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Majoring in Drug War Philosophy

an open letter to Professor David Nutt

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

October 19, 2022

In response to "Silenced for Following the Facts," on IAI

Dr. Nutt points out the rarely mentioned fact that the media controls our attitudes toward so-called "drugs." This is why the peaceful rave scene of 1990s England disappeared almost overnight, because the media blamed a handful of Ecstasy deaths on the drug itself rather than on the ignorance about the drug that the Drug War itself had encouraged. The long-term answer to this problem of headline-fueled hysteria is for free thinkers to create a philosophy of the Drug War to be taught in universities, in the same way that feminism and African-American studies are taught today. For the Drug War is not simply wrong in certain aspects. It will not succumb to mere tweaking on the part of its critics. Rather, the Drug War represents a snake-like tangle of unexamined assumptions and invalid conclusions that only a philosophical thinker can begin to disentangle. Moreover, the attitudes that it presupposes have subtle but profound ramifications in almost all aspects of society, a fact that only a clear-headed thinker can notice, let alone elucidate, a thinker who has jettisoned all the a priori assumptions of the Drug Warrior, despite having been subject to a lifetime of Drug War propaganda themselves, chiefly in the form of their society's complete silence about the potential benefits of the substances that politicians have demonized as "drugs."

The first class in this new field of study would explain how the word "drugs" itself is a political term in Western society, a pejorative epithet which, like the word "scabs," serves to demonize the things that it denotes. The professor will then explicitly define the term drugs as the Drug Warrior defines it today, namely: "substances for which there are no rational or positive uses: not in any dose, at any time, in any place, for any person, ever. " He or she will then remind the student that, in reality, there are no such substances on planet Earth, that even cyanide and Botox have positive uses, and that to deny this fact a priori is to stifle research and force society to go without medical godsends that the creative minds of humanity might otherwise develop. The students will then be asked to consider how the foregoing definition smacks more of Christian Science ideology than of the scientific method and that the consequences of such a drug-hating outlook naturally lead to the censorship of scientists, if not by prohibition and peer ostracism, then by a self-censorship so insidious that even the scientist performing the censorship is unaware of it. To prove this fact, the professor will point to the endless stream of books in a Drug War society in which an author purports to give us the last word on depression, addiction and violence -- the causes and cures thereof -- without ever even considering the role that nature's vast pharmacy of psychoactive medicines could play in treating these conditions and/or in altering our hitherto gloomy prognoses for them. Finally, the professor will give an example of this self-censorship when it comes to the topic of school shootings, pointing out how authors on this topic never even mention the existence of mother nature's empathogenic medicines, even though there is a prima facie case to be made that drugs like MDMA could help end school shootings by experientially teaching hot-heads how to love their fellow human being.

In short, the Western world has got to start thinking honestly about substances. We have to re-learn the once-obvious fact that ignorance is the villain, not "drugs." Otherwise, our hard-earned progress in drug legalization can be vetoed by any white urban teenager who finds a headline-worthy way to misuse a substance that politicians are intent on demonizing. Which brings us to one more topic for which there should be at least one entire class in my proposed new major in Drug War Philosophy, namely, what I call "the fallacy of protecting junior." This class would point out the largely unrecognized fact that "junior" (and his or her parents) is only ONE of the stakeholders when it comes to the topic of drug use. We may think we're protecting junior by making MDMA illegal, but we are thereby also denying millions (perhaps billions) a godsend medicine that can fight depression and PTSD. We may think we're protecting junior by making the coca leaf illegal, but we are thereby also denying millions (perhaps billions) a substance that brought peace and prosperity to the Peruvian Indians for millennia. We may think we're protecting junior by criminalizing nitrous oxide, but we are thereby also denying millions (perhaps billions) a godsend treatment for depression. I take this personally because by attempting to "protect junior," Western society has forced me to go an entire lifetime now without medical godsends, most of which grow at my very feet. Moreover, those same drug laws with which we are "protecting junior" are killing thousands of "juniors" a year in Mexico and American inner cities, thanks to the violence that necessarily follows prohibition. In other words, when the Drug Warrior says he is protecting junior, he typically means "white young people," not the Black or Mexican "juniors" who have lost parents to our Drug War, not the kids in hospice who are denied morphine because doctors believe that morphine is an evil drug in and of itself, without regard for how it is used.

But it's a big "ask" to get honesty about drugs in a capitalist society, where Big Pharma meds are promoted on prime-time TV, not through the enumeration of incontrovertible facts but through the manipulation of viewer emotions with evermore subtle techniques from Madison Avenue. That's why I hope that some university will have the nerve to create a Department of Drug War Philosophy, in which the veneer of traditionalism can be granted to the pursuit of rational inquiry and the values of free research can be reasserted in a censored world. The mere existence of such a new "major" as Drug War Philosophy would send a message to politicians that the boogieman of "drugs" can no longer be plausibly made the scapegoat for social problems. For there was no Drug War in Ancient Egypt. There was no Drug War in Ancient Greece. There was no Drug War in Ancient Rome. There was no Drug War in the Mongol Empire. There was no Drug War in the Viking Age. The fact that there is a Drug War in modern society tells us more about society than it does about the hypocritically defined category of substances that we call "drugs." It tells us what we should already know, that we need to be educated and honest about all substances and learn how to profit from them as safely as possible, rather than demonizing substances a priori at the self-interested whim of demagogues. Nor should this conclusion seem remarkable, unless the Drug War has so fried our brains as to make us reject the Western legacy of scientific freedom, and religious freedom for that matter, since it is surely a violation of religious liberty to outlaw the kind of substances that inspired the Vedic Hindu religion and gave Plato his views of the afterlife.

Author's Follow-up: March 25, 2023

England and America are now trying to protect junior from nitrous dixoide. How? By outlawing the substance that inspired the philosophy of William James. In other words, by outlawing the investigation of ultimate reality.

Next essay: Why Kevin Sabet is Wrong
Previous essay: Michael Pollan and the Drug War

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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.
For those who want to understand what's going on with the drug war from a philosophical point of view, I strongly recommend chapter six of "Eugenics and Other Evils" by GK Chesterton.
If any master's candidates are looking for a thesis topic, consider the following: "The Drug War versus Religion: how the policy of substance prohibition outlaws the attainment of spiritual states described by William James in 'The Varieties of Religious Experience.'"

"My faith votes and strives to outlaw religions that use substances of which politicians disapprove."
The DEA conceives of "drugs" as only justifiable in some time-honored ritual format, but since when are bureaucrats experts on religion? I believe, with the Vedic people and William James, in the importance of altered states. To outlaw such states is to outlaw my religion.
The Holy Trinity of the Drug War religion is Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and John Belushi. "They died so that you might fear psychoactive substances with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Today's war against drug users is like Elizabeth I's war against Catholics. Both are religious crackdowns. For today's oppressors, the true faith (i.e., the moral way to live) is according to the drug-hating religion of Christian Science.
The Drug War is a religion. The "addict" is a sinner who has to come home to the true faith of Christian Science. In reality, neither physical nor psychological addiction need be a problem if all drugs were legal and we used them creatively to counter problematic use.
This is a "prima facie" truth, based on the already established power of drug-aided sleep cures combined with the drug-aided ministrations of a pharmacologically savvy empath, especially in a world in which we spend billions on achieving this goal, rather than on arresting users.
Unfortunately, the prohibitionist motto is: "Billions for arrest, not one cent for education." To the contrary, drug warriors are ideologically committed to withholding the truth about drugs from users.
If any master's candidates are looking for a thesis topic, consider the following: "The Drug War versus Religion: how the policy of substance prohibition outlaws the attainment of spiritual states described by William James in 'The Varieties of Religious Experience.'"

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You have been reading an article entitled, Majoring in Drug War Philosophy: an open letter to Professor David Nutt, published on October 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)