his morning I searched the vast image catalog of Shutterstock for some photographs that illustrated the general concept of abolishing the Drug War. I was sure I'd find something since the site has over a billion images submitted by well over half a million contributors.
To my dismay, there were very few if any images that suggested, even obliquely, that the Drug War was folly. Instead, the site was full of propaganda images that associated cocaine in particular with all manner of vice. First we see an image of a white tabletop littered with bloody bullet casings and a credit card half covered with cocaine. Next we see a handgun lying in front of a half-dozen plastic bags full of white powder. One row down, there are the trademark lines of cocaine starkly displayed on a black tabletop, just waiting for some hedonist hit man to snort, no doubt before taking a scantily clad mistress in his arms and lavishing her with a highly salacious kiss. (Needless to say there are no images of Sherlock Holmes, using related substances to hone his observational skills, nor of Freud, using such substances to ensure the prolific output whereby he achieved self-actualization in life.)
Coca was a god to the Incas, and a godsend to authors like Jules Verne and HG Wells, and yet drug-war propaganda has convinced Shutterstock (and no doubt most of its contributors) to depict the plant as if it were the drug from hell. Moreover, the dystopia thus depicted is a result of the Drug War itself, which refuses to educate users about safe drug use, preferring to arrest them instead. As for the guns and violence that we associate with cocaine, that's a direct result of prohibition, not of the coca plant. Just as Prohibition created the Mafia, so the Drug War has created cartels and gangs, thus turning inner cities into shooting galleries, thanks to which 800 blacks were killed in 2021 alone.
The answer is obvious: decriminalize drugs, cocaine first and foremost, since it seems to be the natural substance of choice for marketing illegally.
Meanwhile, take all the billions that is currently going into the fascist militarization of our police forces and give that money to clinics that will treat drug addiction rationally, rather than throwing a million people a year into jail merely for possessing natural substances. Such treatment will be far effective than the current status quo when we allow clinicians to use any psychoactive substance in the world, rather than tyrannically limiting them to a handful of addictive medicines supplied by Big Pharma. The current criminal approach is just a make-work program for law enforcement, after all, and turns America into a police state, as our record-breaking prison population testifies loudly and clearly to the dismayed champions of freedom around the world. Besides, all the problems that we associate with so-called drug use are actually caused by the Drug War itself, starting with the fact that the Drug War demonizes illicit substances, thereby denying would-be users with the objective knowledge they could use to partake wisely.
Meanwhile those who fret about the addictive potential of substances like cocaine should drop their hypocritical hand-wringing, since almost all of them are ignoring the big addiction of our time: namely the fact that 1 in 8 American men and 1 in 4 American women are hooked on Big Pharma antidepressants, many of them harder to quit than heroin. But the Drug Warrior doesn't even notice this problem, let alone wring their hands about it. What Drug War hypocrisy. What a clear sign that the Drug War is not about the health of Americans' bodies, but rather about the health of Americans' wallets -- or rather the wallets of the so-called 1% who are getting filthy rich on drug profits from addicting America to legal antidepressants.
Not only is the fascist Drug War unfair to minorities who constitute the predominant arrestees, but it results in a perversion of our electoral system, since it all but guarantees the election and re-election of fascist Drug War advocates. Why? Because those who would vote them out of office are in jail, many having lost their right to vote thanks to their possession of proscribed natural substances.
America is seeing the ascendancy of anti-democratic forces, and the evidence is not just on Shutterstock.
Hollywood releases more movies every year whose plots seek to justify torture and premeditated murder as reasonable means of fighting so-called drug trafficking. In the 2019 movie "Running with the Devil," the self-righteous DEA "hero" cold-bloodedly murders a man who had the temerity to sell naturally occurring substances. What's more, she murdered the "drug dealer" while she herself was smoking a cigarette containing tobacco, one of the most harmful drugs in the world.
Hypocrite, America! Wake up! We're knowingly heading down the path of fascism, dimming the beacon of freedom that we had once hoped to be to the world.
PS How can we look Chinese President Xi Jinping in the eye and criticize his anti-democratic measures when we are arresting Americans for merely possessing the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet?!
Nor is it just the minorities that take a hit stateside. The Drug War has inexcusably blocked research on therapeutic drugs, all because of the fascist tendency to place law enforcement above every other consideration, and patients be damned.
June 21, 2022
You rock, Brian. Except don't give that money to clinics -- give it to pharmacologically savvy empaths, who will use nature's medicines as needed to treat everything for which those medicines are suited -- yes, including addictions! Right now, if an addict walks into a clinic, the doc says, "Now I will do all in my power to help you -- except, of course, for using the thousands of psychoactive plant medicines that are off-limits due to the Drug War." Docs need to learn that drugs are not the problem, they are often the solution -- and we should not employ them on a niggardly and stinting basis just because the Drug War is bribing our children with teddy bears to get them to stupidly say no to mother nature's godsends!
Author's Follow-up: July 16, 2022
I've used the term "fascism" here rather loosely. Thomas Szasz would have disapproved. Strictly speaking, the health-care state is not fascist but rather socialist in nature. Like Nazi Germany, it wants to bring about a perfect world through its own particular definition of "health." It is blind to its own Christian Science presuppositions and therefore thinks that it represents enlightenment of the highest order -- from which it follows that everyone should gladly accept its medical proscriptions (modern drug prohibition) and prescriptions (SSRIs) for mind shortcomings and mental disorders.
Author's Follow-up: November 17, 2022
The above article dates from almost three years ago, before I had boned up on the coca plant courtesy of "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas" by W. Golden Mortimer. Turns out that cocaine is just a coca alkaloid introduced to the west as a potential anesthetic for eye surgery. Cocaine is a very different drug from the coca leaf that the Peruvian Indians chewed for millennia, and indeed a very different drug from the famous Coca Wine, about which 19th-century authors like HG Wells and Jules Verne were so keen. If all plant medicine were legal again (imagine that), the chewing of the coca leaf would provide so many of the benefits of cocaine while being less addictive.
But we have to learn to stop demonizing nature and start teaching about its psychoactive offerings, a common-sense and scientific approach that Drug Warriors like Kevin Sabet reject, preferring to "fight substances" rather than the social policies that lead to poor choices and misuse. Kevin is heartless, by the way, because his cost-benefit analysis regarding drug legalization completely ignores the enormous death toll that is racked up thanks to the prohibition that he champions. He wants to focus on saving little Johnny from making a bad choice-- meanwhile completely ignoring the 100,000 Mexicans that have been killed by HIS DRUG WAR in Mexico over the last 15 years -- not to mention the thousands of blacks who die yearly in inner cities thanks to the proliferation of guns and dealing that KEVIN SABET'S DRUG WAR PROMULGATED IN THE FIRST PLACE.
No Drug War Keychains The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)
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.
The Drug War Censors Science Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.
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.
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