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.)
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!
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
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You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. 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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war 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.
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. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
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)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press