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Open Letter to Erowid

about a misleading 2018 article by Karolina Zieba

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




August 22, 2020

rowid is (per its own description) "a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues." I sent its editors the following email today to alert them to the philosophically shallow reasoning in a 2018 article entitled "In case you choose not to say no to drugs, kids," published in The Student Newspaper.


This is not exactly a correction, but I could not find an email address that precisely covered my reason for writing you today.

I'm writing in reference to The Student Newspaper article that you cite, apparently because it contains a favorable mention of Erowid. The article is entitled "In Case You Choose Not to Say No to Drugs, Kids."

Although we might praise the author of that post for "having her heart in the right place," her article demonstrates clearly that she is under the influence of Drug War propaganda, which she has apparently accepted uncritically.

Why, for instance, should we be telling kids to say no to "drugs" in the first place, when drugs are essentially mother nature's plant medicines? Why do we not also want them to say no to "Big Pharma meds" to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted?

These are just two philosophical issues that loom unnoticed in Karolina Zieba's article. I critique the article in more detail in two essays on my site at abolishthedea.com (see links below). I invite you to read them. I've devoted two essays to this one article because I think that the staying power of drug-war prohibition has been due in large part to the philosophical shallowness of many of its would-be opponents, folks who write half-heartedly on the topic, taking the anemic and misinformed line that "Illegal drug use is unnecessary, but it's going to happen anyway, so we might as well allow it."

I fear that, like Karolina, many Erowid readers (perhaps editors, too, for all I know) may "have their heart in the right place" when it comes to these topics and yet fail to comprehend the full evil of the Drug War, because they have been bamboozled by Drug War lies, propaganda, and the drug-war revision of history thanks to which Americans never hear of the positive use of currently illegal substances. Perhaps they've also been bamboozled by well-meaning authors like Karolina herself who fail to grasp the many injustices that are perpetrated daily in the name of the Drug War: from stifled research on drugs to fight Alzheimer's to the use of electroshock therapy that could have been avoided had medical godsend plants been available to treat depression.

I also write because, by prominently listing Karolina's article, Erowid seems to be (at least to some degree) endorsing its content, and I therefore feel compelled to write you to explain why I believe that such an endorsement is misplaced.



Karolina Zieba just doesn't get it
What Liberals ALWAYS get wrong about the drug war



July 18, 2022




Brian shot, Brian scored. Yes, writers like Karolina seem to share the Libertarian view of "drugs" -- they agree with the Drug Warrior that this politically defined category of substances is indeed horrible -- but since such horrible substances exist and people seem to want to use them (sigh...), well, doggone it, we shouldn't go overboard in trying to punish them!

With friends like that in the drug-law-reform business, who needs enemies?

The fact is that there are no such things as "drugs." Why not? Because there are no substances that are bad in and of themselves, without regard to how, why, when and where they are used and by whom. Even the highly toxic Botox can be used in safe doses and in safe ways.

Besides, the kinds of substances that we demonize today have inspired entire religions (including the Vedic-Hindu religion and the mushroom and coca cults of Latin America) and been used wisely for good reasons by such western luminaries as Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, HG Wells, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Richard Feynman, Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft -- along with a who's who of philosophical greats including Plato, who got his ideas about the afterlife from his psychedelic-fueled experience at the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Finally, never mind what happened in the past: once we stop demonizing substances, we'll see that (Drug Warrior lies not withstanding) psychoactive drugs can be strategically used for all sorts of mind-building purposes. Morphine could be used intermittently to improve our appreciation of mother nature. Opium could be used intermittently to improve our knack for creative visualization. And coca (as HG Wells and Jules Verne well knew) can be used wisely to increase our mental focus for tasks like writing books.

But America's Office of National Drug Control Policy is committed to ignoring any possible beneficial uses for these "drugs." In fact, the organization's ground rules actually require them to ignore any potential benefits of vilified psychoactive substances, meaning, of course, that the organization in question should be referred to as the Office of National Drug Control Propaganda.

With this backstory in mind, we can see how would-be drug-law reformers (like the Liberal Media and Libertarians) are actually damning drugs with their faint praise of them. I fear that they have all received one too many teddy bears from the State Police in their formative years in return for having "just said no" to the psychoactive bounty of Mother Nature.




Next essay: The Drug War Board Game
Previous essay: Karolina Zieba just doesn't get it

More Essays Here



essays about
OPEN LETTERS

Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
Open Letter to Anthony Gottlieb
Open Letter to Congressman Ben Cline, asking him to abolish the criminal DEA
Open Letter to Diane O'Leary
Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama
Open Letter to Gabrielle Glaser
Open letter to Kenneth Sewell
Open Letter to Lisa Ling
Open Letter to Nathan at TheDEA.org
Open letter to Professor Troy Glover at Waterloo University
Open Letter to Richard Hammersley
Open Letter to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Open Letter to the Virginia Legislature
Open Letter to Variety Critic Owen Glieberman
Open letter to Wolfgang Smith
Open Letter to Vincent Rado
Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
Critique of the Philosophy of Happiness
Heroin versus Alcohol
End the Drug War Now
How the Drug War Screws the Depressed
How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987
How to Unite Drug War Opponents of all Ethnicities
Ignorance is the enemy, not Fentanyl
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Predictive Policing in the Age of the Drug War
Speaking Truth to Big Pharma
Teenagers and Cannabis
Teenagers and Cannabis
Psychedelics and Depression
The Drug War and Armageddon
The Invisible Mass Shootings
The problem with Modern Drug Reform Efforts
The Menace of the Drug War
The Mother of all Western Biases
Top 10 Problems with the Drug War
Why CBS 19 should stop supporting the Drug War
Why DARE should stop telling kids to say no
Why the Drug War is Worse than you can Imagine
Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
The Drug War Cure for Covid
Another Cry in the Wilderness
Open Letter to Vincent Hurley, Lecturer
Canadian Drug Warrior, I said Get Away
Open Letter to Margo Margaritoff
Open Letter to Roy Benaroch MD
How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment



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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, Open Letter to Erowid: about a misleading 2018 article by Karolina Zieba, published on August 22, 2020 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)