Essay date: November 12, 2019

Harold & Kumar Support the Drug War

How Hollywood comedies support fascist drug war superstitions

've already found leisure to dilate on the anti-democratic impact of drug-war movies like "Running with the Devil," in which the DEA agent is the (ahem) "hero" who combats those bad guy plant sellers by torturing them and shooting them in cold blood. Although this kind of movie deserves to be panned for its ideological toxicity, don't hold your breath waiting for movie critics to bash the movie on that score. And as far as parental watch dog groups are concerned, count on them to lambaste such pics for nudity, violence, and naughty words, but don't expect to hear a peep from them about the pro-fascist message of such DEA propaganda. Johnny must not swear, of course, but if he wants to torture and murder folks who traffic in Mother Nature's plants, more power to him.

But there is another genre of pictures that helps sell the pro-fascist Drug War sensibility to gullible Americans: namely, comedies such as "Harold & Kumar go to White Castle," in which illegal plant substances are uniquely associated with sexual abandon and blatant irresponsibility. Such films would be innocuous enough in a culture that spoke honestly about drugs -- that recognized both their benefits and ills -- but in our drug-war society, which dogmatically recognizes only the misuse of outlawed substances, such movies reinforce the Drug Warrior supposition that there is no sensible reason to use the plants that the government has chosen to criminalize. So as Neil Patrick Harris snorts cocaine off the tush of a pole dancer while driving Harold's car through off-road vegetation, one can just hear the "lock-em-up" conservative in the audience saying to himself: "You see? Aren't drugs just the worst thing in the world?!" And so we lie to ourselves to keep this Drug War myth going. We ignore responsible use of banished plants and erase such use from history.

Nowhere is this historical revisionism more striking than in the case of Freud's use of cocaine, because, properly considered, Freud's cocaine use calls into question most of modern psychiatry's pieties (such as "no pain, no gain," "we must treat the REAL causes," "feel-good drugs are bad," etc.) It begs the question: if Freud fought off fatigue and depression with cocaine, abjuring theoretical psychoanalysis for that purpose, and thereby amassing a prolific vocational output that led to an unprecedented degree of self-actualization in his life, why should the rest of us be forced by law to treat our similar problems with the latest popular theoretical therapy? Why can't we, too, avail ourselves of the real politik of plant-based therapy to attain self-fulfillment?

Of course, the modern psychiatrist will chide: "But that's just treating the symptoms, that's not treating the REAL illness," to which we say "So what?" Despite materialist claims to the contrary, we do not know any one single cause for depression and fatigue, and indeed it is thanks to our determination to find this highly improbable El Dorado that we now have a nation of addicts, addicted to pills that claimed (falsely as it turns out) to correct a chemical imbalance peculiar to the depressed.

Besides, isn't the goal of psychiatry to grant the patient a life of self-actualization? In that case, cocaine worked a treat for Freud, not by giving him that self-fulfillment directly (not by targeting some supposititious self-fulfillment chemical!), but by arousing in him the psychophysical baseline condition that permitted him to succeed on his own. That was not a copout for Freud, but if we insist on calling it so, then God grant us all such a copout that leads to professional self-fulfillment in life.

Back to H&K:

A cop says: "I just found enough dope in the car to put these skateboard punks in jail for the next couple of years."

And the Drug Warrior in the audience cheers.

But think how costly this sense of satisfaction is : By putting away punks, we have denied godsend medicines to the elderly, the depressed, the victims of PTSD.

It's this focus on punishing (and/or protecting) punks through substance prohibition -- aided by Hollywood's selective depiction of drug use as exclusively hedonistic -- that denies the psychologically desperate the plant medicines that could make their lives livable, often enjoyable, again.

God grant Americans can someday be satisfied with punishing a punk's bad actions alone, not their mere possession of plants. That way, when we do punish them, we're not also punishing the psychologically needy as we do today, forcing them by law to eschew mother nature's therapies in favor of addictive Big Pharma pills that need to be taken every single day for life.

The protection and/or punishment of the punks of the world must stop taking precedence over the psychological needs and, indeed, rights of the vast majority of humanity, for we're not talking about privileges here: we're talking about the resurrection of the earthling's natural birthright to the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet.

Author's Follow-up: September 10, 2022

It will be objected that Freud himself renounced cocaine after his excessive use of the drug became habit-forming and so cocaine really is devil spawn -- but this is typical drug-war reasoning. One begins by using a substance without proper knowledge of it, and then when downsides ensue, the user blames them on the drug rather than on their lack of education about the substance in question. Thus Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an inveterate explorer of the psychoactive world, blamed opium for his addiction after he began engaging in the excessive use of laudanum. Again, this is typical drug-war mentality: we place the blame for our bad outcomes on substances rather than on the ignorance that rendered the substances harmful. This leads to a vicious circle in which we begin outlawing all kinds of psychoactive substances, thereby outlawing meds which, in a sane world, could be used by an empathic and pharmacologically savvy empath to counter the habituating effects of the drugs upon which we have become reliant.

Anyway, there are plenty of well-known coca users who used the drug wisely and did not become addicts -- or, if they did, they found the coca use to be no more problematic than their daily cup of coffee. Such users should really be referred to by the non-judgmental term of "habitue," not the censorious and hence political term "addict." HG Wells and Jules Verne wrote their beloved stories "on" coca wine, a drink which was also a favorite of Henrik Ibsen and Alexandre Dumas, and Arthur Conan Doyle produced a beloved superhero sleuth whose laser-like mental focus was unapologetically ascribed to the wonders of the coca plant (the same kind of medicine that the Partnership for a Drug Free America tells us will fry our brains!) Yet America leads the world in dogmatically eschewing this godsend plant medicine under the anti-scientific theory that medicines like that are somehow bad in themselves, without regard for how they are used. For what is the definition of "drug" in modern times but "a substance that has no justifiable uses: not here, not now, not for you, not for me, not for anyone, ever, at any time whatsoever."

The fact is there are no such substances in the entire world -- even the deadly Botox can be beneficial in specific cases -- and until the world wakes up to this obvious truth, Drug Warriors will continue to militarize the world in their Quixotic attempt to outlaw psychoactive godsends.

Next essay: Plants Divine, All Plants Excelling
Previous essay: How Variety and its film critics support drug war fascism

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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

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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)

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