Essay date: July 3, 2022

Spike Lee is Bamboozled by the Drug War

 Liquor prohibition created the American Mafia.  Why is it so hard for black leaders to believe that substance prohibition created the armed gangs that continue to snuff out inner-city lives to this very day?

"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist- Heather Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014

How does the Drug War get away with killing thousands of black Americans every year? It does so thanks to the complicit silence of the black social and political leadership, which is blind to the fact that the Drug War is responsible for these deaths.

In 2021 alone, the Drug War killed almost 800 blacks in Chicago, almost 500 blacks in New York City, and almost 400 blacks in Los Angeles.

How did the Drug War accomplish this? By substance prohibition.

This is not rocket science, folks. Liquor prohibition created the American Mafia. Why is it so hard for black leaders to believe that substance prohibition created the armed gangs that continue to snuff out inner-city lives to this very day?

And yet Spike Lee doesn't get it. He seems to dimly grasp the fact that the Drug War is directed against blacks and minorities, which is a step in the right direction, but he misses the big takeaway message: that substance prohibition is the means by which the Drug War conducts its anti-minority campaign, for it allows the Drug Warrior to disenfranchise blacks while simultaneously promoting a genocidal civil war in the black community.

Why is Spike silent about the real cause for black-on-black violence, namely substance prohibition? Because Spike Lee is bamboozled by Drug War propaganda. He believes the Drug War lie that we should fear psychoactive substances rather than understand them and that we have to do everything we can to get these evil substances off the street, even if it means fomenting a genocidal civil war among minorities.

Wrong. Substances like coca and the poppy have inspired entire religions and been used by such Western luminaries as Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, HG Wells and Jules Verne. Plato himself used psychedelics at the Eleusinian Mysteries, which inspired his view of the afterlife. Mesoamerican shaman routinely employed psychedelic mushrooms to heal and prophesy. And the entire Vedic-Hindu religion was inspired by the psychoactive properties of a plant.

The answer to substance misuse is clearly education, Spike, not incarceration.

Yet the black leadership continues to believe in the politically created boogieman called "drugs," a category of substances that did not even exist in the 1800s, at a time when American worrywarts were stressing about the evils of alcohol instead.

Of course, alcohol was eventually shielded from criticism with a constitutional amendment, at which point the former temperance party worrywarts started to lavish their still-unsated moral concerns on the politically created boogieman called "drugs," a pejorative epithet for "botanical substances of which WASP Americans disapprove."

And black Americans were hoodwinked by this bait-and-switch tactic. Leaders like Jessie Jackson Sr. were soon referring to black "drug dealers" as vampires. And conservative politicians were laughing all the way to the voting booth, where the Drug War allowed them to elect more conservatives because it disfranchised millions of minority voters. How? By creating drug laws for that very purpose, laws that allowed them to crack black heads under the pretence of fighting the politically created boogieman called "drugs." (Joe Biden did his part by crafting the infamous drug laws that made black Americans easier to arrest than whites when it came to cocaine possession.)

So, please, wake up, Spike, before it's too late.

Because conservative Drug Warriors are no longer content with merely incarcerating as many blacks as possible, they now want to execute them as well, as Donald Trump himself has made all too clear.

If we must execute anyone, let's execute the racist politicians who support substance prohibition when they know full well that prohibition creates violence in poor and poorly educated communities - violence that will continue, alas, until black spokespeople like Spike Lee finally connect the dots between black genocide and substance prohibition.

Why does the author believe that Spike Lee is bamboozled? For two reasons: First, he has never known Spike to speak out against substance prohibition. Second, because of lines like this in Spike's movies:

"If you ever use drugs, I'll kill you." - Jungle Fever, 1991

(Really? What if the guy smokes? What if the guy drinks liquor? What if the guy uses one of those Big Pharma meds upon which 1 in 4 American women are chemically dependent for life? What if the guy drinks Red Bull?)

That quote makes it clear that Spike believes the drug-war lie that there are such things as "drugs" that are no good for anybody.

Wrong. Drugs are not good or bad except with regard to the reason for which they are used. The Drug Warrior wants us to fear and despise psychoactive substances, not to understand them and use them as wisely as possible for the benefit of humankind. (This is why thousands of dying children in hospices must go without godsend pain medicine, because we have turned drugs into such boogiemen that many countries will no longer allow morphine to be used for pain relief -- even for dying children!) With that anti-scientific excuse in their pocket, they seek to justify a substance prohibition that kills thousands of black Americans yearly, causes civil wars in Central and South America, empowers a Drug War Hitler in the Philippines, and blinds us to an endless list of godsend therapies for depression and anxiety thanks to our outlawing of Mother Nature's psychoactive pharmacy -- all this so that we can unconstitutionally outlaw the plant medicines that grow at our very feet, some of which have inspired entire religions.

The Links Police

All right, pull over to the side of the website. Do you know why I stopped you? That's right, because there are other essays that you should read that have to do with the black genocide being brought about by substance prohibition, such as Grandmaster Flash: Drug War Collaborator, Open Letter to Lisa Ling, Cop shows as drug war propaganda, President Calls for Executing Drug Dealers, Why the Drug War is a Godsend for Conservatives, and The Racist Drug War killed George Floyd. Fair enough? On, yeah, and your rear left tail light is out.

Author's Follow-up: July 15, 2022

My letter to Lisa Ling of CNN, sent May 11, 2022: Dear Lisa, I was disappointed and puzzled to see that your show about Chicago violence did not even mention the Drug War! 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." I hope you'll rectify this oversight in a future documentary.

I keep asking myself why city leaders do not recognize the Drug War for what it is: a violence-causing attempt to demonize substances rather than be honest about them -- an attempt to marginalize users of substances of which WASPS disapprove. And this is why: Reporters like Lisa Ling give the Drug War a huge mulligan by completely ignoring its role in causing violence. The prohibition of psychoactive plant medicine leads to HUGE profits for dealers -- and in poor communities with inadequate education, this is a recipe for disaster.

Think back to the many crime shows you've watched over the years. How much would cops have had to do if plant medicine was actually legal? Answer: very little indeed. They could sit back like Andy Griffith and chat to the locals. The war on plant medicine has made the world enormously violent, and until Americans realize this fact, that "it's the Drug War, stupid," they'll keep generating the very violence that they scream bloody murder about in town hall meetings and on talk shows. Hello, Chicken Little Drug Warrior: it's you yourself who is causing the sky to fall when it comes to inner-city violence. Let's start arresting the real culprits: let's arrest the anti-American fascists who criminalized plant medicine in the first place, thus violating the natural law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America.

And yet black community leaders egg on the Drug War while denoucing "drugs" more vehemently than most WASP Drug Warriors would even dare. Jesse Jackson decries drug dealers as vampires -- more language of demonization which is the product of the Drug War itself. These leaders have been duped by the Drug War into playing along with the game that is meant to marginalize them and remove them from the voting rolls. The black drug dealers that Jesse demonizes (in lockstep with Drug War ideology) have been incentivized by the white man's substance prohibition, which allows for sky-high profits for dealing. Over 800 blacks died in Chicago alone last year because of the guns that prohibition brought into Chicago -- not because of "drugs," Jesse, but because of prohibition, which makes it fantastically tempting to sell desired substances, especially in a community full of poverty and insufficient education for the young.

The black community professes to be "woke" when it comes to police brutality these days, but many of its leaders are still snoring tranquilly when it comes to the great con that the Drug War is perpetrating on them -- on them and on their community -- in the name of outlawing and demonizing the plant medicines that grow at our very feet -- in the name of prioritizing fear over fact when it comes to psychoactive substances and incarceration over education. This great con has disfranchised millions of black voters, thereby giving elections first to conservatives (like Reagan) and now even to fascists (like Trump) -- and yet the response of leaders like Jackson is to say, "Let's pursue this anti-constitutional practice of substance demonization even further! Let's not only arrest drug dealers but let's kill them!!!" The racist WASP Drug Warriors who started the Drug War in the first place must be laughing all the way to the voting booth.

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


Right. In fact, the drug war can be seen as a way for conservatives to keep America's eyes OFF the prize. The right-wing motto is, "Billions for law enforcement, but not one cent for social programs."

Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
The Drug War is one big entrapment scheme for poor minorities. Prohibition creates an economy that hugely incentivizes drug dealing, and when the poor fall for the bait, the prohibitionists rush in to arrest them and remove them from the voting rolls.
Next essay: The Invisible Mass Shootings
Previous essay: Attention American Screenwriters: please stop spreading Drug War propaganda

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(seemingly useful organizations)

Sana Collective
Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.

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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").

(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)

In short, the drug war 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. 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.

PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."

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
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • 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
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • 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
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • 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
  • Whitaker, Robert "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at