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Kevin Sabet and What-About-Ism

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

November 19, 2022

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?

Author's Follow-up: April 26, 2023

Prohibition also criminalizes human progress. William James' whole philosophy was inspired by his use of psychoactive substances, especially laughing gas, but folks like Kevin would outlaw such substances, thereby censoring science more profoundly than the Church ever censored Galileo.

Related tweet: June 10, 2023

Check out these prohibitionists who whine about the popularity of weed. It's like they outlawed steak and pork and then they complained about the popularity of chicken. I'd be more than happy to diversify my medicine cabinet once these clowns stop outlawing mother nature.

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

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Opium is a godsend, as folks like Galen, Avicenna and Paracelsus knew. The drug war has facilitated a nightmare by outlawing peaceable use at home and making safe use almost impossible.
We should hold the DEA criminally responsible for withholding spirit-lifting drugs from the depressed. Responsible for what, you ask? For suicides and lobotomies, for starters.
In fact, that's what we need when we finally return to legalization: educational documentaries showing how folks manage to safely incorporate today's hated substances into their life and lifestyle.
Drug Warriors never take responsibility for incentivizing poor kids throughout the west to sell drugs. It's not just in NYC and LA, it's in modest-sized towns in France. Find public housing, you find drug dealing. It's the prohibition, damn it!
The American Philosophy Association should make itself useful and release a statement saying that the drug war is based on fallacious reasoning, namely, the idea that substances can be bad in themselves, without regard for why, when, where and/or how they are used.
Someone tweeted that fears about a Christian Science theocracy are "baseless." Tell that to my uncle who was lobotomized because they outlawed meds that could cheer him up -- tell that to myself, a chronic depressive who could be cheered up in an instant with outlawed meds.
Psychiatrists keep flipping the script. When it became clear that SSRIs caused dependence, instead of apologizing, they told us we need to keep taking our meds. Now they even claim that criticizing SSRIs is wrong. This is anti-intellectual madness.
If the depressed patient laughs, that means nothing. Materialists have to see results under a microscopic or they will never sign off on a therapy.
It's disgusting that folks like Paul Stamets need a DEA license to work with mushrooms.
The drug war basically is the defeatist doctrine that we will never be able to use psychoactive drugs wisely. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy because the government does everything it can to make drug use dangerous.
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You have been reading an article entitled, Kevin Sabet and What-About-Ism published on November 19, 2022 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)