Essay date: February 28, 2023

Materialism and the Drug War Part II

open letter to the Discovery Institute

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 effect 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

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old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.

It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)

If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley.

Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
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