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Self-Censorship in the Age of the Drug War

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




February 9, 2020

he more I learn about western society's wilful ignorance of naturally occurring psychoactive medicines, the harder it is for me to find good books to read. Almost all self-help books studiously avoid any reference to the power of psychoactive plants to facilitate the miraculous psychological changes that the authors advocate. Almost all scientific books pretend to be giving us the last word on consciousness and meaning, while yet ignoring the profound insights on these subjects that psychoactive plants can provide. Almost all books on depression speculate on what can be done with modern anti-depressants and/or talk therapy, as if psychoactive plants did not exist, as if the drastically limited pharmacy available to us under the Drug War was a natural condition with which all suggested treatment protocols must conform in order to be scientific. In other words, all of these books take the Drug War prohibitions as a natural given of life, and thence proceed to speculate and deduce at will, with the author never realizing that he or she is engaging in self-censorship in order to curry favor with the puritan sensibilities of the Drug War.

I don't know what's worse, however, authors who ignore speaking about psychoactive substances or those who speak about them -- because the latter authors almost ALWAYS adopt invalid drug-war premises when they attempt to analyze the so-called "drug problem" in America.

Take the book by David and Nic Sheff called "High." They say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but this is clearly the exception that proves the rule.

One can just look at the cover to see that the authors subscribe to all the usual drug-war assumptions. The cover features a frenetic and jagged color-scheme obviously intended to be the abstract depiction of an abnormal state of mind associated with the phenomenon of "getting high."

Thus the authors accept the drug-war presupposition that psychoactive substance use (when not prescribed by a board-certified physician, keen to get one addicted to big pharma meds) can only be for hedonistic purposes -- which is simply false. One person's high is often another person's self-enlightenment, is another person's making peace with the world, is another person's healthy break from reality -- in the same way that moderate alcohol is said to constitute healthy relaxation.

Are the tribal members of the Native American Church getting "high" when they consume peyote for religious purposes? Are alcohol addicts getting "high" when they take ibogaine to kick that habit? Was Sigmund Freud getting "high" when he used cocaine to get his work done in the wee hours of the night? Was Benjamin Franklin getting high when he resorted -- frequently -- to the use of opium?

Of course not.

So the depiction of the word "High" on such a book cover is pejorative and meant to imply all the narrow views of the Drug Warrior -- designed to separate Americans from mother nature's medicines under the drug-war lie that such substances can only be used for the nonsensical and dangerous practice of "getting high."1

This is time-saving, however. I simply need not read the Sheffs' books, because their very book cover shows that they're philosophically in the thrall of all the usual Drug War propaganda and presuppositions. And given the dictum that "confused thinking in, confused thinking out"... the judicious reader will move on.

How many so-called authoritative books on depression completely ignore the fact that drug law outlaws all the most promising cures?2 How many books on relaxation ignore the fact that the motivated mind-set that you need for exercising is just one mushroom away? How many books on consciousness completely ignore the testimony that psychoactive plants have to give on this topic? Welcome to self-censorship in the age of the Drug War.


Author's Follow-up: January 19, 2024

picture of clock metaphorically suggesting a follow-up




In fact, the most censored books are the ones whose authors claim to be dealing directly with the subject of drugs. Because almost none of these authors ever tell you about the downsides of prohibition: how it lures young inner-city poor people around the world into lives of crime by dangling the prospect of immense profit in front of them -- then punishes these mere kids by removing them from the voting rolls and giving them decades-long prison sentences. Nor will these authors tell you how prohibition has destroyed the rule of law in Latin America and empowered a self-described Drug War Hitler in the Philippines, nor how the Drug War has so Nazified government that cabinet members like William Bennett have actually called for the beheading of drug users and is still considered an upright human being in our so-called freedom-loving democracy.

Nor are they going to tell you about all the good things that drugs can do. Their job is political; their job is to demonize drugs; and this is what they call "being honest" about drugs these days.



Notes:

1 See my essay "Childish Drug Warriors" for more on how drug warriors see ethereal mental states through the eyes of immature prudes. (up)
2 Quass, Brian, Depressed? Here's why you can't get the medicines that you need, 2022 (up)



Next essay: Addicted to Ignorance
Previous essay: Open Letter to the Virginia Legislature

More Essays Here


CENSORSHIP AND THE DRUG WAR

By reading "Drug Warriors and Their Prey," I begin to understand why I encounter a wall of silence when I write to authors and professors on the subject of "drugs." The mere fact that the drug war inspires such self-censorship should be grounds for its immediate termination.
Many articles in science mags need this disclaimer: "Author has declined to consider the insights gained from drug-induced states on this topic out of fealty to Christian Science orthodoxy." They don't do this because they know readers already assume that drugs will be ignored.

essays about
CENSORSHIP AND THE DRUG WAR

Unscientific American
How the Atlantic Supports the Drug War Part II
There is a Specter Haunting Science
Open Letter to Lisa Ling
The Problem with Following the Science
Why Americans Can't Handle the Truth about Drugs
Another Academic Toes the Drug Warrior Line
Science News Continues to Ignore the Drug War
When Drug Warriors cry 'Censorship!'



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



You have been reading an article entitled, Self-Censorship in the Age of the Drug War published on February 9, 2020 on AbolishTheDEA.com. 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 abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)