Essay date: November 19, 2022

Kevin Sabet and What-About-Ism

annabis basher Kevin Sabet likes to taunt his detractors for the supposed crime of "whataboutism," presumably because they keep asking him questions like, "What about the fact that alcohol is responsible for almost 100,000 deaths a year in the US while marijuana is responsible for zero?"

What Kevin doesn't realize, however, is that such protestors are taking it easy on him. They could ask him, "What about the 100,000-plus Mexicans who have been killed by YOUR Drug War since 2006?" Or, "What about the fact that the prohibition that YOU champion has filled American cities with guns and dealers, resulting in thousands of Black deaths every year?" Or, "What about the fact that YOUR prohibition has empowered a self-described Drug War Hitler in the Philippines and encouraged Vietnam in its barbaric practice of killing anyone who dares use mother nature's godsend psychoactive medicines for mental improvement?"

No wonder Kevin is eager to depict such questions as invalid, because merely to pose them points to the cruel hypocrisy of his position on so-called "drugs."

Like all Drug Warriors, he wants to blame the politically created category of "drugs" for all social problems, a practice that makes just as much sense as blaming cars for traffic accidents. In both cases, the scapegoat is full of marvelous potential benefits for humankind, which we jettison the moment we pretend that the drugs and cars are themselves responsible for the problems that result from their misuse.

I am not interested in the nitty-gritty of Sabet's alleged findings about marijuana, simply because government never had the right to outlaw plant medicine in the first place. It's called Natural Law, Kevin, the same Natural Law that the Reagan DEA violated when they stomped onto Monticello in 1987 to confiscate Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants. It is nevertheless the basis upon which the Founding Fathers founded this country, and no stealth Christian Science "drug expert" is going to convince me to abandon it, nor any Stalinist drug-testing campaign run by government collaborators in the business sector, though it threaten to deprive me of work in America if I dare to partake. To put it another way, plants and fungi are under no obligation to meet the safety guidelines of America's FDA.

The irony is, I agree with Kevin Sabet: there is a disproportionate and perhaps even unhealthy focus on marijuana right now as the go-to drug for young people. But why is this so, Kevin? It is so because of YOUR Drug War, which has outlawed all the naturally occurring competition for the plant in question. Take the coca leaf, for instance. The long-lived Peruvian Indians have a time-honored practice of gaining both mental focus and physical power by chewing the leaf daily. If you want an America full of bright-eyed, mentally sharp and long-lived Americans, the answer is obvious: re-legalize the leaf and give Americans that choice -- along with the choice of hundreds of other psychoactive plant medicines of which we know nothing today precisely because the Drug War has criminalized the substances in question and all but forbidden our scientists to study them, and this in the supposedly "scientific" country called America.

Ever since the Drug War first outlawed a plant medicine in 1914 in violation of Natural Law, the Drug Warriors have been doing their best to frighten America about the boogieman called "drugs." The government helped by suborning the media to depict "drugs" only in a bad light while funding only those studies which focused on misuse and abuse. But Americans are slowly starting to awaken from the programming they have received since childhood, when they received their first teddy bear for saying "no" to the kinds of substances whose use had inspired entire religions. Today's Drug Warrior, like an embattled Wizard of Oz, has to scream ever louder to make his subjects cringe.

So Kevin can shout "boo!" as loud as he likes in an effort to make me fear drugs. I, for one, will no longer react as desired. What scares me today are the prohibitionist policies that make drugs dangerous: chiefly, those sponsored by Kevin Sabet, which incarcerate and kill minorities, meanwhile impeding our study of neuron-stimulating medicines that hold prima facie promise in the fight against conditions like Alzheimer's and autism.

What prohibitionists like Kevin fail to understand is that human beings want self-transcendence. You can outlaw drugs, but you cannot outlaw the desire for self-transcendence. When you bring in law enforcement to combat this desire, you create what DEA agents themselves describe as an unwinnable war, in which law enforcement plays "whack-a-mole" in confronting the media-anointed "killer drug" of the moment. Yes, it's a real job creator for law enforcement and fearmongering speakers who travel the globe catering to the prejudices of authoritarians and bigots, but it's an approach that militarizes police forces, causes civil wars overseas, and turns Americans against each other. In doing so, it keeps our eyes off the prize of the social policies that could render drug use safe and effective: namely, the re-legalizing of Mother Nature and the establishment of the Drug EDUCATION Agency, which would teach the world honestly about all psychoactive medicines (the harms and benefits, both objective and subjective), using the billions that are currently spent instead on locking "users" up.

What about that, Kevin?

Next essay: The Naive Psychology of the Drug War
Previous essay: Psychoactive Drugs and the Fountain of Youth

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Kevin Sabet and Drug War 2.0
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Questions for Kevin Sabet
Why Kevin Sabet is Wrong
The Infuriating Philosophical Idiocy of Kevin Sabet

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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)
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