Essay date: March 27, 2022

Speaking Truth to Academia

my unanswered question for Philosopher Patrick Grim

Academics are censored by the drug war and don't even recognize it.   At least Galileo knew that he was censored by the Church.

esterday, I joined a YouTube chat with Philosopher Patrick Grim arranged by Wondrium, formerly known as Great Courses Plus. I wanted to finally ask one specific philosopher what he thought about the way that the Drug War bars him from studying the effects of plant medicine on human consciousness. After all, Patrick lectures on the Philosophy of Mind and Body and draws conclusions about the nature of consciousness and ultimate reality. Surely, it would be problematic for him (at very least) to have his study in such a field limited by a government which criminalizes consciousness-changing plant medicines that have inspired entire religions and given users perceived glimpses of an afterlife. For it was the soma plant medicine that inspired the Vedic religion and the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian Mysteries that interested Plato in the afterlife.

The Drug War Censors Science

Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the Drug War. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.

So I posted my question -- or rather I tried to. However, the black-listing software that runs behind the scenes at YouTube removed my question shortly after I posted it, giving me the eerie feeling that American prejudices on the topic had been so inflamed by racist politicians that merely mentioning the "Drug War" was now considered hate speech. Fortunately, my question was restored after I brought the ham-fisted digital deletion to the attention of the moderators, and to my surprise, my question was soon put to Professor Grim himself. In paraphrasing my post, the moderator basically asked Grim, "How can we study mind and body in a society where a Drug War keeps us from studying psychoactive plant medicine, given that such substances have inspired entire religions and given saints and philosophers hints of new worlds, etc.?"

Unfortunately, Professor Grim dodged the subject almost entirely. He first cited William James' use of psychoactive substances (such as nitrous oxide), which sounded like a promising start, but then he switched to the topic of human souls (apparently grasping at that topic as to a life vest, since the word "souls" happened to have been used somewhere in the moderator's casual iteration of my drug-war-related question), beginning with the observation that James saw no proof of the soul, then branching out to the modern disbelief in souls, which he apparently shared, saying that there was no reason to believe that such a thing existed, and then tracing the origins of this seeming myth to the insights of Plato (failing to mention, however, that Plato's own ideas on this topic have been ascribed to his participation in the psychoactive mysteries mentioned above).

I asked my question, not hoping to ambush Grim, but rather to clarify my own views about philosophic silence about the Drug War. Were things really as bad as they seemed? I've written to over 100 of America's top philosophers on the topic of the Drug War and never received so much as a single response. I wanted to see if philosophers -- especially ones specializing in "mind and body" -- really felt indifferent to that the way the Drug War circumscribed their studies. I was hoping to finally get an answer on the question, rather than to simply be ignored. For I just could not believe that philosophers of the mind could really ignore the Drug War, since to me that would be like Galileo (in some hypothetical modern interview) ignoring the role that the Church played in limiting his astronomical researches.

I don't blame Grim for avoiding the topic entirely, any more than I blame the other 100 philosophers who ignored my letters on the subject -- theyv'e got their jobs to consider -- but I do blame US drug policy, which is so draconian that it not only limits scientific research, but it so frightens researchers (with implicit criminal threats and threats of ostracism) that they dare not even protest those limitations.

This is not a free academia, folks, it's an academia made complicit in its own muzzling.

There's an additional problem with a materialist like Grim remaining silent about the Drug War. It is like a democrat remaining silent about the fact that the republican party has been outlawed (or vice versa). The democrat profits politically from the silencing of his opposition, and so does the materialist. The materialist's "opposition," after all, comes from those who gain practical and ontological insights from the use of psychoactive plant medicine -- and if such use is forbidden, then Grim wins the battle against the spiritualist school by default. No need to argue, his opposition has been silenced.

Next essay: El Chapo Crappo
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I asked 100 American philosophers what they thought about the Drug War

end America's disgraceful drug war: visit to learn more

No Drug War Keychains

The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)

Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

The Drug War Censors Science

Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.

old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

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. 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.

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.

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
  • 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
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • 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
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • 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
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at