Essay date: May 23, 2021

Open Letter to Variety Critic Owen Glieberman

regarding his Drug War-biased review of the movie 'Four Good Days'

How Variety reviewers are Drug War collaborators, empowering Christian Science fascism at home and abroad

egarding your review of "Four Good Days," I would like to politely suggest that you are writing under the influence of Drug War lies and propaganda.

Until America came along, people did not blame drugs for problems. They blamed a lack of knowledge on the part of the substance user, and it is the Drug War that keeps us from obtaining this knowledge, to the point that scientists can be arrested for investigating certain kinds of psychoactive plant medicine. The Drug War insists that we FEAR psychoactive substances rather than learn about them. Moreover, this Drug War is a violation of natural law because it prevents us from using plant medicine that grows at our very feet. Just ask Thomas Jefferson, who rolled over in his grave when Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants (the same Reagan who urged kids to turn in their parents for using substances of which politicians disapprove, a tactic that would have made Joseph Stalin proud).

You say that the addict is running from "inner dullness," but history shows that human beings have always been interested in gaining personal transcendence. The entire Vedic religion was founded to worship the psychoactive insights provided by plant medicine. The psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries lasted 2,000 consecutive years and influenced the metaphysical thinking of Aristotle and Plato. Mesoamerican peoples have routinely found uplifting religious insight from the consumption of psychedelic mushrooms (until Columbus arrived and forced them to switch to the shabby escapist drug called alcohol, which Glenn Close hypocritically favors in "Four Good Days"). Yet Drug War censorship ignores such historical facts -- just as it ignores Benjamin Franklin's use of opium, HG Wells' use of coca wine, and the fact that Francis Crick's double helix was inspired by generous helpings of psychedelic medicine.

The Drug War's demonization and scapegoating of amoral substances has already created a self-proclaimed "Drug War Hitler" in the Philippines, aka Duterte. The last thing we need is an American movie in which a booze-swilling mother looks at a young poorly educated substance dealer and says: "He should be dead." Nonsense. The Drug War should be dead. The Drug War should stop incentivizing the sale of addictive products. The Drug War should stop preventing us from studying plant medicine to provide safe use guidelines and suggested safer alternatives. The Drug War should stop forcing us to take religiously motivated urine tests in order to ensure that we are all good Christian Scientists in America -- for there is nothing scientific or just about "just saying no" -- that is a religious idea first championed by Mary Baker Eddy. And so the Drug War is the vicious state enforcement of the Christian Science religion.

"Four Good Days" is full of Drug War nonsense. The "addiction experts" in the film basically charge addicts $3,000 and throw them on a cot to undergo cold turkey. This, too, only makes sense to the Drug Warrior Christian Science mentality, according to which psychoactive "drugs" are bad, no matter what they're used for, whereas in a scientific, free, and humane world, we would provide the "addict" with plant medicine that helps them achieve transcendence through less addictive means, without forcing them to undergo a religiously motivated "cold turkey." If Glenn Close's character were really interested in doing the right thing, she herself would "get off" alcohol -- and then encourage her child to "get off" of cigarettes. But Glenn Close's character is more interested in looking like a good drug-fearing Christian. She's more worried about her daughter's violation of Drug War sensibilities than she is about the fact that her daughter is clogging up her lungs with carcinogens even as the two speak about the evil, horrible, terrible, awful heroin.

Consider the hypocrisy of this superstitious drug demonization, in light of the fact that 1 in 4 American women are hooked on Big Pharma antidepressants for life: a whole nation of Stepford Wives, and yet Americans can't see this pharmacological dystopia that is staring them right in the face every day in the form of bleary female eyes. For make no mistake, SSRIs are effectively tranquilizers and show no signs of helping a user achieve the self-actualization and self-insight that psychoactive plant medicine has been well-documented to provide under proper therapeutic circumstances. These SSRIs merely make life livable, making the user a good consumer -- a good consumer who buoys the stock market by paying a monthly annuity to Big Pharma for their extremely expensive antidepressants. Moreover, this stealth addiction turns these SSRI addicts into lifelong patients, and nothing can be more demoralizing than that. I should know, I've been hooked on the mind-numbing meds for decades now -- and at 62, I am forced to abase myself every few months to see a 20-something "doctor" who will decide if I still am worthy to pay through the nose for the SSRI to which I'm addicted. I now know how the Ancient Mariner felt -- only he had only to tell his life story to strangers -- he did not have to pay for the privilege.

I hope I've written something here to help you reconsider the way that you review movies like "Four Good Days" in the future, movies that serve to demonize drugs in the hypocritical Christian Science fashion typical of the Drug War. Such movies should be panned for their message, in the same way that we would pan a movie for encouraging Nazism.

What's the end game, after all? If we take all this Drug War demonization seriously, then Duterte and Glenn Close are right: we should simply kill anyone who dares deal in plant medicine of which politicians disapprove. But is this really what America should be "all about"? America was founded on Natural Law, after all, so do we even have the right to alienate citizens from the plant medicine that grows at our very feet? John Locke didn't think so. He wrote that citizens have the right to "the use of the earth and all that lies therein."

There is no drug problem in America -- but America has a huge problem with drugs. We demonize them instead of treating them as amoral substances about which we need to learn everything possible. By doing so, we create a psychiatric pill mill, incentivize bad actors, deprive the depressed and elderly of godsend meds like MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms, and we force once-free Americans to become Christian Scientists in all but name, by forcing them to submit their urine for drug testing. Why? Because thanks to the Drug War, we judge a person not according to the content of their character but according to the contents of their digestive system.

Yet we're in such denial about our own American problem with drugs that we insist we know what's best for the entire world! What imperialist hubris! And so we travel overseas to burn poppy and coca plants, blissfully indifferent to what the people actually want and willfully ignorant of the fact that the substances we hate have been used responsibly for millennia by non-western cultures. And then should a country refuse to respect our Drug War prejudice, we use that as an excuse to invade and violate all diplomatic norms to arrest their leaders and install a government that respects our anti-scientific, imperialist and Christian Science prejudices regarding the politically created boogieman that we call "drugs." If we really have a right to travel overseas and burn coca and poppy plants, then Islamic countries have the same right to come stateside and burn our grape vines.

Please, please, please consider these issues before you sign off uncritically on the next Drug War movie -- like "Crisis," for example, in which the DEA hypocritically "comes to the rescue" to fight an addiction crisis that the Drug War itself created by outlawing all means to personal transcendence, thereby incentivizing bad actors to create business models based on addiction. Or "Running with the Devil," in which the DEA Agent (played by Leslie Bibb) hangs one "drug suspect" by a meat hook and shoots another at point-blank range -- while she herself is puffing away on a cigarette containing the most dangerous drug in America: nicotine. Then she spits on a suspect. Why? Because he helps sell plant medicine that has inspired entire religions.

In short, the Drug War creates all the evil that it is designed to fight, and then some. I respectfully encourage you to begin writing your movie reviews with this in mind!

Because "Four Good Days" is a horrible movie. It champions a drug-war mindset which, even as we speak, is causing a civil war in Mexico and empowering death squads in the Philippines -- while preventing citizens around the world from reaching down and accessing the plant medicine that grows at their very feet, a drug War which killed almost 800 blacks in Chicago in 2021 thanks to the heavily armed gangs that prohibition naturally creates in poor and poorly educated communities. This is a Drug War of which Stalin would be proud, not Thomas Jefferson.

May 1, 2022

It's been two years since Owen first ignored the above comment -- and his stonewalling continues. Brian recently wrote to criticize Variety for ignoring the Drug War in their reviews, and the entire staff ignored him. He wrote again and they ignored him. And again and they ignored him. He's written Variety at least ten times in the last two months, and Variety has ghosted him every time. Variety refuses to be called on the red carpet for their failure to confront the fascist implications of modern-Drug War films in their movie reviews. That's why, ideally, you, reader, would write your own movie reviews of fascist Drug War films like Crisis and Running with the Devil and send them to Variety and IMDB and Hollywood Today, etc., and point out how the Drug War itself causes all the violence that the film blames on the modern boogieman called "drugs."

Author's Follow-up: August 29, 2022

La-di-da, dum-dee-dum... Oh, hey. Just waiting for a response from Owen baby. Any time now. Meanwhile, America should take a look at itself in the mirror. The Drug War has Nazified our language. In a time when it's finally wrong to diss any kind of ethnic group, we suddenly have carte blanche to demonize those who use time-honored botanical medicines of which corrupt politicians disapprove. They are "scumbags" and "filth," it seems. And some of the most potty-mouthed Drug Warriors come from the left. It's Christian Science on steroids. I think it was Jesse Jackson who called drug dealers (somewhat redundantly) "blood-sucking vampires."

I would like to reserve the term "blood-sucking vampires" for Drug Warriors for having: created a world in which we purposefully deny effective pain medicine to children in hospice; in which we "take our loved ones off life support" rather than let them drift painlessly to sleep on morphine; in which we ruin people's lives if they use plant medicine that has inspired entire religions, in which we create a psychiatric pill mill that turns 1 in 4 women into patients for life.

Other "accomplishments" of "blood-sucking vampires," i.e. Drug Warriors: they lie about psychoactive medicine, falsely claiming that they have no valid uses whatsoever, when there are no such substances in the universe. Creative humanity can find positive uses for any substance, in the right dose, at the right time, for the right reason, in the right place. To think otherwise is to be superstitious -- and to insist that scientists think that way is tyranny. Teach, don't punish. Law enforcement should have nothing to do with substance use. We should be completely honest about all substances, including alcohol, tobacco and antidepressants, and teach folks how to use safely if they so desire -- since we are never going to conquer humanity's desire for self-transcendence -- nor should we ever do so, since transcendence is the well-spring of the religious impulse.

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

Next essay: In Response to Laurence Vance
Previous essay: How the Drug War Blinds us to Godsend Medicine

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Running with the DEA -- er, I mean the Devil
Glenn Close but no cigar
The Runner: Racist Drug War Agitprop
Movie Warnings from Uncommon Sense

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 Kenneth Sewell
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 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


(seemingly useful organizations)

Sana Collective
Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at 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.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

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)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Whitaker, Robert "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at