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How the Drug War is Threatening Intellectual Freedom in England

an open letter to British Philosophers

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




June 3, 2023

I sent the following letter today to Professor Tom Stoneham at York University -- as well as ALL the members of the Oxford University Department of Philosophy (one by one, mind, not by bulk mail), with the exception of Senior Fellow Ian Rumfitt. (It seems Senior Fellows are not required to post their email addresses on the Oxford website. Well, that's frustrating. But then I suppose he's earned it... [sigh] Still, one would hope he'd be open to new ideas. But then who am I to dictate terms? It's just that... No, no, I am silent. I'm sure the honorable gentleman knows what he's about. It's just that... But mum's the word.)





Dear Professor Stoneham:


I am writing to you on a matter of great concern to the field of philosophy, namely, the fact that England is preparing to outlaw the use of laughing gas. As you know, this is the substance whose use inspired the philosophy of William James. In regard to such experiences, James wrote: "No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded."

And yet disregard them we must thanks to Drug War prohibition.

I believe that all philosophers, tenured or otherwise, should speak up against this outlawing of intellectual progress. As distasteful as it is, we must speak up against the Drug War. We must encourage government to start educating its citizens about safe use rather than continuing to pursue a policy of prohibition which outlaws human progress and criminalizes the very investigations that James would ask us to pursue. This change of course is all the more urgent when we consider the body count of the current policy, which even as we speak is killing thousands a day thanks to the corrupted and uncertain drug supply that prohibition guarantees.

Moreover, those who advocate the prohibition of substances like laughing gas never take into account all the stakeholders in such a decision. They are blind to the hundreds of millions of the depressed, for instance, who must go without a godsend substance thanks to our statistically lopsided focus on abuse and misuse. Besides, the hundreds of millions (in the US, billions) that we spend on arresting people could easily be spent on educating those people about safe use.

For these and endless other reasons, I believe, in fact, that the Drug War is the philosophical problem par excellence of our time and that philosophy as a field can no longer ignore it without becoming complicit in the way that it censors philosophy and the human sciences in general.

If these ideas strike the least chord with you, I urge you to speak up on behalf of intellectual freedom and ask your government to begin educating potential substance users rather than arresting them. We should be able to follow up on the philosophical leads of philosophers like William James without our governments ordering us to cease and desist.


June 3, 2023 Brian was bothered by the inability to reach Senior Fellow Professor Rumfitt, at least in part, by the fact that most of the other members of the Oxford Philosophy Department looked like they were about ten years old. Not that this should disqualify them, of course. I fancy I was a bit of a clever clogs at that age myself. I'm just sayin'... Or rather Brian is just sayin'...

Nitrous Oxide: Possession of laughing gas to be criminal offence"


Author's Follow-up: June 26, 2023


Typical. I have received not one single response from Oxford. It never ceases to amaze me how many academics worldwide have just said no to freedom of research.

Author's Follow-up: December 1, 2023


Westerners have no right to complain about high suicide rates. They have made it clear with their harebrained laws that they would rather folks commit suicide than to use most psychoactive substances. It's Mary Baker Eddy on steroids. It's Christian Science Sharia. As for Oxford, probably shouldn't single them out, since William James' alma mater, Harvard, is also silent about the ongoing attempt to classify laughing gas as a dirty evil rotten drug.




Next essay: Drug War Jeopardy!
Previous essay: My conversation with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

More Essays Here


LAUGHING GAS

Laughing gas is the substance that gave William James his philosophy of reality. He concluded from its use that what we perceive is just a fraction of reality writ large. Yet his alma mater (Harvard) does not even MENTION laughing gas in their bio of the man.
In a sane world, we'd package laughing gas for safe use and give it to the suicidal -- saying, "Use before attempting to kill yourself." But drug warriors would rather have suicide than drug use.
Now drug warriors have nitrous oxide in their sights, the substance that inspired the philosophy of William James. They're using the same tired MO: focusing exclusively on potential downsides and never mentioning the benefits of use, and/or denying that any exist.
VICTIMS OF THE DRUG WAR

Right. In fact, the drug war can be seen as a way for conservatives to keep America's eyes OFF the prize. The right-wing motto is, "Billions for law enforcement, but not one cent for social programs."
WILLIAM JAMES

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

essays about
LAUGHING GAS

Listening to Laughing Gas
Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide
Keep Laughing Gas Legal
William James rolls over in his grave as England bans Laughing Gas
The Criminalization of Nitrous Oxide is No Laughing Matter
Speaking Truth to Academia
Why the FDA should not schedule Laughing Gas
How AI turned William James into a Drug Warrior

essays about
VICTIMS OF THE DRUG WAR

Elderly Victims of Drug War Ideology
Toddler Abuse in Drug War America
Snoop Pearson's muddle-headed take on drugs
How the Drug War Tramples on the Rights of the Depressed

essays about
WILLIAM JAMES

Drug War Agitprop
How AI turned William James into a Drug Warrior
William James rolls over in his grave as England bans Laughing Gas
Why the FDA should not schedule Laughing Gas
The Criminalization of Nitrous Oxide is No Laughing Matter
Keep Laughing Gas Legal
Listening to Laughing Gas



front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans



You have been reading an article entitled, How the Drug War is Threatening Intellectual Freedom in England: an open letter to British Philosophers, published on June 3, 2023 on AbolishTheDEA.com. For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)