How Scientific American reckons without the drug war
in response to 'A Talking Cure for Psychosis' by Matthew M. Kurtz
open letter to Professor Matthew M. Kurtz, in response to 'A Talking Cure for Psychosis' in the March 2023 print edition of 'Scientific American'
Dear Professor Kurtz:
When we say that drugs by themselves have not solved the problem of psychosis, I think we must specify which drugs we are talking about. As you know, we live in a country in which almost all psychoactive medicine is outlawed. So when we say that "drugs are ineffective," we are really saying that "drugs that work according to reductionist criteria" are ineffective. The latter is a very different statement from the former.
I would also caution against the reductionist approach in treating psychological disorders. I have been chemically dependent for over 40 years now on drugs that purported to treat my depression via scientific reductionist criteria. Not only has my depression not been "cured," but I have been turned into a ward of the healthcare state, taking expensive pills that tranquilize me rather than empower me to live large.
You write of a "new era of psychology," but psychology remains blind to all the obvious reasons why banned psychoactive drugs could help the depressed: Even if these substances did nothing but elate, they could be used intermittently to give the patient something to look forward to (which is far better than shocking a patient's brain or having them commit suicide). Moreover, coca wine has empowered the lives of HG Wells and Jules Verne, helping them to work harder, giving them greater self-esteem, creating a virtuous circle. In the 19th century, poets used opium wisely, in what author Richard Middleton called "a series of magnificent quarterly carouses," improving their work and giving them "something to look forward to," again creating a virtuous circle. Alexander Shulgin has synthesized hundreds of non-addictive drugs that elate and inspire the user. These drugs have not been found to be ineffective in treating psychological problems: rather they have been completely ignored in fealty to the Drug War ideology of substance demonization.
Scientists are blind to the benefits of such "drugs" because to acknowledge them would be to violate Drug War orthodoxy, which tells us that certain substances have no positive uses, for anybody, anywhere, at any time, ever -- which, of course, is an anti-scientific lie, as there are no substances of that kind in the world. Even cyanide and botox have legitimate medical uses.
Science today is censored by the Drug War. And this will never end as long as we continue to pretend that the Drug War does not even exist.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
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. 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.
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)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company