lmost two decades ago, I was dining with my brother-in-law in Maryland, when the topic of online posting came up. I mentioned that I never open up my articles to posting, and my brother-in-law asked why. After all, he said, don't I want feedback?
Yes, I said, but feedback from whom? An axe murderer in Albania? A snarky 14-year-old bully in Baltimore? Someone who has studied the subject in question for 10 minutes whereas I have contemplated it for four decades?
Opening oneself up to indiscriminate comments, imho, is emotional suicide. By doing so, you set malicious minds working, trying to think how they can push your buttons most emphatically in order, not to elucidate the issue at hand, but rather to show off their rhetorical skills and make you, the author, feel like a non-entity. Why on earth would I wish to open myself up for that, unless my very point in posting was to get in a shouting match with anonymous morons?
That's why I should have known better than to start my own Reddit group called Philosophy of the Drug War. The first comment I received was from someone who told me I complained too much, that I was "hardcore," that everyone knew that the Drug War was nonsense anyway, and that I should "drop the philosophy schtick."
The guy was gaslighting me: attempting to convince me that all was well: that I was imagining the Drug Wars that the US has created in Mexico, that I was imagining the existence of Duterte, the self-proclaimed "Drug War Hitler" in the Philippines, that I was imagining the fact that millions of minorities have been removed from the voting rolls due to drug laws that were specifically written for that purpose. I was also apparently imagining the fact that most menial workers in America still have to urinate for their employers in order to get a job -- and the fact that scientists were censoring their work so as not to violate Drug War ideology, by treating the Drug War as a natural baseline (that is to say ignoring it in their writings) rather than admitting openly that their research on medicines in particular has been hobbled by drug law that outlaws an entire category of psychoactive plant medicines.
No, no, Brian, "all is well," says the poster, just before he rushes off to take the annual drug test for his minimum-wage job at Lowe's hardware store -- after which he goes home and watches a Drug War movie in which the DEA openly trashes the constitution, tortures drug suspects, and shoots the so-called "kingpins" at point-blank range.
Who needs this kind of grief? And to write back was folly. It would be like trying to convince a bully 4th grader that you, as an adult, actually know things that he, as a child, does not, including entire back stories about natural law, jurisprudence and theology.
As an adult, one has to stop, take a deep breath, and shut down the whole conversation at once -- because the alternative is to have this button-pusher drag you back four decades into grade school and a tit-for-tat shouting match.
And so I closed my Reddit group entitled Philosophy of the Drug War. At least I think I closed it. The Reddit interface is so moderator-unfriendly that I never could find the links that would seem to shut it down entirely, so all the grade schoolers on the planet are now free to pile on at will, to tell me how needless it is to speak up against the Drug War. Of course, one wants to tell him that he is part of the problem: that the whole reason the Drug War has lasted 100+ years is because folks like himself fail to appreciate the Drug War's role in facilitating the election of fascists, in militarizing police forces, in making drug-hating Christian Science the state religion, and in violating the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America. If the freedom of the press were suddenly outlawed, we'd justifiably be screaming about it, not writing dispassionate wishy-washy articles which state that "all things considered, we should probably let the press be free again, don't ya think?"
That said, I'm always open to mature criticism and valuable feedback, but if the critic can't be bothered to email me personally with their concerns-- and using their real name -- then why should I be bothered to read their critique?
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. 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. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it 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.
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.
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)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company