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Materialism and the Drug War Part II

open letter to the Discovery Institute

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

February 28, 2023

There is a somewhat lengthy backstory as to why I am addressing these concerns to the Discovery Institute. But since I do not have the time to clarify this connection, I hope the reader will consider the issues here on their own merit without an undue regard for my choice of correspondent. Of course, if I'm honest with myself, I might as well have addressed this essay to the Moon, given the infantessimal odds of this organization responding in anything but the most impersonal and rote manner. But SOMEONE has to eventually win the Powerball Lottery!

I think it's great that you are pointing out the downsides of materialism and how many scientists have a "pre-commitment" to ignore such criticism.

I fear that, as an avowedly "conservative" group, the Discovery Institute may have a blind spot of its own, however, namely a previous commitment to the war on drugs.

Materialism has conspired with the Drug War to hook 1 in 4 American women on big pharma meds that were touted (falsely) as curing depression via a reductionist approach.

Meanwhile, we have outlawed all substances that could be used intermittently to elevate mood -- either on a regular basis, as for instance the Peruvian Indians chewed the coca leaf daily for over a thousand years, or via the life-guiding epiphanies that can be wrought in the guided therapeutic use of psychedelics.

Materialism + the Drug War has kept us searching for "real" cures (i.e. reductionist cures) for mental issues while denying us the godsends that grow at our feet. Why? Because the actions of the latter drugs are holistic in nature and cannot be referred to a known reductionist cause.

In other words, materialists ignore medical godsends for the same reason that they ignore intelligent design and teleology in general: namely, their previous commitment to reductionist causes.

This is why Dr. Robert Glatter could write an article in Forbes magazine in 2021 with the absurd title: "Can Laughing Gas help fight Treatment Resistant Depression"?

Even the Reader's Digest knows that "laughter is the best medicine."

But Robert's answer is a very worried "Maybe." He wants to keep the chronically depressed from using the substance that inspired the philosophy of William James -- because it might be dangerous.

He ignores, of course, the dangers of letting the depressed remain depressed -- not to mention the sociopolitical dangers of outlawing philosophical research a la William James.

The materialist approves of euthanasia -- but does not want folks to use medicines that would make them want to live -- like the hundreds of psychedelics synthesized by Alexander Shulgin which elate and inform without addicting.

The materialist would rather damage the brain of the depressed with ECT than to let them use godsend and time-honored medicines like soma that have inspired entire religions.

I hope, therefore, that the Discovery Center does not have a "previous commitment" to the Drug War-- because it is the Drug War combined with materialism that has kept me now from using godsend medicines for 45 years!

I urge you not to fall for the notion that drug prohibition is a conservative doctrine. It is a brand-new unprecedented American idea, surprisingly coming from a nation that claims to be founded on Natural Law, including what Locke called the right to the use of the land and all that lies therein. But the Drug War represents a prehistoric mindset which feeds us the following lie: that some substances have no positive uses for anyone, anywhere, at any time, ever.

In reality, there are no substances of that kind. Even botox and cyanide have valid uses.

The Drug War is thus a war on science and scientific understanding and should be denounced as such by the Institute. But again, I fear that conservatives have a previous commitment to scaring us about drugs rather than teaching us about them.

I hope this email will inspire dialogue on this subject at Discovery. I would be glad to take part. I have tried for years to get philosophers to discuss this matter and they're terrified.

Of course, this is the kind of email that is usually ignored, but I hope you will share it with the likes of Behe and Meyer.

Materialist reductionism has more downsides than the fact that it keeps us from understanding the origins of life. It also keeps us from using obvious godsends to treat mental shortcomings, forcing us to search instead for the holy grail of reductionist drug research: a cause found in brain chemicals, which is the approach that results in modern antidepressants to which 1 in 4 American women are now addicted to Big Pharma meds for life: a veritable Stepford Wives come true, and no philosophers even notice it.

The Drug War also gives materialism an advantage in talks about origins because the Drug War outlaws all the substances that give us experiential evidence of a greater reality. Nitrous oxide convinced William James that we only see a small part of reality in our daily lives, but Drug Warriors in Britain are already doing their best to outlaw the substance and thus keep philosophers from following up on such leads.

Thanks for not ignoring me!

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

March 1, 2023

It's amazing how many philosophers believe that the Drug War is just its own separate issue, like, say, abortion or gun rights. What they fail to realize is that the Drug War ideology causes all sorts of issues that affect everybody. The Drug War ideology of substance demonization both discourages and outlaws research on psychoactive agents that have prima facie value in treating conditions like depression, Alzheimer's and autism, given the fact that psychedelics can grow new neurons. The Drug War, in other words, censors science, as much or more than it was censored in the time of Galileo. The Drug War also violates the Natural Law upon which America was found, meaning that the Drug War should be front and center in all discussions of American jurisprudence, yet I've audited entire lecture series on the history of the legal system in America and the professors have never even MENTIONED the Drug War, let alone described how it has overthrown Natural Law.

So, again, the Drug War affects all sorts of aspects of American life, and yet most experts in the variously affected fields are silent on the subject.

Some materialists are no doubt happy for this scientific censorship because it tends to outlaw only those medicines that work in an holistic way, leaving them free to ignore the hints about non-physical reality that philosophers from William James to Plato have gleaned from using psychoactive substances.

Next essay: How Scientific American reckons without the drug war
Previous essay: In Praise of Opium

More Essays Here


More materialist nonsense. "We" are the only reason that the universe exists as a universe rather than as inchoate particles.
It is consciousness which, via perception, shapes the universe into palpable forms. Otherwise it's just a chaos of particles. The very fact that you can refer to "the sun" shows that your senses have parsed the raw data into a specific meaning. "We" make this universe.
As such, "we" are important. The sun is just a chaos of particles that "we" have selected out of the rest of the raw data and declared "This we shall call the sun!" "We" make this universe. Consciousness is fundamental.
Besides, why should I listen to the views of a microbe?
Materialists are always trying to outdo each other in describing the insignificance of humankind. Crick at least said we were "a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules." Musk downsizes us to one single microbe. He wins!
Musk vies with his fellow materialists in his attempt to diss humans as insignificant. But we are not insignificant. The very term "insignificant" is a human creation. Consciousness rules. Indeed, consciousness makes the rules. Without us, there would only be inchoate particles.

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.
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.
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.

essays about

A Quantum of Hubris
Unscientific American: the hypocritical materialism of Elon Musk
Modern Science as a symptom of insipient madness
The Book of the Damned continued

essays about

How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
How Thomas Nagel Reckons Without the Drug War
Materialism and 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

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, Materialism and the Drug War Part II: open letter to the Discovery Institute, published on February 28, 2023 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)