I'm glad that I managed to escape the indignity of drug testing when I was young, although I'm sure there are Drug Warriors out there right now who are trying to come up with ways that elderly freelancers like myself can be drug-tested as well.
When I was a teenager, the major injustice of the hiring process involved having a rent-a-cop test you to see if you were lying - and I lost at least one job that way, not because I was lying but because the whole scientistic process of the "lie detector" test made me extremely nervous (with wires everywhere and a community college freshman taking notes like he's some kind of Einstein carefully crunching numbers to determine my precise level of personal integrity). Plus, I have a habit of overthinking questions. ("Have you ever stolen anything?" Do they mean as an adult? What if I stole from my little sister in grade school? "Have you ever lied?" What exactly constitutes a lie? Am I lying if I don't even realize it at the time?) And it turns out that this habit of overthinking things brings about the same physiological symptoms that the second-rate Einstein associates with lying.
That's why you never saw me behind the counter of a convenience store in Gloucester, Virginia, in the late 1970s: because some rent-a-cop pegged me as a shady character thanks to the magic of American pseudoscience.But I had it easy compared to kids of today: they have to face the blatantly unconstitutional indignity of drug testing, which enforces the Christian Science theological doctrine that human beings must not use "drugs," but rely only on faith instead.
Bullcrap. I would end up starving if I had to start my career today. No way am I going to urinate so that young amoral lab technicians can find out if I've been using plant medicines of which politicians disapprove. None of their blankety-blank business.
In a sane world, someone would be "outing" these lab technicians who are in the business of ruining the lives of Americans merely because they demand the same rights that everyone in the world had prior to 1914: the right to use the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. But these amoral pseudoscientists no doubt get fancy benefit packages thanks to their daily efforts to ruin American lives for no reason whatsoever.
Funny, back in the '80s, when Bush and Reagan did everything they could to demonize this boogieman scapegoat that they called "drugs" - including the Stalinist practice of asking kids to turn in their parents should they use substances of which politicians disapproved - the very few who protested this injustice were considered crazy spoilsports. What's wrong with making sure that everybody is straight and sober and a good Christian, after all?
The problem, of course, is that I have a right to the plants and fungi that grow at my very feet. This is my birthright as an American under the natural law upon which Jefferson founded this country. That's why Jefferson spun in his grave in 1987 when the DEA marched onto Monticello in jackboots and confiscated the ex-president's poppies, in a blatant coup against the very concept of natural law. And who says "drugs" are bad in any case? A psychoactive substance gave birth to the Vedic religion and the psychedelic Eleusinian mysteries were the most important event in the lives of such western heroes as Cicero and Plato.
Moreover, there has never been any proof that the drugs for which one is tested actually conduce to poor work behavior.
To the contrary, Sigmund Freud used cocaine to improve his work performance, in the same way that Benjamin Franklin and Francis Crick used opium and psychedelics respectively to improve theirs. If work behavior was a factor, then drug-testers would blacklist the users of Big Pharma dope such as SSRIs, which are highly addictive and lead to anhedonia, a lack of feelings, which is not exactly a good employee trait, at least in the service industry. Meanwhile, responsible marijuana use and the use of Ecstasy actually lead to more friendly employees: which in a sane world would be considered a good thing.
But the Drug War is all about judging folks by the substances that they have in their digestive systems, rather than by the way that they actually behave in life. That's why the Drug War is a recipe for endless violence - a fact that conservatives love, because it lets them steer public debate off of bad social policies (like the Drug War itself) and indulge in militarizing the police and cracking heads of political opponents, both at home and abroad. How? Through tyrannical laws that guarantee that the police, the Army and the DEA have carte blanche to be as mean as they wanna be. Far from decrying this trend, Americans cheer it on. They flock to drug-war movies, like Ancient Romans flocking to Gladiator fights, applauding as the DEA agents on screen hang Latino "drug suspects" from meat hooks and shoot them dead in cold blood.
This is the kind of world that we create when we fight a boogieman called "drugs" instead of dealing with the real social problems, like the Drug War itself, which lies about drugs (falsely claiming that they fry the brain) and then limits our access to plant medicines to the point where only the most addictive and dangerous substances are available on the black market - a black market created out of whole cloth by the Drug War, complete with worldwide gangs and cartels and omnipresent government corruption thanks to the great financial temptation that prohibition dangles before the unscrupulous bureaucrat.
And we haven't even gotten to the part where the Drug War blocks research on godsend psychoactive substances that hold the promise of curing Alzheimer's, beating depression, and helping hospice patients make their peace with death.
For these reasons and many more, I would "just say no" to drug testing were I transformed into a teenager at this very moment, destined to live my life again.
At least I hope I would. Mind you, I can't blame young people for docilely acceding to drug testing, even though it represents the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science Sharia. The government message to Americans, after all, is: comply or starve.
But someone's got to start pushing back.
Back in 1732, Polish nobleman Tadeusz Retjan collapsed in front of the door of his country's Parliament building to protest the partitioning of Poland among the Russians, the Prussians, and the Austrians. His message to his fellow deputies: "you will destroy our Motherland over my dead body." Unfortunately, he was the only one to complain against the apparent fait accompli: everyone else was too scared or too demoralized to resist the aggressors. But Poles remember Retjan to this day while the names of the other deputies have faded into obscurity.
Where are the modern Retjans that will actually say what so many of us know in our heart of hearts: that the Drug War is a canard, an excuse to ignore social problems and to militarize the world - and that drug testing is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science sharia, thus the establishment of a religion and the overthrow of the natural law upon which America was founded?
I can't ask young readers to "play the Retjan" and spoil their job chances by refusing drug testing. Perhaps, though, we freedom lovers (we fans and would-be avengers of the trampled rights of Thomas Jefferson) can find a creative way to fight back.
Here's an idea: the next time you're asked for a urine sample, submit that sample along with a signed copy of this essay (warning: you'll still be taking a chance, of course, since the employer may be so mean-spirited as to disqualify you for a job merely because you dared to protest the corrupt status quo):
I am providing this urine sample under protest since I do not believe that this business has the constitutional right to demand it. My rationale for this action is explained in the essay above.
Author's Follow-up: August 9, 2022
I remember three decades ago now, when I was at a party and the topic of drug testing somehow was broached. A 60-year-old (then twice my age) told me that he had no problem with drug testing because, quote, he had "nothing to hide."
I had been so primed with Drug War ideology by that time that I really didn't know how to respond -- although I sensed that my aged interlocutor was full of crap. Besides, this was the 1980s, when American kids were proudly turning in their parents at the behest of the president because mom and pop were using botanical medicines of which government disapproved.
Today when I consider the oldster's response, I want to say with 20-20 hindsight:
"If they were checking for the drug called alcohol, old man, you'd have something to hide, all right."
Drug testing is an outrage because it essentially removes an American from the workforce for a non-crime -- without a trial, and with no way of appealing.
It demonstrates how easily America can find a pretense to strip citizens of their rights. Americans would be outraged if even a murderer was convicted without trial and without hope of appeal. But when Congress outsources drug testing to corporations, suddenly the denial of trial is gladly welcomed and embraced. Literally overnight, Americans lost their right to a fair trial. Moreover the punishment for this stealth conviction was cruel and unusual: namely, the loss of one's right to make a living in America.
And this is all based on the lie of the Drug War, which tells us that there is a class of substances which has no positive uses, for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances whatsoever.
In truth, there are no substances of that kind. Even deadly botox has a use for some people in small doses.
Listen to "Urine Testers Wanted"...
Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.
The Drug War is a bipartisan effort, hence its staying power, but if the Republicans have their way, we will have an insurrection to install a president who wants to carry out "the final solution" for the drug war, by executing those who dare to traffic in botanical godsends of which racist politicians disapprove. Yes, Joe Biden himself is part of the problem with his belief in prioritizing fear over facts and incarceration over education. Moreover, he just doesn't "get" the simple fact that prohibition causes violence, it's as simple as that. But the openly traitorous republicans, with the help of Fox News, want to take the drug war to "a whole new level" -- while turning America into a Banana Republic, by getting rid of free elections and installing demagogues by force. Surely the least we can ask of American corporations is that they do not attempt to profit from the peddling of the lies that support this ongoing effort at insurrection. Sign the petition today to tell American businesses that they will be held responsible for supporting networks that openly support insurrection.
*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.
The above numbers may represent undercounts since some of these totals were compiled in late 2021.
The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."
Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!
The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.
Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!
Substance prohibition created drug gangs and cartels just as surely as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.
Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.
Drug War Victim of the Day
killed in Prince Georges County, Maryland on August 15, 2022
Southeast Washington DC remains a no-go zone, even for UPS drivers, as this latest shooting incident points out, which is 1 in 6 shootings that have taken place in the last week, two of them fatal. If this were happening in Hollywood, California, it would be a scandal. But movie stars are people, and victims of the drug war, especially when poor and black, are what Noam Chomsky calls 'unpeople.'
Yes, even the director of "Bamboozled" is bamboozled about drugs. He agrees with the drug warrior lie that there are psychoactive substances in nature that have no positive uses whatsoever, in any place, any time, any context. This superstitious way of thinking has forced me to go without godsend medicine my entire life. Thanks, Spike. Why do you want people to become drug-hating Christian Scientists, exactly? These things that you call "drugs" have inspired entire religions. The conservatives are laughing as they rush to the polls to elect fascists, because they have bamboozled Spike Lee himself to sign off on the drug war which brings death and incarceration to inner city blacks. Throw away that "just say no" teddy bear with which you were bribed in childhood, Spike, and open your eyes.
Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!
Here's my letter to his website:
Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel.
New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner .
New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys .
New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War.
New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Liberalism and Its Discontents.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy.
New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics.
New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell.
New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
The Birth of the Modern.
New York: Harper Collins, 1991.
Johnson says that opium caused Samuel Taylor Coleridge's problems. Nonsense. Lack of education and irresponsibility causes problems. As Johnson himself says, most Brits used opium as needed without trouble.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead .
New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de.
Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique .
Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution .
New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle .
New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Out of our Heads.
New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
When Plants Dream.
New York: Watkins Publishing, 2019.
I find philosophical problems with most of the books that I read on the subject of psychoactive medicine, but Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the few authors who could teach me a few things on this topic.
Poe, Edgar Allan.
The Essential Poe.
New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence .
New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S..
Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville .
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 .
Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered.
New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.
New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. .
New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler.
New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds.
Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences .
New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers.
New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market.
New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R..
Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System.
Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .
New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine
There are an absolute LEGION of online articles and newspaper stories that get it wrong about so-called drugs. Even those in favor of drug law reform have been subject to drug war propaganda from childhood (and they probably have a DARE teddy bear to prove it!) so speak truth to nonsense and comment on the articles that get it wrong.
Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
How America can end inner-city homicides overnight in three easy steps:
Re-legalize Mother Nature's plant medicines
Treat substance abuse as a health problem
Buy back inner-city guns at double their purchase price (even triple the price would be a huge bargain in the long run)
This will, of course, be a huge sacrifice for everyday Americans, who do love their drug war, bless them.