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Materialism and the Drug War

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




May 19, 2022

aterialism is a co-conspirator in America's Drug War, for it teaches us to ignore the obvious benefits of psychoactive drug use -- namely the blessed relief from "self" that it provides -- and urges us instead to look for chemical signs that a drug is actually working. This reductionist bias explains why Forbes magazine could publish an article in June 2021 with the extraordinarily naive title, "Can Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) Help People With Treatment-Resistant Depression?"

A depressed person would never think to ask such a question. Of course it could help, namely by providing a vacation from destructive self-introspection. Also, the mere anticipation of that periodic vacation would be a mood-boosting godsend. Whether laughing gas would be a panacea for a given condition is another question of course, but scientists have lost all touch with living, breathing humans when they find themselves asking if "laughing gas" could possibly (maybe, just maybe) help the depressed! They have lost all their psychological common sense when they think this way.

I want to turn to them and say: "Look, give me the damn nitrous oxide and you guys continue looking for your angels on the head of a pin! I'm happy if the nitrous oxide merely works for me: I for one don't need it to REALLY work in some reductionist definition of that term."

The blindness of reductionist science would be funny to me, except that this way of thinking works in tandem with the Drug War to prevent folks like myself from accessing godsend medicines. On the one hand, we have the Drug Warrior demonizing godsend substances, chiefly by ignoring everything about them except their negative effects (potential or otherwise). On the other hand, we have the materialist demanding that these substances pass reductionist muster before they can be considered to be effective for fighting depression and improving cerebral functioning in general.

But worst of all, reductionist science has a body count. The search for a "real" cause of depression (a reductionist cause) led to the creation of the most dependency-causing substances in pharmacological history -- the modern anti-depressant -- which 1 in 4 American women must take every day of their life, for the rest of their lives (source: Julie Holland). Moreover, these anti-depressants were never created for long-term use and are now being found to conduce to anhedonia in long-term users, a tendency that I can affirm from personal experience.

So not only has reductionist science failed to help me with my depression, but they have made me an eternal ward of the healthcare state. Far from recognizing this fact, however, the pharmaceutical companies that tout these reductionist "remedies" constantly remind us through their well-paid surrogates that we have a positive DUTY to "take our meds." And so when it comes to demonized meds, you can be denied employment for using them, but when it comes to Big Pharma meds, you can be considered a bad patient if you FAIL to use them.

So let us get this straight: Reductionist science has created the greatest mass chemical dependency in human history, and yet at the same time, they tell me that I cannot use substances like "laughing gas" because they may not work for fighting depression??? Is this the kind of science in which the depressed should be placing their faith, one that suspends them like Tantalus, with a host of medical godsends dangling forever just out of reach of our desperately grasping hands?

So if you're depressed like myself and you expected science to protect you from the substance-demonizing Drug War, think again. Neither the Drug Warrior nor the scientist want you to use effective medicines. They both would much rather have you use addictive medicines whose use benefits Big Pharma and whose efficacy can be supported by pseudo-scientific appeals to reductionist chemistry, this despite the fact that America remains the most depressed country in the world thanks to this very approach to creating and approving psychoactive medicine.

Materialist reductionism, in short, helps give a plausible (if pseudo-scientific) veneer to Big Pharma's attempt to render the world chemically dependent on their grossly ineffective nostrums.

The Links Police


Do you know why I stopped you? That's right, I wanted to give you a heads-up about this related anti-Drug War essay called: Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide



August 29, 2022




Psychiatry's penchant for reductionist medicine is understandable, not just on account of "physics envy" but because the Drug War outlaws all useful medicines wherewith the doctor might have otherwise helped their clients in a non-reductionist manner. So the field makes a virtue of necessity by referring to reductionist cures as "real" cures and holistic cures as "crutches." Thus, if you follow in the footsteps of Marcus Aurelius and Benjamin Franklin and show a partiality for opium, you are using a crutch: but if you use a Big Pharma pill that purports (falsely) to fix a chemical imbalance, then you are using a REAL cure.

But if this is so, then God save us from real cures! Like "scientific" Big Pharma meds, for instance, which have rendered 1 in 4 American women dependent upon them for life, while yet conducing to anhedonia in long-term users.

The psychiatric pill mill is not simply made up of bad medicine (as Robert Whitaker has shown), but bad philosophy as well. For if a reductionist says they're going to cure my depression, they must first tell me what they mean by the word "cure." If they mean that their drugs will make me a good consumer who can tolerate "second best" in life, then they have a different definition of "cure" than I do. My definition of cure is self-actualization and the ability to live large. So in the end, the scientific arguments about what SSRIs can (and can't) do are superfluous: we can say before the researchers even enter the laboratory that they can't cure MY depression, for the simple reason that our definitions of the word "cure" do not coincide. But psychiatry is a one-size-fits-all venture these days, and so a client who demands more than the habit-forming status quo is just a troublemaker, someone to be dismissed (ironically enough) as an "addictive personality."

Notice how psychiatry has created a variety of newspeak in an attempt to tacitly promote its philosophically untenable claims: "addictive personality," "crutch," and "real" cure.

I'm an addictive personality if I'm not satisfied with the niggardly offerings of one-size-fits-all psychiatry.

I'm using a crutch if my drug of choice does not work in a materialist reductionist fashion, according to which patients are just interchangeable widgets.

I don't have a "real" pharmacological solution if its efficacy cannot be proven to the satisfaction of materialist reductionists.

By means of this loaded terminology, psychiatry tries to bamboozle clients into "making do" with the shamefully limited options of the drug-war pharmacy, whereas, if the doctors had the patients' interests at heart, they would be in the forefront of a nationwide move to end the Drug War and promote education over incarceration, finally putting an end to the absurd status quo in which politicians lie about psychoactive medicine, falsely claiming that medicines that have inspired entire religions in the past somehow have no positive uses whatsoever for anyone, anywhere in the 21st century.

In this way, the Drug War is not merely an attack on religion, but it is worse: it is an attack on the wellspring and fountainhead of the religious impulse itself, which is no doubt another reason for its popularity among WASP conservatives, who are ready to put the brakes on all competition to Christianity by any means necessary, even at the expense of America's basic principles of natural law and freedom of religion.

Author's Follow-up: January 18, 2023



Materialism is, in turn, aided and abetted by Freudian psychology. Both of these approaches encourage the doctor to ignore obvious outward signs and to search instead for inner issues. So, if I want to use laughing gas to cheer myself up, the materialist will say, "Not so fast, let me see how lab animals respond, chemically speaking, to NO2." Meanwhile, the Freudian says: "No, you are only using laughing gas to repress your attraction to your mother! No NO2 for you!"

So, between the Materialist and the Freudian, psychiatry is completely useless to me. It's worse than useless, for it's liable to put me on tranquilizing meds that are specifically designed NOT to give me any self-transcendence, since living large is unseemly to both materialist and Freudians, who want us to obsess about something which, even if it were a problem, they have shown no real ability to "fix." Meanwhile, the obvious treatments -- of joy-making drugs used responsibly -- are completely off their purblind radars.

In short, both Materialists and Freudians claim to be trying to treat the "real" mental or mood issue -- thereby ignoring the obvious and almost always failing in their stated goal in any case, never finding a life-changing answer -- or doing worse than failing by creating an unprecedented pharmacological dystopia by addicting 25% of adult American females to Big Pharma drugs.




Next essay: Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama
Previous essay: Why CBS 19 should stop supporting the Drug War

More Essays Here


MATERIALISM AND THE DRUG WAR

If psychoactive drugs had never been criminalized, science would never have had any reason or excuse for creating SSRIs that muck about unpredictably with brain chemistry. Chewing the coca leaf daily would be one of many readily available "miracle treatments" for depression.
That's why we damage the brains of the depressed with shock therapy rather than let them use coca or opium. That's why many regions allow folks to kill themselves but not to take drugs that would make them want to live. The Drug War is a perversion of social priorities.
Weaponizing science is a bigger problem. Even as we speak, Laura Sanders of Sciam is promoting Shock Therapy 2.0 for the depressed, this in a world wherein reductive scientists aren't even sure that laughing gas will help the depressed. https://abolishthedea.com/forbes_magazines_laughable_article_about_nitrous_oxide.php
It's because of such reductive pseudoscience that America will allow us to shock the brains of the depressed but won't allow us to let them use the plant medicines that grow at their feet.
David Chalmers says almost everything in the world can be reductively explained. Maybe so. But science's mistake is to think that everything can therefore be reductively UNDERSTOOD. That kind of thinking blinds researchers to the positive effects of laughing gas and MDMA, etc.
"Can I use poppies, coca, laughing gas, MDMA?" "NO," says Jonathan Stea, "We must be SCIENTIFIC! We must fry your brain and give you a lobotomy and make you a patient for life with the psychiatric pill mill! That's true SCIENCE!"
In "The Book of the Damned," Charles Fort writes about the data that science has damned, by which he means "excluded." The fact that drugs can inspire and elate is one such fact, although when Fort wrote his anti-materialist broadside, drug prohibition was in its infancy.
In other words, materialist scientists are drug war collaborators. They are more than happy to have their fight against idealism rigged by drug law, which outlaws precisely those substances whose use serves to cast their materialism into question.
Drug warriors have harnessed the perfect storm. Prohibition caters to the interests of law enforcement, psychotherapy, Big Pharma, demagogues, puritans, and materialist scientists, who believe that consciousness is no big "whoop" and that spiritual states are just flukes.
There are endless drugs that could help with depression. Any drug that inspires and elates is an antidepressant, partly by the effect itself and partly by the mood-elevation caused by anticipation of use (facts which are far too obvious for drug warriors to understand).
But materialist puritans do not want to create any drug that elates. So they go on a fool's errand to find reductionist cures for "depression itself," as if the vast array of human sadness could (or should) be treated with a one-size-fits-all readjustment of brain chemicals.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
I'd like to become a guinea pig for researchers to test the ability of psychoactive drugs to make aging as psychologically healthy as possible. If such drugs cannot completely ward off decrepitude, they can surely make it more palatable. The catch? Researchers have to be free.
The drug war ideology of substance demonization actually outlaws such investigations. Why don't at least the saner half of the prohibitionists understand that this makes no sense in a purportedly free and scientific country?
Caveat: the experimentation must be done holistically, and not with the presupposition that brain waves and molecular analysis is more important than my perceptions -- for my perceptions are what really matter viz. psychological health.
I don't want purblind researchers telling me when I am happy or optimistic. Materialist researchers need not apply, especially those so immersed in minutia that they cannot even figure out if laughing gas could help the depressed!
To understand why the western world is blind to the benefits of "drugs," read "The Concept of Nature" by Whitehead. He unveils the scientific schizophrenia of the west, according to which the "real" world is invisible to us while our perceptions are mere "secondary" qualities.
This is why we would rather have a depressed person commit suicide than to use "drugs" -- because drugs, after all, are not dealing with the "real" problem. The patient may SAY that drugs make them feel good, but we need microscopes to find out if they REALLY feel good.
This is why the foes of suicide are doing absolutely nothing to get laughing gas into the hands of those who could benefit from it. Laughing is subjective after all. In the western tradition, we need a "REAL" cure to depression.
Both physical and psychological addiction can be successfully fought when we relegalize the pharmacopoeia and start to fight drugs with drugs. But prohibitionists do not want to end addiction, they want to scare us with it. https://abolishthedea.com/four_reasons_why_addiction_is_a_political_term.php
Materialist scientists cannot triumph over addiction because their reductive focus blinds them to the obvious: namely, that drugs which cheer us up ACTUALLY DO cheer us up. Hence they keep looking for REAL cures while folks kill themselves for want of laughing gas and MDMA.
It's "convenient" for scientists that their "REAL" cures happen to be the ones that racist politicians will allow. Scientists thus normalize prohibition by pretending that outlawed substances have no therapeutic value. It's materialism collaborating with the drug war.
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.
PHILOSOPHY AND THE DRUG WAR

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.'"

essays about
MATERIALISM AND THE DRUG WAR

How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
Materialism and the Drug War Part II
How Thomas Nagel Reckons Without the Drug War
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
Why Science is the Handmaiden of the Drug War
David Chalmers and the Drug War
The Placebo Effect and Drugs
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment
Physics has found a theory of everything
The Handicapped NEED Crutches
Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide
Speaking Truth to Academia
A Quantum of Hubris
Unscientific American: the hypocritical materialism of Elon Musk
Modern Science as a symptom of insipient madness
Materialism's War on Drug Addicts and Alcoholics
This is your brain on Neuralink
The Book of the Damned continued
The Muddled Metaphysics of the Drug War
Illusions with Professor Arthur Shapiro

essays about
PHILOSOPHY AND THE DRUG WAR

The Drug War as a Litmus Test for Philosophical Wisdom
The Philosophical Idiocy of the Drug War
The Philosophy of Drug Use
The Philosophy of Getting High
Without Philosophy, Science becomes Scientism
Calling All Philosophers
Critique of the Philosophy of Happiness
Heidegger on Drugs
In Praise of Thomas Szasz
Join Philosophers Against the Drug War
Libertarians as Closet Christian Scientists
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
Rationality Uber Alles
Scientism and America's Drug War hypocrisy
Speaking Truth to Academia
Nietzsche and the Drug War
What if Arthur Schopenhauer Had Used DMT?
How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Psychedelics and Depression
Drug Use as Self-Medication
John Locke on Drugs
Puritanical Assumptions about Drug Use in the Entertainment Field
Why Kevin Sabet is Wrong
I asked 100 American philosophers what they thought about the Drug War
The Great Philosophical Problem of Our Time
What We Mean When We Say 'Drugs'
Whitehead and Psychedelics



front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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You have been reading an article entitled, Materialism and the Drug War published on May 19, 2022 on AbolishTheDEA.com. 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 abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)