Of course, the title says it all: just as the Drug War demonizes plant medicines, it must also demonize those who dare to sell them. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if El Chapo himself was morally challenged (to put it mildly), but that is beside the point. The US CREATED the El Chapo's of the world by its colonialist war on plant medicines that are not popular in the west. Think of it: you criminalize plants worldwide that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia, and then you are shocked that there's violent pushback? The real villains are Richard Nixon and every racist US politician who insists that it makes sense to demonize plant medicine instead of studying it to learn how to ensure the safest possible use.
At any rate: here is the comment that I posted beneath Malcolm Beth's review of "El Chapo":
The Real Villain is the United States of America and its racist Drug War, which dictates to the world what plant medicines it can use -- thus establishing Christian Science as a world religion and violating natural law. The US is the colonialist bad guy who tells other countries to outlaw plant medicines that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia, so that the world can be safe for the two most deadly drugs of all: alcohol and tobacco. And when Drug Warriors aren't busy invading other countries on the pretext of enforcing these colonialist drug laws, they're reading books like "El Chapo" to get a thrill out of all the guns and violence that the Drug War itself brings into the world. Someday the world will wake up and realize that the Drug War itself is causing all the problems it purports to solve. Then we will exchange the Drug Enforcement Agency for the Drug Education Agency and start learning how to use plant medicines safely rather than to demonize them like so many fanatical Christian Scientists.
Author's Follow-up: July 11, 2022
I came close to dissing Anthony Blair of The Sun this morning for his sensational article on the "Golden Age of Cocaine," which struck me at first sight as drug-war agitprop. In fact, I even sent an angry Tweet (which I soon deleted) -- before I read the final paragraph or so, in which the comments by journalist and author Toby Muse somewhat appeased my angst about the article in question. Still, the overall effect of the article was to turn the Drug War into tabloid entertainment, thereby obscuring the fact that the "clans" about which we are reading were created out of whole cloth by substance prohibition. And why? So that the west could outlaw a substance that the Incas considered to be a god and that authors like HG Wells and Jules Verne considered to be indispensable to their success as authors.
To my relief (and embarrassment), Toby does admit at the end of this article that prohibition has been a colossal failure, with far more cocaine use going on today than Richard Nixon ever dreamt of 50 years ago. But Toby is still biased by Drug War ideology, for he suggests that countries need to do a better job in reducing the demand for such substances as cocaine. But that is wrong, for there is a real reason why folks want to use substances like the coca plant and other psychoactive meds: they want to transcend the limitations of the "sober" self, so to speak. Humanity has always sought to do that. Indeed, the psychoactive substances that we demonize today (like coca) have inspired entire religions. So it is a fool's task (not to mention the task of a despot) to try to get humanity to give up on the desire for self-transcendence and personal improvement.
The answer to the supposed "drug problem" (which the drug-war itself has created and turned into a scapegoat for all social problems) is to educate people about psychoactive medicines, not to demonize those medicines and incarcerate those who dare to use them in their search for personal or spiritual transcendence. For let's remember that the caveman strategy of America's Office of National Drug Control Policy is to REFUSE TO EVEN CONSIDER any positive uses for criminalized substances. In other words, the ONDCP is a state instrument of Drug War propaganda, one dedicated to keeping the world ignorant about meds that have inspired entire religions.
Time for education, not criminalization; facts, not fear.
Author's Follow-up: April 1, 2023
Americans would not have much entertainment if it were not for drug prohibition. Most cops shows would not exist, because the police would run out of heads to crack. We need prohibition to incentivize exciting violence. It's kind of funny, when you think how Drug Warriors say it's wrong to glorify drugs, but they have no problem in glorifying the violence that drug prohibition creates. In fact, most movies and cops shows make it seem like you're a nobody if you do not pack heat.
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
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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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war 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.
PPS 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."
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
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press