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Open Letter to Margo Margaritoff

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

July 13, 2023

The following letter is in response to the article entitled "A Disturbing Look Inside The Victorian Opium Dens That Launched The First Modern War On Drugs" by Marco Margaritoff on the All That's Interesting website, October 17, 2021. The article was disturbing for me, but not for the reason that Marco believed it would be.

Hey, Marco.

Just a reminder that opium has been used for millennia and that it's a violation of natural law to outlaw a plant. In fact, if you want a good idea for a story, you might want to cover the fact that Jefferson's estate at Monticello was raided by the DEA in 1987 so that agents could confiscate his poppy plants. That's an old story, of course, but the REAL story is that the Foundation refuses (to this day) to tell its visitors about the raid. Meanwhile, the Foundation is also playing ball with the DEA by removing hemp from Monticello. This is in violation of everything that the opium- and garden-loving Thomas Jefferson stood for: namely, natural law and the idea that some things were so basic -- like our right to Mother Nature -- that the government could not take them from us.

The only den of iniquity in 1914 was Congress, where they betrayed the founding principles of democracy by asserting government's right to give or withhold Mother Nature's bounty as it saw fit. Congress tried to cover its fears of the Asian menace with talk about public health -- but they created the health problems with prohibition. Now, instead of folks being able to freely choose a regulated product, we have kids dying every day from substances that are not regulated and about which kids know nothing thanks to America's strategy of fear over education.

Instead of writing stories that prop up this violation of natural law, why not write a story about BEER HALLS, and the drunk guys who leave them in cars to cause fatal accidents -- while they're on their way home to beat their wives?

Meanwhile, if you want to learn "the truth about opium," read the book of that name by William Brereton. You'll see how the opium panic was created by a religious organization that was the British Equivalent of the Anti-Saloon League -- based on lies and misperceptions of elite Brits who had never been to China -- and based on the interests of protestant missionaries, who preferred that the Chinese use the shabby western drug called alcohol.

Sincerely Yours,

PS I've done a little snooping myself. I wrote to David Blumenstock, Manager of Visitor Services at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. I complained that Monticello was "covering up" the DEA raid of 1987. He told me that he was sorry that I did not think the Foundation was covering the matter satisfactorily. I responded that, as far as I knew, they were not covering it at ALL and I asked him to correct me if I was wrong about that. That was two weeks ago now and I have yet to hear back.

This silence on the part of the Foundation was pointed out in the 2011 book "Opium for the Masses" by Jim Hogshire, a book that Michael Pollan has recently referenced in his work.

Author's Follow-up: July 13, 2023

The opium den did not launch the Drug War: Xenophobia launched the Drug War -- fear of minorities who did not "get off" on alcohol. These strange ways had to be suppressed in Christian America.

Author's Follow-up: December 20, 2023

Suppressed in Christian America, did I say? They had to be suppressed ALL AROUND THE WORLD as it turned out.

Next essay: The American Gestapo
Previous essay: In Defense of Opium

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You have been reading an article entitled, Open Letter to Margo Margaritoff published on July 13, 2023 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)