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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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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

What prohibitionists forget is that every popular but dangerous activity, from horseback riding to drug use, will have its victims. You cannot save everybody, and when you try to do so by law, you kill far more than you save, meanwhile destroying democracy in the process.
There will always be people who don't use drugs wisely, just as there are car drivers who don't drive wisely, and rock climbers who fall to their death. America needs to grow up and accept this, while ending prohibition and teaching safe use.
Cop and detective shows are loaded with subtle drug war propaganda, including lines like, "She had a history of drug use, so..." The implication being that anyone who uses substances that politicians hate cannot be trusted.
I never said that getting off SSRIs should be done without supervision. If you're on Twitter for medical advice, you're in the wrong place.
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.
Amphetamines are "meds" when they help kids think more clearly but they are "drugs" when they help adults think more clearly. That shows you just how bewildered Americans are when it comes to drugs.
Drug warriors aren't just deciding for us about drugs. They're telling us that we no longer need Coleridge poems, Lovecraft stories, Robin Williams, Sherlock Holmes, or the soma-inspired Hindu religion.
"Now, now, Sherlock, that coca preparation is not helping you a jot. Why can't you get 'high on sunshine,' like good old Watson here?" To which Sherlock replies: "But my good fellow, then I would no longer BE Sherlock Holmes."
Someday, the First Lady or Man will tell kids to "just say no to prohibition." Kids who refuse will be required to watch hours' worth of films depicting gun violence, banned religions, civil wars, and adults committing suicide for want of medicine that grows at their very feet.
Democratic societies need to outlaw prohibition for many reasons, the first being the fact that prohibition removes millions of minorities from the voting rolls, thereby handing elections to fascists and insurrectionists.
More Tweets

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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, 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)