bird icon for twitter

Open letter to Kenneth Sewell

author of Red Star Rogue

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

June 19, 2022

ear Mr. Sewell:

Regarding the epilogue to Red Star Rogue:

I was sorry to see that you equated the use of submarines for drug dealing with the use of submarines for launching nuclear weapons, as if there's any relationship whatsoever.

Drug prohibition causes thousands of deaths in inner cities every year (almost 800 in Chicago alone in 2021) because prohibition has created drug gangs out of whole cloth in poor neighborhoods. The Drug War has caused civil wars overseas ab nihilo and emboldened a self-described Drug War Hitler in the Philippines. It has disfranchised millions of minorities, thereby ensuring the election of fascists. Nor has it stopped people from using drugs. America is now the most drug-using country in the world. One in 4 American women are chemically dependent upon Big Pharma meds for their entire life, the biggest addiction crisis in world history, many times more than were ever habituated to opium (like Benjamin Franklin) before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 turned them from "habitues" into "addicts" overnight. The Drug War also caused the opioid crisis because its crackdown on less harmful medicines naturally encouraged drug dealers to deal the most readily available controlled substances (like legally prescribed pain killers). On a personal note, as a chronically depressed 64-year-old, I have gone my whole life now without godsend medicines that grow at my feet, all because America violated natural law by criminalizing plants and fungi. (Jefferson was rolling in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants.)

The nuclear risk is so high today precisely because our presidents were focusing on catching people who were selling godsend plant medicine rather than using the money to fight nuclear proliferation and increase world understanding.

What did Nixon do almost immediately after the Red Star Rogue incident (the near thermonuclear obliteration of Pearl Harbor)? He launched a "war on drugs," in which he outlawed naturally occurring medicines that had inspired entire religions in the past. What did Reagan do almost immediately after the Air Force almost destroyed half the country in "The Damascus Incident"? He cracked down on psychoactive plant medicine, much of which could help human beings become less belligerent and less reliant on military solutions to world problems, and called on children to turn in their parents for using plant medicine of which he disapproved.

You surely have to admit that the only hope for humanity, considering the facts on the ground that you enumerate, is to have a change of heart - and there is only one way for that to happen: for people to begin USING entheogens and empathogens: substances like MDMA and psilocybin that can actually teach an individual how to love their fellow human beings.

In light of these facts, I found it jarring for you to end your book on the Red Star incident by implying that drug dealing was on a par with blowing up Pearl Harbor or any other city.

"Drugs" is a political term, a scapegoat invention of conservatives that allows them to ignore real social problems and blame all trouble on inanimate substances (while intervening overseas at will, of course, on the pretense of eradicating "drugs"). Until 1914, all intelligent people knew that substances were only good or bad with reference to how they were actually used. But the Drug War tells us that such substances are evil in and of themselves, which is a point of view which has blinded us to endless life-affirming therapies, even preventing us from helping Alzheimer's patients and those with autism, let alone those who are depressed.

If the world is in precarious shape today and under a nuclear sword of Damocles, it is in large part because our leaders (like Nixon and Reagan) have sought to deflect attention from that issue and focus the American mind instead on the political boogieman called "drugs."

So I submit to you that drug dealers with submarines are not the problem.

I just hope America realizes this before my published warnings on this topic become an extant reproof to a future generation that ends up scrounging through the ruins of a burnt-out American city.

I'd personally rather have a flotilla of submarines dealing psychoactive plant medicines hand over fist in every port on earth - than to have even one populous city obliterated by a nuclear weapon.

America has to choose: do we want world peace, or do we want a war on the strategically created boogieman called "drugs"?

Let's hope we make a better choice than the Brits, who shut down the unprecedentedly peaceful rave scene in the 1990s because a "drug" helped inspire the harmony. The result: peace, love and understanding disappeared overnight, as empathogenic Ecstasy was replaced by anger-facilitating alcohol and special forces troops had to be hired to keep the peace. Another "victory" for the addle-brained "war on drugs."

Next essay: Elderly Victims of Drug War Ideology
Previous essay: Smart Uses for Opium and Coca

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic for them.
"In consciousness dwells the wondrous, with it man attains the realm beyond the material, and the peyote tells us where to find it." --Antonin Arnaud
"Now, now, Sherlock, that coca preparation is not helping you a jot. Why can't you get 'high on sunshine,' like good old Watson here?" To which Sherlock replies: "But my good fellow, then I would no longer BE Sherlock Holmes."
I have dissed MindMed's new LSD "breakthrough drug" for philosophical reasons. But we can at least hope that the approval of such a "de-fanged" LSD will prove to be a step in the slow, zigzag path toward re-legalization.
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.
"My faith votes and strives to outlaw religions that use substances of which politicians disapprove."
I don't believe in the materialist paradigm upon which SSRIs were created, according to which humans are interchangeable chemical robots amenable to the same treatment for human sadness. Let me use laughing gas and MDMA and coca and let the materialists use SSRIs.
America is insane: it makes liquor officially legal and then outlaws all the drugs that could help prevent and cure alcoholism.
There are plenty of "prima facie" reasons for believing that we could eliminate most problems with drug and alcohol withdrawal by chemically aided sleep cures combined with using "drugs" to fight "drugs." But drug warriors don't want a fix, they WANT drug use to be a problem.
One merely has to look at any issue of Psychology Today to see articles in which the author reckons without the Drug War, in which they pretend that banned substances do not exist and so fail to incorporate any topic-related insights that might otherwise come from user reports.
More Tweets

essays about

The End Times by Bryan Walsh
The Michael Pollan Fallacy
Michael Pollan and the Drug War
Brahms is NOT the best antidepressant
Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama

essays about

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 Erowid
Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama
Open Letter to Gabrielle Glaser
Open Letter to Lisa Ling
Open Letter to Nathan at
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

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, Open letter to Kenneth Sewell: author of Red Star Rogue, published on June 19, 2022 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)