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Richard Rudgley condemns 'drugs' with faint praise

a philosophical review of The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

November 7, 2022

Rudgley, Richard. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances. New York: Macmillan Publishers, 2014

"I do not condone the use of many of these substances and... I believe that some are socially and individually destructive..."--Richard Rudgley

Kudos to Rudgley for using the word "substances" in the title rather than "drugs," a label which is to psychoactive medicines as the label "scab" is to labor disputes: it's anything BUT objective. Still, Drug War propaganda has gotten to Rudgley, I'm afraid. In his introduction, he adopts the Drug Warrior habit of judging medicines in the abstract, telling us that some are "destructive." Really? In what circumstances are they so? In what doses? For what people? At what times? Or does he believe, like the Drug Warrior, that there are substances in the world that have no positive uses, ever, anywhere, at any time, for anybody? That's the anti-scientific lie that has kept academia off the trail of godsend cures for depression and Alzheimer's for the last 40-plus years, as researchers shy away from studying what they consider to be "destructive" substances.

There are no "destructive" substances, Richard, only good uses and bad uses, informed use and uninformed use. Even deadly toxins like Botox and cyanide have legitimate medical uses, however "destructive" they may seem in the abstract. When we condemn drugs as "destructive," we turn those substances into scapegoats for the bad social policies that rendered them dangerous in the first place.

If Rudgley thinks there are no positive uses for some drugs (a typical Drug Warrior belief), he should remember that almost no one in academia has ever dared to LOOK for those positives. Take morphine, for instance: we're told implicitly by the Drug War that it has almost no positive uses whatsoever, but in reality, morphine can give one a profound appreciation of mother nature (see Poe's "Tale of the Ragged Mountains"). But today almost everyone would call that use destructive. Why? Because they believe the Drug Warrior lie that addictive drugs have to be USED addictively, that education will never work and that human beings will always be gullible infants when it comes to mother nature's medicines. And so when we "look at the science" about such substances, we will find that almost every scientist self-censors themselves on the topic. Just look at the papers on and you will see thousands of papers about the misuse and abuse of "drugs," but almost none about their potential positive uses, as, for instance, how shrooms could help one appreciate music or MDMA can help one love their fellow human being.

That's how thoroughly westerners have been duped by Drug War propaganda. Even the most sensible opponents of the Drug War, like Richard Rudgley, are influenced by Drug War lies without even recognizing that fact. In Richard's case, he has learned to believe the anti-scientific notion that substances can be bad in and of themselves. Wrong. Substances are amoral. They become "socially and individually destructive" only thanks to ignorance and social policies, chiefly the policy of substance prohibition itself. When we ignore that once-obvious fact, we make a scapegoat for all our social problems out of the politically created straw man called "drugs."

Author's Follow-up: January 5, 2023

It is, in fact, Richard's superstitious view of "drugs" which is "socially and individually disastrous." To see this, consider the use of shock therapy. The therapists tell us that it is only used as a last resort. But that is a lie. The fact is that there are hundreds of psychoactive substances that could help the depressed tolerate -- and even enjoy -- this life without frying their brain in order to accomplish that goal. This would be all too obvious in a world that wanted to profit from psychoactive medicine, but in a time in which Drug War ideology reigns, I have to "spell it out" for folks:

The severely depressed could be given what today we disparage as "feel good" medicines on a weekly basis, in such a routine as to avoid addiction when desirable (remembering that even addiction is surely preferable to frying one's brain). The depressed could be taken on guided psychoactive trips to examine their lives and hopefully identify and surmount the conceptual hurdles that depress them. We could pharmacologically let them experience happiness so that they know that such a thing exists. The only thing holding us back is the puritan ethos of the Drug War, which fanatically tells us that it's better to fry this person's brain than to let them use a so-called "crutch." And that is utter Christian Science nonsense. If people are severely handicapped, then they NEED crutches, but modern 'psychology' says we should kick such crutches out from under them -- and fry their brains into the bargain.

Let's hope that someday this ideology will be seen for the hateful and fanatical expression of Christian Science that it is -- the same attitude that keeps kids in hospice from getting adequate pain relief thanks to our ideologically fueled fear of prescribing morphine -- and/or of prescribing it in the necessary dosage.

Next essay: How the Cato Institute is Bamboozled by Drug War Propaganda
Previous essay: Rat Out Your Neighbors

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The book "Plants of the Gods" is full of plants and fungi that could help addicts and alcoholics, sometimes in the plant's existing form, sometimes in combinations, sometimes via extracting alkaloids, etc. But drug warriors need addiction to sell their prohibition ideology.

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