, and everybody was one.


Unfortunately, the Drug War always ruins such things, as part of the following self-fulfilling prophecy:

Criminalization of drugs like Ecstasy makes it impossible to use those substances in the safest possible way, since even research on these substances is banned. Then when this anti-scientific situation results in a death (as when Leah Betts dies from hydration issues after taking E), the Drug Warriors use that as a reason to continue the Drug War. Why? Because they have the Drug Warrior habit of blaming substances for problems rather than people, societies, and social attitudes.

The Brits at the time put up stark black billboards across the nation with the single word "Sorted" on it -- above a picture of Leah Betts as a happy-go-lucky grade schooler, beneath which in tiny print was a phrase stating that Leah had been killed by one single, solitary little E tablet. The message: the evil drug known as Ecstasy killed Leah Betts.

Nonsense. Ecstasy in this case was merely what Aristotle would call the Efficient cause of Leah's death, the cause which simply tells us how things happen but not why. The real reason for Leah's death, what Aristotle calls the Final cause, was the Drug War itself. Why? Because it made it impossible to research the drug and provide information on its safe use. Instead, the Drug War demonizes illegal substances, criminalizing their mere study, so that no basic safety information can be shared with users, information that in this case would have saved Leah's life.

MDMA is one of the least dangerous drugs in the world, when used properly -- but the Drug War makes such substances impossible to use properly because no one is allowed to so much as study them (though happily in the case of MDMA, folks at MAPS and elsewhere have found ways around those prohibitions). Do a safety comparison between MDMA and liquor and you'll see the biggest shut-out in research history -- with liquor facilitating countless deaths compared to one or two anomalous deaths caused by MDMA, with all those latter deaths being easily avoidable in a world where drug safety information is encouraged, not suppressed.

And the result of this anti-scientific demonization? The drug of choice at raves switches from Ecstasy to crack cocaine and the ambience switches from peace and love to gangsters and gunfire. And so the UK's version of "The Summer of Love" was followed by a decade of hate and gun violence. And so the Drug War is at it again, manufacturing violence out of whole cloth.

As rave security expert Adrian Saint observes:

And the problem then is... it's a different ambience. It's, all the gangsters come out. It turned from a lovely, "Ah, rave, everybody just cuddle," to actually now everyone's a gangster.

And all because of the absurd anti-scientific Drug War that turns amoral substances into scapegoats for bad social policies, like the Drug War itself: a policy that keeps us willfully ignorant about substances, under the absurd belief that drugs become pure evil the moment they are criminalized by politicians.

July 9, 2022

Then there was the Rogue Star incident of March 1968 in which a Soviet nuclear sub almost nuked Pearl Harbor.

Next essay: Open Letter to Gabrielle Glaser
Previous essay: The Myth of the Addictive Personality

More Essays Here

end America's disgraceful drug war: visit to learn more

No Drug War Keychains

The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)

Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

The Drug War Censors Science

Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.

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)

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