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How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987

open letter to the 'Sites of Conscience' website

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

August 6, 2020

In 1987, the DEA stomped onto Monticello and confiscated Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants in violation of the Natural Law upon which that Founding Father helped establish America itself. This was at the same time that Ronald Reagan was outsourcing the drug testing of civilians to private companies to search for the slightest traces of the poppy plant and other godsend botanicals that beer-swilling and tobacco-smoking Drug Warriors disliked. The goal had nothing to do with public safety, since the search was not for inebriation but rather for the mere presence of naturally-occurring substances that racist politicians had outlawed.

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.

A Misguided Audio Tour of Monticello

Americans shrugged in 1987, while Jefferson rolled over in his grave. This page is a belated protest by one American, both of the raid itself and of the fact that the Monticello Foundation allowed it, that they failed to stand up for the legacy of the very man whom they purport to be honoring.

So much for the "hallowed ground" that the road signs near Monticello declare. Hallowed ground has been despoiled by a racist overthrow of Natural Law, by the Reagan administration's coup against Natural Law.

And the coup worked. Americans now meekly travel to the urinal, beaker in hand, under the watchful eye of the white-coated Igors of the Drug War Frankenstin, those Drug War collaborators known as lab technicians who make their living by helping to remove Christian Science heretics from the workforce. Like lambs to the slaughter, Americans go forth, humbled to the dust by the requirement to urinate for their betters, those trillionaire CEOs who, for all they know, are off in the Bahamas like Elon Musk flippantly experimenting with the very "drugs" that they are attempting to find in the bloodstream of their peons in order to keep them in their place and punish them on behalf of Drug War ideology... here in America, where one is judged, not by the color of their skin but by the contents of their digestive systems.

This page is my protest. What will your protest be?

How about writing to the Monticello Foundation and chastising them for trashing the garden-loving Jefferson's Legacy of Natural Law by allowing the government onto Monticello to confiscate... what? A MERE PLANT!!! For if Natural Law protects anything, it protects the citizen's rights to the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet!

If we don't fight back, then democracy will disappear as we continue to militarize the police force, as we continue to cause civil wars overseas, as we continue to empower a self-described Drug War Hitler in the Philippines, and as we continue to elect fascists in America, merely because we have disenfranchised millions of Americans with drug laws that were created for that very purpose.


BY LETTING THE DEA STOMP ONTO MONTICELLO AND CONFISCATE THE FOUNDING FATHER'S POPPY PLANTS in violation of the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America.

SAMPLE PROTEST MESSAGE (the one the author posted in the Monticello Foundation's comment form on October 2, 2020)
For shame! The ghost of Thomas Jefferson was weeping when you guys let the DEA stomp onto Monticello in jackboots and confiscate his poppy plants. That was a coup against the natural law upon which Jefferson founded this country. The Drug War is a racially motivated Christian Science coup against Natural Law. You are no longer a "SITE OF CONSCIENCE" until you fight back on behalf of Jefferson's confiscated poppies!

NOTE: In 1987, the Monticello Foundation invited the DEA onto Jefferson's estate so that they could confiscate the ex-president's psychoactive poppy plants. This was a silent coup against the whole notion of Jeffersonian democracy, according to which human beings have basic freedoms that government cannot usurp on the basis of common law. If any body ever "turned over in its grave" it was the body of Thomas Jefferson in 1987 when his garden was invaded by jackbooted DEA agents, making a beeline for his poppy plants. Yet this shameful event is not even mentioned on the Monticello Foundation's website.

To belatedly protest this situation, the author sent the following e-mail to a non-profit coalition that currently lists Monticello as a "Site of Conscience," a place where visitors are invited to "make connections between the past and related contemporary human rights issues." He pointed out that Monticello is no longer worthy of the label "Site of Conscience" since it has violated the principles that it is meant to be safeguarding and then covered up that violation by failing to even mention it on their Monticello-related websites.

Dear Sir or Madam:

If Thomas Jefferson's life had any significance, it was because he championed a government under which individuals had certain rights that government could not take away. Yet, in 1987, America's DEA stomped onto Monticello and confiscated Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants -- and the Monticello Foundation said nothing about it. To this very day, they completely ignore that outrage on their website.

And yet Monticello is a SITE OF CONSCIENCE???

The Drug War outlaws the scientific investigation of hundreds (if not thousands) of plants and arrests people for merely touching plants of which politicians disapprove. This is a clear violation of Natural Law, or what Cicero called "what is right according to nature." For how can it be right "according to nature" that we cannot access the plants and fungi of nature that grow at our very feet? This is a twofold violation of natural law: first, it takes away our property rights as defined by John Locke, and second it actually forbids the advancement of science, which Thomas Jefferson so vehemently promoted, being Isaac Newton's number-one fan.

What irony that the organization charged with safeguarding Jefferson's legacy should "sell out" the man that they are supposed to be honoring by allowing the DEA onto Monticello to steal Jefferson's poppies in violation of natural law, natural right, and common sense. What a disgrace that the same organization would then rewrite history so that no one even READS about the action in question. For there is no mention of this "sell-out" on the Monticello Foundation's website. They've erased the 1987 incident from American history.

The psychoactive poppy plant has been used responsibly by non-Western cultures for millennia. But in the 1980s, the Reagan-Bush Drug War was in full bloom, and the Monticello Foundation silently yielded to the immense pressure to have Jefferson's poppy plants removed from the ex-president's estate. This was a silent coup against the principles on which America was founded. Please remind the Monticello Foundation of this fact and require them to acknowledge their 1987 actions, both on their website and at Monticello itself, as a condition of their continued listing as a "site of conscience."

You say that a Site of Conscience is "a place of memory." Why then would you support a site like Monticello whose guardians have rewritten history in order to make us forget - to forget how the foundation itself "sold out" the principles of the very man that they are supposed to be honoring?


The author sent a lengthy letter via snail mail to Monticello over a year ago with the hope of getting them to acknowledge their mistake in signing off on the DEA raid in 1987. For that raid was nothing less than a coup by the Reagan administration against the Natural Law upon which Jefferson himself founded America. No government has a natural right to decide which plant medicines may be grown and used by human beings. John Locke said that in his second treatise on government when referring to a citizen's natural right to the use of the earth "and all that lies therein." Needless to say that the Foundation never bothered to reply.

The next time you visit Monticello, be sure to ask your tour guide about this 1987 coup against Natural Law -- that's right, make them squirm -- and ask them why the Monticello Foundation allowed the DEA onto hallowed ground to enforce a law that violated everything that Jefferson stood for. It pains me to drive by road signs near Monticello that read "hallowed ground," when I know that the Monticello Foundation willfully allowed the desecration of that land by DEA thugs who are in the business of telling Americans which plant medicines they can use. How? By lying about plant medicine and creating a violence-causing prohibition which has resulted in the greatest drug-caused dystopia in human history: the fact that 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life on Big Pharma meds -- to which, of course, America is blind, since said dystopia helps make the top 3% incredibly wealthy.

Oh, What a Horrible Morning

There's a grim-looking narc on the meadow
There's a grim-looking narc on the meadow,
His gun is raised high as an elephant's jaw
And it looks like he's aiming at natural law...
Oh, what a horrible morning,
Oh, what a horrible day
When Monticello was raided
By the corrupt DEA

Now the agents are storming in jackboots
Now the agents are storming in jackboots
They've stolen the poppies with help from the staff
Which the papers report in a subparagraph
Oh, what a horrible morning,
Oh, what a horrible day
When Monticello was raided
By the corrupt DEA

Since that day, no one's said much about it
Since that day, no one's said much about it
But the bodies of Jefferson as well as Locke
Continue to spin in residual shock
Oh, what a horrible morning,
Oh, what a horrible day
When Monticello was raided
By the corrupt DEA

Lyrics notes: Natural Law, according to John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, tells us that no government can rightfully deprive its citizens of certain inalienable rights, among which are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. John Locke was Jefferson's go-to man when it came to Natural Law, and Locke himself tells us in his 2nd Treatise on Government that Natural Law also gives us the right to "the use of the land and all that lies therein." This is why the garden-loving Jefferson and Locke were both rolling in their graves when Reagan's DEA stormed onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants -- for no government has a legitimate right to deprive humanity of the freely given bounty of Mother Nature.

Sadly, almost every opponent of the Drug War argues from a defensive position, trying to prove that the world will be a safe place if plants indeed are legal. This misses the point entirely. No one has the right to criminalize plants in the first place. That's the original sin of the Drug War, to criminalize the unbidden bounty of Mother Nature. We need to restore the very basis of our republic, which is the natural law argument that gives us life, liberty, the freedom to pursue happiness... and yes, the right to the plant medicine that grows unbidden all around us.

It took many hundreds of years for these self-evident freedoms to be effectively asserted against tyrant kings and now America has been persuaded by racist politicians to throw it all away to fight the boogieman called "drugs."

The lyrics call the DEA "corrupt" advisedly, for they have been lying about and demonizing psychoactive medicine ever since their founding in 1973, thanks to which they have deprived untold millions of godsend mental peace and mental improvement. In 1985, the DEA went against the advice of their own counsel and criminalized MDMA, and so for the last 38 years, America's soldiers (never mind the depressed and anxious) have had to do without godsend medicine for PTSD. The DEA also did everything they could to persecute the UDV church for its ritual use of ayahuasca and their anti-church operation was only relaxed after the Supreme Court told them (9-0) to knock it off. In other words, the DEA is out to keep its jobs at any cost, not to help or protect Americans.

Still not convinced that the DEA is corrupt? In the '80s, they laced marijuana plants with Paraquat, a highly toxic weed killer that has since been found to cause Parkinson's Disease. (And you thought only Vladimir Putin poisoned his political opponents.) The weed-friendly Robin Williams had Parkinson's disease, but Drug Warriors are never going to connect THOSE dots.

The Links Police

Do you know why I stopped you? That's right, because the Drug War gives me the right to be a noxious busybody. That said, you struck me as the sort who might be interested in these additional essays concerning Thomas Jefferson and the outlawing of plants, which would have driven that garden-loving president nuts, I assure you:

The Dark Side of the Monticello Foundation
Jefferson Bashing on

Next essay: Pissed off about Drug Testing
Previous essay: Open Letter to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

The Drug War is the most important evil to protest, precisely because almost everybody is afraid to do so. That's a clear sign that it is a cancer on the body politic.
Until prohibition ends, rehab is all about enforcing a Christian Science attitude toward psychoactive medicines (with the occasional hypocritical exception of Big Pharma meds).
It's interesting that Jamaicans call the police 'Babylon,' given that Babylon denotes a society seeking materialist pleasures. Drug use is about transcending the material world and seeking spiritual states: states that the materialist derides as meaningless.
In the Atomic Age Declassified, they tell us that we needed hundreds of thermonuclear tests so that scientists could understand the effects. That's science gone mad. Just like today's scientists who need more tests before they can say that laughing gas will help the depressed. Science today is all about ignoring the obvious. And THAT's why scientists are drug war collaborators, because they're not about to sign off on the use of substances until they've studied them "up the wazoo." Using grants from an agency whose very name indicates their anti-drug bias: namely, the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
For those who want to understand what's going on with the drug war from a philosophical point of view, I recommend chapter six of "Eugenics and Other Evils" by GK Chesterton.
When scientists refuse to report positive uses for drugs, they are not motivated by power lust, they are motivated by philosophical (non-empirical) notions about what counts as "the good life." This is why it's wrong to say that the drug war is JUST about power.
Today's Washington Post reports that "opioid pills shipped" DROPPED 45% between 2011 and 2019..... while fatal overdoses ROSE TO RECORD LEVELS! Prohibition is PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE.
The book "Plants of the Gods" is full of plants and fungi that could help addicts and alcoholics, sometimes in the plant's existing form, sometimes in combinations, sometimes via extracting alkaloids, etc. But drug warriors need addiction to sell their prohibition ideology.
I agree that Big Pharma drugs have wrought disaster when used in psychotherapy -- but it is common sense that non-Big Pharma drugs that elate could be used to prevent suicide and obviate the need for ECT.
Even when laudanum was legal in the UK, pharmacists were serving as moral adjudicators, deciding for whom they should fill such prescriptions. That's not a pharmacist's role. We need an ABC-like set-up in which the cashier does not pry into my motives for buying a substance.
More Tweets

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The Dark Side of the Monticello Foundation
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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 Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987: open letter to the 'Sites of Conscience' website, published on August 6, 2020 on 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 (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)