bird icon for twitter

Mycologists as DEA Collaborators

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

June 29, 2019

In response to "Drugged, Castrated, Eager to Mate: the Lives of Fungi-Infected Cicadas", by JoAnna Klein, in the June 28, 2019, edition of The New York Times.

Your article about the cicadas was simultaneously fascinating and depressing. Am I the only one who finds it sad that the DEA has to be consulted by a scientist before he or she can even investigate certain kinds of mushrooms and their byproducts? The fungi in question are grown by Mother Nature after all, not by Pablo Escobar: and whence does the government draw its moral right to criminalize the freely offered bounty of Mother Nature?

The government's interference in mycology must steer a lot of scientists away from that field. What scientist would want the government looking over their back on every mushroom-hunting foray? I can't help but feel, therefore, that many of those who remain in the field are complacent about government interference in science and may actually take pride in being DEA collaborators first and mushroom hunters second.

Dr. Kasson himself seems to be in thrall to the Drug War based on his use of terminology. He twice refers to mushrooms as "narcotics," when from a scientific standpoint, this is false. Psilocybin is a psychedelic, not a soporific agent. But in our society, "narcotic" is a drug-war pejorative, and so Kasson's use of the term suggests an unconscious desire to libel those substances of which the DEA does not approve, thereby making a patriotic virtue out of a government-imposed necessity.

As strange as the cicada story sounds, Kasson would not be so flummoxed by it had he read the book by Giorgio Samorini entitled "Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness." That's a politically incorrect book par excellence, because it demonstrates that the desire to alter consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the animal kingdom, not some evil impulse limited to 20th-century hippies and 21st-century ravers. (As Samorini points out: moths get drunk on the nectar of the datura flower, caribou trip on fly-agaric mushrooms, and cows have such a penchant for locoweed that it caused an agricultural crisis in Kansas in 1883.)

English Biologist JBS Haldane once said (a la Werner Heisenberg's comments about the universe): "Nature is not only odder than we think, but odder than we CAN think." This is no doubt especially true for those who expect the animal kingdom to respect our modern drug-war sensibilities about psychoactive plants.

Author's Follow-up: September 5, 2022

Mycologists are not the only Drug War collaborators, of course. The government censorship of modern science continues unabated as magazines like Science and Science News continue to reckon without the Drug War. How do they reckon without the Drug War? By continuing to publish article after article on topics where both the author's assumptions and conclusions would have been very different indeed if we lived in a world where psychoactive medicines were legal. In the popular press as well, we continue to be bombarded with self-help books that promise all the results that psychoactive medicine could help us supply almost overnight -- but in which the author pretends that psychoactive medicines simply do not exist. If Americans were honest with themselves, all such articles and books would be prefaced with a disclaimer that America is a Drug War republic and that therefore the authors have refused to even contemplate the role that psychoactive medicines might have played in connection with the topics about which the authors write.

This is another reason for the Drug War's longevity: the fact that Americans pretend that such a war does not exist. They believe that they can live in a free country while pretending that mother nature's godsend plant medicines do not exist. But science cannot really continue as normal when scientists dogmatically ignore the facts of life, i.e., the natural baseline from which they write. They thus live in an imaginary world, one that skews all their scientific conclusions in favor of materialism and Christian Science -- blissfully unaware that they are censored by their government every bit as much as Galileo was censored by the church in the 17th century.

The Links Police

Do you know why I stopped you? That's right, because the Drug War gives me carte blanche to be a noxious busybody. But, no, I actually stopped you this time to remind you of another essay or two related to the topic of the Drug War's censorship of science in so-called free America. (Oh, and while I'm at it: your left rear tail light is out as well.)

Silence equals Death in America's Drug War
Mycologists as DEA Collaborators

Author's Follow-up: October 10, 2022

Two of the best documentaries about fungi ("Fantastic Fungi" and "The Kingdom") do not even mention the war on drugs, even though no job is more explicitly censored by drug law than the field of mycology, in that the mycologist is tacitly forbidden to investigate substances like psilocybin (as the above article demonstrates) -- to the contrary, they are expected to "report" those shrooms to drug authorities. But mycologists are in good company when ignoring the way that they are censored by the Drug War: the entire scientific world is ignoring this fact. And so we see nothing but pablum appearing in book form on topics like depression and treating Alzheimer's. Why? Because the authors of such books have censored their own work to ignore the thousands of psychoactive substances that might change our prognosis for such conditions for the better. And so Drug War censorship is far worse than the Church's censorship of Galileo, for at least Galileo realized that he was censored and why, whereas modern academics pretend that they are living in a free world and so they are researching modern problems from a natural baseline, whereas they are really starting their research with the Drug Warrior premise that psychoactive medicines are bad and most be ignored when it comes to scientific research.

Indeed, substance demonization has become so ingrained in American culture that many scientists will tell you that it's wrong even to write an objective book about drugs like coca and opium for fear that it will cause drug abuse. This view is based on the idea that human beings are babies when it comes to psychoactive substances, that they couldn't be helped by knowledge and so must be taught to fear the politically defined substances called "drugs" -- rather than learning enough to begin asking inconvenient questions about them. To think that those academics actually believe that ignorance is a good thing! How low science has sunk under the war on drugs. No wonder we have overdoses and drug misuse-- because the Drug War is all about keeping Americans ignorant about the objective facts about psychoactive substances. This ignorance becomes extra deadly when prohibition incentivizes profiteers to sell the most addictive substances possible to their least educated clientele. Rather than recognizing the nightmare that this drug-war ignorance is causing, Drug Warriors point to all these negative outcomes and tell us triumphantly that: "See? Drugs are just horrible, aren't they?" Wrong. It's like an arsonist coming back to the scene of a fire and shouting: "See? Isn't fire horrible?" even though he himself had started the conflagration!

Next essay: This is your brain on Drug War propaganda
Previous essay: This is your brain on Effexor

More Essays Here

essays about

A Goliath that even David is afraid of
Rat Out Your Neighbors
Twelve Reasons why the DEA should be abolished
The Dark Side of the Monticello Foundation
Open Letter to Congressman Ben Cline, asking him to abolish the criminal DEA
Defund the DEA
The DEA: Poisoning Americans since 1973
The DEA's War on Alzheimer's Research
How the DEA determines if a religion is true
Put the DEA on Trial
Running with the DEA -- er, I mean the Devil
Torture 101 at DEA University
DEA Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity
Running with the torture loving DEA
The DEA Scheduling System is Based on Lies
Drug War Bait and Switch
COPS: TV Show for Racist Drug Warriors
My conversation with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
A Misguided Tour of Monticello
How the Jefferson Foundation Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

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, Mycologists as DEA Collaborators published on June 29, 2019 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)