by The Drug War Philosopher

Open Letter to Rafael Mangual

Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!

Here's my letter to his website:

Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.

Trump is Right (but for the wrong reasons)

Donald Trump is right, but for the wrong reasons:

1) The media IS biased in America - but it's biased against critically reporting on the drug war.
2) Elections ARE stolen in America - but they're stolen by demagogues who only win because the drug war has removed millions of their opposition from the voting rolls.

Brahms is NOT the best antidepressant

The title sounded promising: "The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the antidepressant myth." Here was someone who was going to uncover the insidious link between the Drug War and the great American addiction of our time: namely, the fact that 1 in 4 women are hooked on Big Pharma drugs for life because the Drug War outlaws all better medications!

But I was wrong. I could tell just by reading the book's very first sentence:

"Brahms is the best antidepressant."

What? That is the kind of vapid bromide that only an indoctrinated Drug Warrior could come out with. It's absolute nonsense. If such feeble advice really worked ("listen to Brahms, exercise, eat right, focus on the positive"...) I would be the happiest man on earth, because that's about all the help I've gotten from "psychotherapy" over the years - before, that is, they decided to drug me instead and thereby make me a patient for life on a big pharma antidepressant that's been found to be harder to kick than heroin.

Like almost every nonfiction writer today, Dr. Kirsch reckons without the Drug War. In other words, he writes as if he's living in a free country, where psychoactive medicines are legal and he can therefore generalize about them meaningfully. But the inconvenient truth is that almost all psychoactive medicines have been criminalized. Instead of acknowledging this fact, Kirsch keeps opining about the value of "meds," apparently thereby referring to the handful of substances that can be legally prescribed for mood and/or mental improvement. He completely ignores the fact that there is a vast pharmacopoeia of drugs that are completely off-limits, both to therapist and patient. His silence on this topic suggests that he's in full agreement with the Drug War lie that such substances have no beneficial uses whatsoever, no matter how, when, why or where they are used.

Critique of The Emperor's New Drugs, by Irving Kirsch, PhD

So when he concludes that psychotherapy is better than "meds," it's unclear what he means. I could gladly endorse the idea that psychotherapy is better than the currently available drugs for depression, but that is not what Kirsch seems to be saying: He seems to be saying that psychotherapy is better than any kind of drugs, while simultaneously implying that no "drugs" are worth even mentioning unless they have not been criminalized by the government. And yet the kinds of psychoactive drugs that we're talking about here have inspired entire religions in the past, a fact that Kirsch does not seem to know, as he is likewise ignorant of the fact that MDMA and psilocybin have been showing great promise for treating depression, even in 2012 when this book was published.

Kirsch does understand the simple psychological fact that hope leads to happiness -- the ability to have something to look forward to -- and yet he fails to draw the obvious conclusion from this fact, namely that drug use -- the intermittent use of coca, opium, psychedelics, MDMA and all manner of psychoactive plants -- necessarily fights depression in that it provides hope. If I am struggling today emotionally, but know that I can look forward, say, to a weekend in which I deeply enjoy nature with the non-addictive use of morphine or coca, etc., then I will not be depressed -- I will have hope. Moreover,, just because a substance is potentially addictive does not mean that it has to be used addictively -- unless we're talking about Big Pharma meds, of course, in which addiction seems to be a feature, rather than a bug (as is implicit in the advice: "You gotta keep taking your meds!")

But Kirsch can't see this because, in line with Drug War ideology, he accepts that demonized substances can have no beneficial use for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances whatsoever. It is thanks to that lie that I have spent my whole life as an eternal patient of Big Pharma, shunted off onto highly addictive meds. And why? Because the government wanted to protect me from addiction?


Kirsch does not realize that the condition that we call "depression" today is a creation of the Drug War. No one had to see a doctor for sadness in the past because the world of psychoactive medicine was free. Now anyone who wants to medically improve their mind or battle their depression is forced to go to the monopoly holders on mind medicine - a monopoly- which exists because of the very "illness" metaphor which Kirsch otherwise denounces as invalid. When will writers on this topic start asking themselves the million-dollar question when it comes to drug laws: Cui bono? (I'll tell you who benefits: the healthcare industry! Why? Because substance prohibition gives them a fabulously remunerative monopoly on mind medicine.)

Speaking of the "mental illness" metaphor, Kirsch denounces it on scientific grounds, but the fact is that depression as an illness does not make philosophical sense, for if Big Pharma has really cured depression, then they ought to be able to tell us what that cure consists of. Am I cured when I become a good consumer and stop thinking about killing myself, or am I cured when I start to "live large" in the world, enjoy mother nature, and feel sympathy for other people, etc. ? Judging by the tranquilizing effects of the Big Pharma antidepressants that I've taken for decades now, Big Pharma's definition of "cure" is quite different from my own. Therefore their pills may cure something, but they do not cure my depression as I define that word: namely, a condition that keeps me from "living large" in the world.

Kirsch says he enjoys being controversial, but frankly he has not yet begun to be controversial. If he wanted to truly be controversial, he'd connect the dots of his own argument and admit that the Drug War itself causes depression by denying human beings the right to access mother nature and the kinds of medicines that have inspired entire religions.

Instead, he condescends to the chronic depressed like myself, telling us that we need to listen to Brahms -- or exercise -- or meditate and then, hey presto, we'll be happy. But this advice rests on the following causal fallacy: "Because successful happy people do X (listen to Brahms, exercise, and/or meditate), then doing X will make a person creative and happy." This is the fallacy behind all self-help books, of which American bookstores are full these days thanks to the Drug War, which outlaws all REAL mind cures.

Drug War as Pyrrhic Failure

Sometimes the opposite of what the Drug Warrior says is so blatantly true that you expect the Drug Warrior to pause you in the middle of your complaints, saying: "No, I'm just messin' with ya, dude. Of course the Drug War is absolute nonsense."

But the Drug War has lasted more than 100 years now, making things worse every year through massive incarceration, the creation of cartels and gangs, the censoring of science, and the wholesale denial of hundreds of mood-altering godsends to the depressed and anxious, etc. It begs the question, what is the Drug War REALLY for? After all, it is achieving the very opposite of its purported goals, for presumably it was designed to keep Americans from "doing drugs," and yet America is now the most drug-taking country in human history, with 1 in 4 American women chemically dependent on Big Pharma "meds" for life. Meanwhile America alone is racking up half a million deaths a year from tobacco and alcohol. You might say that the Drug War "succeeded" in steering Americans away from opium, but it did so by shunting would-be opium users off onto far more dangerous and addictive Big Pharma meds. Why did this happen? Because drug Warriors fail to realize that you can outlaw certain substances but you cannot outlaw the impulse for self-transcendence. You can, however, make self-transcendence far more dangerous to achieve, especially when you prefer to indoctrinate people with fear campaigns rather than telling them the God's-honest truth about all "drugs," anti-depressants included: the truths not only about the endlessly described down sides of demonized medicines, but about the benefits of their use as well, as described by actual users.

The unpeople of Washington DC

Last week, I looked up info about buying edibles in Washington, D.C., and found a place in Adams Morgan that offered local delivery -- except, that is, for the residents of Southeastern Washington, who are asked to call in to arrange for a driver. This stipulation, of course, is due to the fact that Southeastern DC has been a battle zone for decades now thanks to the guns and violence which the drug war brought to the region by creating armed gangs out of whole cloth. If our society considered all Americans to be equally valuable, then this story of American no-go zones (inner city areas with skyrocketing homicide rates) would be on the front burner of the media every single day of the week, in the same way that the ABC News show Nightline carried on for over a year reminding Americans on a daily basis of how many days their 52 fellow nationals had been held hostage in Iran in the late '70s.

Just as we then saw headlines screaming "The Iran Hostage Crisis: Day 252," we should see headlines today screaming "Southeast Washington Homicide Crisis: Day 2,502." Why don't we?


Because, as Chomsky points out, human beings become "unpeople" when their needs and problems are not included on the "to-do" list of moneyed America and the media outlets that work for them. Nor can we count on the local press to cover such catastrophes, since local papers these days are owned by national companies, especially Gannett (see Gannett and the Death of Local Newspapers) who impose their corporate agendas on their skeleton staff of local reporters.

Take the Milwaukee Journal which recently covered the death of 15-year-old Dechale N. Hampton by gunfire in the dangerous-sounding 9000 block of North 95th Street. He was the 14th juvenile killed this year in Milwaukee and the 109th homicide so far this year. Instead of honoring his death by launching an investigative series to show how the drug war had armed inner cities to the teeth, the Gannett reporters quickly moved on to covering the important stuff, like a Sporkies Competition at the Wisconsin State Fair -- stories that were about and for real people, as that term is defined today by the 1%.

Damning Drugs with Faint Praise

in reference to essay entitled "Open Letter to Erowid"

Writers like Karolina seem to share the Libertarian view of "drugs" -- they agree with the Drug Warrior that this politically defined category of substances is indeed horrible -- but since such horrible substances exist and people seem to want to use them (sigh...), well, doggone it, we shouldn't go overboard in trying to punish them!

With friends like that in the drug-law-reform business, who needs enemies?

The fact is that there are no such things as "drugs." Why not? Because there are no substances that are bad in and of themselves, without regard to how, why, when and where they are used and by whom. Even the highly toxic Botox can be used in safe doses and in safe ways.

Besides, the kinds of substances that we demonize today have inspired entire religions (including the Vedic-Hindu religion and the mushroom and coca cults of Latin America) and been used wisely for good reasons by such western luminaries as Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, HG Wells, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Richard Feynman, Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft -- along with a who's who of philosophical greats including Plato, who got his ideas about the afterlife from his psychedelic-fueled experience at the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Finally, never mind what happened in the past: once we stop demonizing substances, we'll see that (Drug Warrior lies not withstanding) psychoactive drugs can be strategically used for all sorts of mind-building purposes. Morphine could be used intermittently to improve our appreciation of mother nature. Opium could be used intermittently to improve our knack for creative visualization. And coca (as HG Wells and Jules Verne well knew) can be used wisely to increase our mental focus for tasks like writing books.

But America's Office of National Drug Control Policy is committed to ignoring any possible beneficial uses for these "drugs." In fact, the organization's ground rules actually require them to ignore any potential benefits of vilified psychoactive substances, meaning, of course, that the organization in question should be referred to as the Office of National Drug Control Propaganda.

With this backstory in mind, we can see how would-be drug-law reformers (like the Liberal Media and Libertarians) are actually damning drugs with their faint praise of them. I fear that they have all received one too many teddy bears from the State Police in their formative years in return for having "just said no" to the psychoactive bounty of Mother Nature.

Pro-Choice (about drugs)

Americans lost the right to decry addiction ever since they signed off on the psychiatric pill mill, which has caused the greatest mass chemical dependency in human history. One in four American women are taking Big Pharma meds that they must continue taking for the rest of their lives, this despite decades of waging a drug war that was supposed to be saving America from chemical dependency!

How did we get here?

Answer: Drug warriors didn't realize that you can outlaw specific substances, but you cannot outlaw the desire for peace of mind and happiness. And by taking away the naturally occurring godsends which can be used intermittently and responsibly (drug war propaganda notwithstanding), they force those seeking happiness to become wards of the healthcare state. The drug war has thereby ushered in a huge medical dystopia, which, however, is off the radar of most Americans (and addiction experts), who falsely believe that antidepressants have "sorted" depression scientifically, when what they actually have done is turned America into a nation of Stepford Wives. Earth to America: SSRIs do not fix a chemical balance, they cause one (see Richard Whitaker: Anatomy of an Epidemic) -- and even if some find them useful, that's really unimpressive testimony given the backstory according to which all naturally occurring competition for these dependence-causing pills has been outlawed (conveniently enough, from the point of view of the stock market).

It is in light of these inconvenient truths that the modern talk about addiction comes across as hypocritical and condescending. For although it's heresy to say so, one can live their entire life while regularly using heroin, morphine, opium or coca. (One of the founders of the Johns Hopkins medical school, Dr. William Stewart Halsted, was a lifelong user of morphine.) But if one does so, they are considered morally flawed -- yet if a patient FAILS to take THEIR drugs (FAILS to take them) we conclude that they are a bad patient.

I once naively assumed that the drug war was all about saving folks from chemical dependency, but it turns out it's all about guiding folks toward the right kind of chemical dependency, the capitalistic form that literally pays dividends for Big Pharma shareholders.

And yet the very folks who are literally profiting from my misery are the ones who have seen to it that I will be arrested if I reach down and access the plant medicine that grows at my very feet.

My point here, and indeed throughout all my writing on this topic, is to convince you, reader, of a so-far largely unrecognized fact: that the drug war is not simply wrong, but it represents an entirely bogus way of looking at the world, one in which we superstitiously judge certain politically despised substances and declare them to be evil a priori, a standpoint unbecoming a nation that purports to be rational-minded and scientific -- let alone one founded on natural law and which therefore had no right to outlaw mother nature in the first place.

The Thought Police

There is one drug-war lie that has kept the average American's mind-improving arsenal empty, forcing them to rely solely on the dependence-causing meds of Big Pharma: that is the idea that substances can be characterized as bad, in and of themselves, without regard for how, why, when or where they are used. Even crack cocaine and morphine can be used non-addictively in a regime designed for that purpose.

Once we free ourselves of the anti-scientific Drug War ideology of substance demonization, we can envision an empathic shaman using all substances freely in an attempt to cajole and instruct a person in life, without getting them addicted insofar as the patient does not even have to know with what substances he or she is being treated.

We can teach this non-addictive strategy to all human beings -- but with honesty, telling them about how Big Pharma meds cause lifetime chemical dependence, not as a possible side effect but as an actual feature.

This is a truth that corporate America and moneyed interests can't tolerate. They want our knowledge of "drugs" to be based on expensive TV ads designed to associate substances with warm fuzzy feelings. They want us to be children when it comes to psychoactive substances. This is why we demonize drugs, because drugs that expand the mind and inspire new religions have no place in a capitalist society that values the individual only insofar as they are a good consumer of products. That's why thought control via substance prohibition is just another step in capitalism uber alles.

When the police pull you over, they are really the "thought police," searching to find drugs in order to prove that you are conspiring to think more and/or differently than the capitalist status quo allows.

We let them get away with it under the conscience sop that they are thereby saving young people from addiction -- but what they're really doing is creating an anti-scientific standard for medicine saying that if it can be misused by a handful of young American whites, then it cannot be used for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances worldwide. If they were really interested in the health of young whites, they would teach honestly about such substances, not give liquor, for instance a mulligan for killing 95,000 Americans a year while slamming coca and opium for merely being associated in any way with a fraction of those totals.

Of course, the drug warriors are actually being outrageously cruel, because they are denying godsend mind and mood medicine to millions, including medicines that are so beneficial to the human "soul" that they have inspired entire religions in the past.

The Prozac Code

Where are the conspiracy theorists when we need them? They could at least open our minds to some disturbing possibilities. Like, for instance, I sometimes wonder if Prozac wasn't designed to turn folks into neo-liberals. I know my own politics veered right after a few years of Prozac use. This was the same time that my musical skills decreased, at least when it came to playing in natural sync with my fellow musicians. There suddenly seemed to arise a new brief but destructive mental step of conscious reflection between the impulse and the act, rendering me nervous and uncertain in circumstances in which the thought of nervousness had never occurred before.

Of course, unlike the Drug Warrior, I know that one swallow does not make a summer, so perhaps the mental changes described above can be explained without reference to Prozac. My only point here is that no one seems to be considering the possibility that antidepressants are changing personalities in ways that are not necessarily consistent with the interests of the antidepressant user. Of course the silence is to be expected, since the moneyed interests support a media narrative that turns SSRIs into whole milk. And as with whole milk, all reported downsides are blamed on the user, not on the substance. Can't handle milk? Why, you freak! You must be lactose-intolerant! Can't handle a given SSRI? No problem, we just have to keep weaning you off and on different KINDS of SSRIs until we find the one that's "right" for you.

Speaking of which, it's the new feminine small talk: what meds are you on? How many? How long have you been taking it? Do you think you'll switch to another SSRI any time soon?

And this in a country that is trying desperately to get Americans to say no to drugs? 1 in 4 American women are on multiple drugs every day of their life and the Drug Warrior pretends to not notice as they advocate 20-year jail terms for folks who reach down and use the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet.

The Semmelweis Effect

There must be something wrong with my email account. Yesterday, I revealed clearly how the scientific community is in cahoots with the Drug War and I have yet to receive a single thank-you from the philosophical community for my pains. See for yourself by reading The Mother of all Western Biases. Go ahead and read it. I'll wait. (La dee dumm...) See? Haven't I shown clearly how both the SN author and the scientists that she quotes are dutifully obeying the drug war ideology of substance demonization by completely ignoring how the use of banned psychoactive substances could change the prognosis for PTSD patients for the better?

I guess this is all down to the Semmelweis Effect. You remember old Ignaz? He was the 19th-century physician who told doctors that they could save lives by washing their hands before surgery and he was rewarded for his efforts by being dismissed as a crank by the scientific powers that be.

Well, I sent my complaints on this subject to the Science News Editors. They probably picked up and crumpled it, while robotically repeating the apparently patriotic lines: MUST DEMONIZE PSYCHOACTIVE MEDICINE, MUST DEMONIZE PSYCHOACTIVE MEDICINE...

Well, they can't help it, bless them. They were bribed in childhood to adopt the drug-war party line in return for receiving "just-say-no" teddy bears provided by the State Police and DARE. Nor have they ever seen a TV show or academic paper that dared to suggest that psychoactive medicines have positive uses -- indeed that they have inspired entire religions, before America came along and decided to trash them all without exception -- and to demand that the entire world adopt its arch Christian Science view on this matter.

Still, let's hope it's just a problem with my email address. In that case, I'm sure the well-wishes of the American Philosophical Association are just a mouse click away! I can see it now: "Well done, good and faithful! Please be so kind as to accept an honorary membership in our time-honored society."

Saving Amy Winehouse

Were drugs legal and understood -- rather than illegal and feared -- Amy Winehouse might still be alive today, for instead of just "tut-tutting" at her drug use (or recommending Christian Science rehab and a grim future of teeth-clenching "sobriety"), her friends would have shown her safe ways to gain the transcendence that she was after, not by "saying no to drugs," but by saying yes to the right drugs, used in the right way.

The Myth of the Addictive Personality
How the Drug War Killed Amy Winehouse

Success? You can't handle success!

Authors like Russell Crandall ("Thugs and Drugs") criticize legalization advocates for naively assuming that reversing substance prohibition will successfully end the "drug problem." But then what constitutes "success" in Crandall's mind? If the definition of success is "to end drug use," then drug legalization would not "work," nor indeed should it work, considering that western luminaries have used "drugs" time out of mind for personal improvement and to garner religious insights (not to mention the fact that the Vedic religion was founded by "drug users"). But if the definition of success is "to bring about less deaths than would otherwise occur under the criminalized status quo," then reversing prohibition would be a huge success, especially when coordinated with a gun buyback program in cities where former drug-dealing gangs would no longer have a financial incentive to protect their highly risky investments with firearms.

And to the extent that legalization failed to immediately bring about utopia, it would be because the Drug War has taught us to fear psychoactive substances rather than to understand them.

The problem is that drug warriors are scientifically challenged. They don't know how to measure success. If legalization were to save, say, thousands of lives in South America but was held responsible for just a few high-profile deaths in the States, Drug Warriors would consider this a knock-down argument that legalization has failed. To see the success of legalization would require a dispassionate look at death totals across the globe, but demagogue politicians have no time for the dispassionate evaluation of statistics.

When the son of a blueblood overdoses on a formerly criminalized drug, the drug warrior will easily pin the death on drug legalization, despite the fact that the drug war itself did everything that it could to keep that kid ignorant about "best practices" for "use," since the fact that "bad drugs" could even be used safely has always been a closely guarded secret by America's drug war bureaucracy (a secret jealously guarded by America's Office of National Drug Control Policy, which actually bans the consideration of positive uses for criminalized substances).

In order for drug legalization to both work and to be SEEN as working in the States, Americans have to "grow up," as Thomas Szasz wrote. We have to accept the fact that the natural world around us is full of psychoactive medicines and that, in a world of billions, some young people will find ways to misuse them. We have to further accept the obvious fact that the way to combat misuse is through education, not through a criminalization policy that actually STRIVES to keep Americans ignorant of safe ways to use the drugs that we prefer to vilify.

So, Crandall is right, but for the wrong reasons. Legalization by itself would not work in America -- but only because drug warriors will not allow it to. For they will bid defiance to all rosy statistics and point an outraged finger at a few well-publicized post-legalization deaths of young bluebloods and say, "See, I told you so: legalization has been a dismal failure!"

This is what happens when drug policy is politicized.

This is why I've been "protected" from mother nature's psychoactive botanicals for my entire life and shunted off onto dependence-causing Big Pharma meds for my depression. Not because plant medicines could be shown to be more dependence-causing than Big Pharma drugs (which is actually impossible), but because the Feds know that efficacy and safety are only two factors when it comes to drug approval, and that they have to be concerned with appearances as well.

Should they green-light, say, mushrooms and then some politician's son manages to misuse them, it would cast the Feds in a bad light, never mind that a dispassionate statistical analysis would show that shrooms were incredibly safe and might even help users avoid more dangerous drugs like alcohol.

Of course, a legalization program should be accompanied by an education campaign about all drugs, but that's a tall order in America. For to paraphrase Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men," Americans can't handle the truth when it comes to psychoactive substances,. Why not? Because then they would have to face up to the fact that 1 in 4 American women are chemically dependent on Big Pharma meds, which actually cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix. They would have to acknowledge that drugs like nicotine and alcohol kill half a million Americans a year compared to almost zero deaths via MDMA. They would have to admit that what we call "hard drugs" today (some of which have inspired entire religions) can be used safely.

In fact, the drug war is all about demonizing medicines a priori, without regard for how, why or where they are used. America would have to stop this childish way of thinking about substances and start thinking rationally about them, were legalization to succeed most triumphantly. But even without this sea change in American attitudes, substance legalization would have to succeed if we judged success by the numbers: by the black Americans no longer killed in inner cities, by the South Americans and Mexicans no longer killed by cartels. But the drug war has always taught us to worry far more about the potential overdosing of a few uneducated American bluebloods than the slaughter of dozens of collateral victims of the drug war overseas.

If legalization did fail, it wouldn't be because "drugs" are dirty evil things (as the drug warrior likes to suppose): it would be because America refused to talk honestly about psychoactive substances.

Moreover, in evaluating the "success" of legalization, we should take account of:

1) those who avoided a lifetime dependency on Big Pharma meds thanks to legalization

2) those who avoided excessive alcohol and tobacco use thanks to legalization

Finally, if legalization ends the massive unprecedented chemical dependency of Americans on Big Pharma meds, that's surely a reason to consider legalization a success -- but it's a success that the drug warrior will probably not even notice -- or else view with dismay since his stock portfolio might suffer from such a change.

Happy Drug War!

The guns of the Drug War didn't take a vacation on the Fourth of July. At least six people were shot in Richmond, Virginia, one fatally. Another five were killed during Independence Day celebrations in upper-class Highland Park just outside of Chicago, another reminder that the drug war's weaponization of the poor can sometimes have effects outside of those inner cities which we have primed for violence with drug war prohibition. (Whoever the shooter, whatever their supposed motivation, the fact remains that Chicago -- like all American cities -- became armed to the teeth thanks to substance prohibition and the dealing that it incentivized in poor and poorly educated communities.)

We need hardly remark that if the daily gunfire was going on in Beverly Hills, America would wake up and re-think the murderous drug war. As long as the perpetrators are black, however, we prefer to crack down instead. Suburban Detroit police have taken this to the next level, by posting actual photographs of gun-toting Black Americans for target practice.

Spike Lee remains bamboozled. He fails to see that the drug war is causing deaths, not saving folks, and that the whole point of that war is to give racist conservatives an excuse for cracking black heads.

Black leaders of America take note: this violence will never end until we stop unscientifically criticizing inanimate substances and start teaching about substances instead. Prohibition causes violence, after all. We all know that from liquor prohibition, which created the American Mafia. There's no excuse for not recognizing this fact now, today. Unless Gore Vidal was right, that America truly is the United States of Amnesia.

Yet Spike Lee claims he's woke? I won't believe it until he starts demanding the end of substance prohibition and calls for education instead -- not just about the demonized meds that we call drugs, but about life in general. Let's pay for education, not for police mobilization and minority incarceration.

Stop the war on drugs, which is just a make-work program for racist law enforcement.

The new Drug War Chair at Harvard???

The Drug War has implications in so many areas of life that there really should be a Drug War "chair" at major universities to highlight all the problems that the Drug War creates, all the solutions that it prevents, and the various ways that its unspoken assumptions influence our very concept of what's possible in life (therapeutically, pedagogically and geopolitically speaking).

Statistically challenged drug warriors

Every now and then, I get an email from a drug-warrior who takes exception to my apparently novel idea that we should not criminalize mother nature, nor dictate to people how (or how much) they're allowed to think and feel in this life. These drug warriors always attack me in the same way: not with a philosophical argument or any common sense reflections "which nobody can deny," but rather with one single heartbreaking story about someone who died of an overdose or became addicted to some substance or other. Am I heartless, they ask??? Surely, I would not be writing in this way if I had friends who had met such a fate!!!

The idea is always the same: they feel that if the story that they retail is heartbreaking enough, it will constitute a slam-dunk argument against the legalization of psychoactive medicine.

For them, one swallow truly does make a summer. One incident of alleged "substance misuse" (especially a highly publicized and gnarly case caught at least partially on videotape) is grounds to criminalize a plant for everyone everywhere for all time.

What they're basically saying is that godsend medicines that have inspired entire religions cannot be used by anyone until such times as they will no longer be misused by anyone -- in other words never.

Of course, by such logic, a single fatal car accident should, by rights, put the open road off limits to every driver in the world.

Moreover, the outrages which these pharmacological Chicken Littles ascribe to "drugs" can be easily shown to have been caused by the drug war itself. But even if that were not so, one wonders why they're so challenged when it comes to scientific reasoning.

But in a way, I can't blame them. For the FDA thinks in the same way. You'd think that the drug approval process would be based on facts and statistics, but because the topic of drugs is politicized, the FDA has to worry about appearances as well. If they legalize a controversial psychoactive substance, it really doesn't matter how statistically safe it is, because the second that a single white teenager in Padookasville finds a way to misuse the substance, then a whole slate of demagogue politicians will come forward in the press to slam the FDA for approving an evil psychoactive medicine. Why? Because for statistically challenged drug warriors, one swallow does make a summer.

So, am I heartless? No. To the contrary, I want to prevent and/or cure addiction by allowing pharmacologically savvy empaths to work with a subject using any psychoactive medicine that would help, meanwhile teaching folks to understand psychoactive substances rather than to fear them. Only imagine. The difference is, I want the "client" in this process to thrive according to their definition of that term, whereas the usual goal for such treatment in Drug War America is to get them sober according to society’s hypocritical definition of that term, with the patient’s desire for self-fulfilment coming in a distance second.

Besides, who was heartless when my uncle was forced to undergo electro shock therapy for a depression that could have been treated successfully with any number of godsend plant medicines, had they not been criminalized by the drug war? Who was heartless when it came to denying me the right to the plant medicines that grow at my very feet and shunting me off onto a lifetime addiction on big pharma meds? Who was heartless when it comes to denying me medicines that have inspired entire religions? Who, in short, conspired to keep me from being all that I could be, from understanding all that I could understand, and from feeling all that I could feel in this life?

Answer: the drug warriors, with their pernicious idea that human beings should fear psychoactive medicines rather than understand and profit from them.

There. At least I answered the sob story without sarcasm. I could have replied as follows if I had wanted to be smarmy: "Okay, let's see now, I'll see your one case of 'drug-related death' and raise you half a million cases of alcohol and tobacco-related deaths."

But fortunately I just wasn't raised that way, folks. Nope, that's just not me.

In Honor of Dechale N. Hampton

Today's blog is dedicated to Dechale N. Hampton, the 15-year-old who was shot and killed this Tuesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dechale is the 14th Milwaukee juvenile who has been killed this year by substance prohibition, which brought guns and violence to America's inner cities. Dechale's demise brings Milwaukee's homicide total to 109 so far this year, well ahead of last year's record-breaking 79 homicides as of the same date. It is also the seventh homicide over a six-day period.

Note that this story would be on the front pages of all American newspapers had it been set in Beverly Hills, but the Drug War has made death such an everyday-occurrence in inner cities that you'll have trouble finding this story in any American newspaper except the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from which I myself retrieved it. (The murder occcurred at the dangerous-sounding address of "9000 block of North 95th Street.") Even the Sentinel has already "moved on," however. Today's online edition does not even mention the shooting on the lengthy front page, though not for want of space. The Thursday edition provides extensive video coverage of a popcorn fire at Summerfest along with pictures of the recipes that made it to the finals of the Sporkies competition at the Wisconsin State Fair.

What a disgrace. The newspaper should have lengthy stories about Dechale, telling about his ambitions in life and what he might have accomplished had he lived to adulthood, along with an ongoing investigative piece detailing how prohibition brought guns and violence to Milwaukee, not to mention the drug gangs that it created out of whole cloth. Instead, the newspaper has already forgotten the teenager and ordered their mostly white reporters to put their rose-colored glasses back on and return to covering fender benders, lost dogs and garden parties.

One can only conclude that the newspapers' owners (the Gannett corporation of USA Today) do not want to ruffle Drug Warrior feathers. Not only do they fail to mention the drug war when reporting on inner-city deaths, but they quickly consign such stories to their archives, as if their goal is to give outsiders a positive view of Milwaukee no matter what, without regard for the facts (or for the bodies) on the ground.

Source: Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Turnip blood as a drug on the market!

If you think it's hard to get blood from a turnip, try finding a positive reference to demonized "drugs" in American TV shows and movies. Search the Script.com database for the word "drugs" and you'll get over 4,000 hits, with nary a one testifying to the life-affirming power of godsend plant medicine. Drugs like coca and psychedelics have inspired entire religions, but you'll see the word "drugs" used only in connection with lowlifes and scumbags, extortionists and murderers. In short, American script writers have been bribed by the DARE organization and the local State Police with far too many "just say no" teddy bears to think rationally on this topic.

That's why I hope that "decriminalization" states like Oregon will gradually teach these brainwashed screenwriters that the sky, at least, will not come crashing down the moment that Mother Nature's bounty is legal again, just as it was before Chinese-hating racists outlawed the poppy plant in 1914, thereby elevating common law above the natural law upon which America had been founded. My concern is that without full legalization, however, the otherwise responsible "users" in those states will be forced to choose their psychoactive medicines from the limited and often tainted formulary provided by criminal gangs, gangs whose incentive lies in money-making, not in assuring safe product. Because you know that if problems arise for this reason, the drug warriors will instantly blame them on decriminalization rather than on the way that the drug warrior limits choice and empowers economically minded cartels.

No use is always better?

One of the favorite cliches of the anti-drug crowd is the notion that "no use is always better," by which they apparently mean that it's better to go completely without psychoactive medicine than to use any whatsoever. This, in fact, is the official mantra posted on the front page of the Drugs Reddit site itself. Yet the idea that "no use is always better" is clearly false.

If a person suffers from daily headaches, would it be better for them to go without aspirin? Of course not. Well then, if a person suffers from hatred of their fellow human being, would it be better for them to go without empathogens like MDMA, which teach them to love their fellow human being? Of course not. Likewise, if they were constantly hearing defeatist messages in their mind, would it be better for them to go without medicines that silence that inner doubt and let them achieve something in their life at long last? Of course not.

In the latter case, the drug warrior might cry, "But what if the cure becomes addictive?!"

The answer is twofold:

1) The "cure" in the above case could involve psychedelic therapy, which is non-addictive.

2) Even if the "cure" is addictive, how is that worse than a lifetime dependence on Big Pharma meds, a dependence which society not only sanctions but actively encourages in the phrase "remember to take your meds"? Do we look down on a person because they have to take insulin on a daily basis?

So the phrase "no use is better" is nonsense. One might try to salvage the phrase by interpreting it as follows:

"In an ideal world, one should not have to use any psychoactive medicine," but even this restatement is problematic. What do we know, exactly, about the reason that there are psychoactive plants in the first place? Maybe they are intended (as John Locke supposed) "for our comfort and well-being." For all we know, it is actually stupid for human beings to ignore the ability of plant medicine to boost their creativity, their friendliness, their ability to focus on the task at hand, etc.

In short, human beings are in no position to say that psychoactive medicine is bad from any logical basis. When they say so, they are actually advancing a Christian Science position on the matter, since their statement is supported by belief only, not by facts and logic.

Sure, psychoactive drugs, like aspirin, always come with their own potential risks, but that is only one part of the story. The potential risk must be weighed against the potential gain, and that's a calculation that cannot be made without first consulting the needs and desire of the "patient" -- one who may not think life's worth living under the psychological status quo.

This is why it's so nutty that America withholds laughing gas and MDMA from the depressed. By doing so, they show an absurd focus on risk and absolutely zero interest in the wants and desires of their "patients." No doubt they're thus saving a small minority of potential users from various forms of "misuse," but they're thereby consigning millions to a life of totally unnecessary despair.

The fact that America is absurdly focused on risk can be seen by the fact that I have now spent 50 years of my adult life without access to any psychoactive plant medicine, meaning that in the last half-century, science has not seen its way clear to give me the green-light even to use the plant medicine that grows at my very feet!

And why this purblind focus on risk? It's because the subject of "drugs" is political in America. The regulators know that if they approve a drug for use and it is subsequently misused in a newsworthy way by even a statistically tiny subset of young Americans, then demagogue politicians will cite those isolated incidents as a reason to keep said drug out of the hands of everybody in the world, never mind the fact that they are thereby punishing many millions for the uninformed use of a few. Of course, adding insult to this injury is the fact that even this uninformed use is a consequence of drug war mentality which is dedicated to making Americans fear "drugs" rather than understand them.

Interesting how America holds alcohol to no standards at all and then holds psychoactive medicine to standards that no substance could ever meet. I wonder how many American regulators go home to "a nice tall one" after having vetoed, yet again, the use of laughing gas and MDMA by the depressed.

No use is still better, you say? If you believe that, then I wish you joy of your religion... of Christian Science, that is. But please do not adopt social policies that force me to live by that religion's anti-patient precepts.

What are they THINKING?

I keep seeing movies in which self-righteous drug agents feel like they're doing God's work by chasing down coca and other plant medicines. I ask myself, why do they think that's a good thing?

Then I realized, it's because they accept the drug war lie that psychoactive medicines have no potential positive uses whatsoever, the lie championed both by the DEA in its politically minded "scheduling" system (as well as the "class" system overseas) and in Joe Biden's Office of National Drug Policy, whose charter actually forbids the consideration of potential good uses for the medicines that we have classified (that is to say demonized) as "drugs."

From that point of view, you can see how drug agents would be primping their feathers every time they got "drugs" off the street.

However, the truth is that all psychoactive substances have potential positive uses, at some dose, for some person, in some situation. The DEA does not have the philosophical ability to even opine on what psychoactive substances would be beneficial to humanity, for that is not a scientific question, but rather a socio-psycho-cultural one, so to speak. Can one benefit from great mental clarity (as that provided by the coca leaf)? Can one benefit from creativity-enhancing dreams (as those provided by the poppy plant)? Can one benefit from seeing mother nature with surreal clarity (as that provided by morphine)? Can one benefit from life-changing psychological insights (as those provided by psychedelics)?

These are not scientific questions, they are philosophical questions, because their answer depends on what we consider to be "the good life."

Sure, the DEA can point to a lack of studies on a given plant medicine or fungi, but that does not constitute any proof whatsoever that such meds do not have potential positive uses for humankind, because when it comes to psychoactive medicines, that is not a scientific question.

So the DEA has in no way established what is impossible to establish: namely that there are no positive uses for a given drug. (Was it not a good "use" of drugs to inspire the Vedic religion, then? Why is the DEA tacitly getting involved in religion by demonizing the very pharmacological fountainhead from which religion springs, in India, in South America, in Mesoamerica, etc.?) What they have done, however, is ensured that we will find no positive uses for the drugs that we have demonized, for the simple reason that our government will not allow us to.

This is a shame, because it's not just the rare hedonists who will be negatively affected by this government lying. There is plenty of prima facie evidence to show that brain-growing and mind-expanding psychoactive drugs could do things like help Alzheimer's victims, help the autistic, help the depressed, and even prevent school shootings by teaching hotheads how to love their fellows.

But the US Government has enacted laws to see that no such breakthroughs are ever made.

So when the drug agent is primping her feathers in the field, she should rather be throwing away her badge, as she reflects on the fact that her job is supporting a government campaign to keep millions (perhaps billions) around the globe in a state of totally unnecessary suffering.

PS For those wondering how morphine can help the prepared mind to see the natural world with vivid intensity, check out "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains" by Edgar Allan Poe. (We have to learn all the good things about "drugs" from yesterday's literature, because since 1914, the drug war's substance prohibition has taught the American media to ignore all but the down sides of the drugs that it chooses to demonize.)

Drug War scores an F-

I always hate to say that the drug war has failed, because that gives the impression that it would have been great if it had only succeeded. Au contraire, it would have been an Orwellian nightmare in which folks were so completely brainwashed by their government that the mere thought of seeking self-transcendence through plant medicine would have been eradicated from the human mind -- this despite the fact that such transcendence had inspired entire religions in the past.

But if we must use the "failed" metaphor, then the Drug War has surely earned an F- on its report card. I mean, what was the original goal of the drug war after all? To put an end to the use of opium.

Okay, what's the state of affairs today. Yes, the drug war has so demonized opium that it's rare to find an American who will even dare utter the word. But now 1 in 4 American women and 2 in 8 men are chemically dependent on Big Pharma meds, which is many times the number of Americans (like Benjamin Franklin, for instance) who were ever habituated to the opium poppy. And those Americans who are NOT participating in the psychiatric pill mill created by the drug war are using synthetic opioids, which are far more dangerous than the poppy plant that the anti-Chinese drug warriors outlawed in 1914 (in violation of the natural law upon which Jefferson founded America).

So the Drug War has already earned an F- in light of these considerations alone, never mind the fact that it has censored scientists, blinded us to positive uses for thousands of plant medicines, and resulted in the election of fascists thanks to its massive disfranchisement of minorities.

The Drug War is therefore not simply a failure: it is the nonpareil of failures, the very touchstone of muddleheaded and counterproductive approaches to solving perceived social problems.

DEA now hiring for position of Panty-Sniffer First Class

I try to spruce up old essays of mine that were written back in the day when I was just a lad, bless me. Here's one such update that I've just posted this morning for the essay (cum comedy routine) entitled Se Llama Mushrooms:

Okay, that was... quaint, shall we call it? But you've got to remember, these curious effusions were indited a full 2 1/2 long years ago, when Brian was still a lad (couldn't have been more than 62 years old at most), and he had only just started his task of upbraiding the establishment for its nonsensical drug-war pieties. He's connected a lot of philosophical dots since then. Like the fact that the Drug War is a makework program for law enforcement personnel which actually obliges them to become noxious busybodies.

It's like a movie I just saw in which a female drugs agent comes into town looking for medicines of which pharmalogically clueless politicians disapprove. You'll have to forgive my French, but I couldn't help but think of this self-righteous public servant as a... well, as a professional "panty sniffer," if you will, as she rushes about town drawing her gloved finger over any and all surfaces that appear to harbor the least amount of particulate of any kind. You could see she was just waiting for the moment that she could cry out: "Bingo!" or "Gotcha!"

She doesn't care about bank robberies, she doesn't care about nuclear war, she doesn't care about terrorism. She's just a prudish schoolmarm trying to find out if the locals have been naughty or nice.

LOCAL: "But we're good people here, Ma'am!"
OFFICER: "That's as shall appear, my pretty! Heh-heh-heh-heh! Say, do you mind if I sniff your jacket, young man?"

And then when you think of the thousands of her self-aggrandizing colleagues in the US alone who only have jobs because of this Big Brother fight against the "pre-crime" of substance possession, folks who, barring that, would be slopping together Whoppers at Burger King. Well, it's a boon for the glove industry at any rate. Somebody has to clad those busybody fingers of theirs as they poke about for a legal excuse to confiscate mansions and yachts on behalf of the local police.

America has come within a hair's breadth of being nuked multiple times (accidentally and otherwise) in the last 50 years, including once in Arkansas, once in North Carolina, and even once in Pearl Harbor (see the book Red Star Rogue for details on this latter brush with Armageddon that the US government has been attempting to hide from its own people for the last 60 years). But it never seems to have occurred to strategically hysterical authorities that these thousands of "panty sniffers" that we're employing today in the name of the Drug War might be of more service to the Republic if they were looking for nuclear threats, not pharmacological ones.

I guess they figure that if we're blown to bits, we can all go to heaven secure in the knowledge that we have just said no to mother nature's godsends. Or if we survive the initial blast, we can stand up to the invader (the one who comes stateside after we do the dirty work for them by blowing up Arkansas ourselves) and cry: "Don't shoot, comrade, we're good people here, we have all just said no to godsend medicine!" To which the Russian sniper replies, "Just say no to THIS!"

I'm just sayin', let's get our priorities straight here!


Do you want to know how perspicacious those philosophy professors of yours are? Easy. Just ask them what they think about "drugs." If they don't admonish you at once for using an ambiguous and highly fraught term (videlicet the politically defined category of 'drugs'), then you can safely ignore (if not denounce) everything that they proceed to tell you on the subject. That was my epiphany this week, namely that the Drug War is a litmus test of philosophical wisdom.

This is also the week when I dubbed myself The Drug War Philosopher and changed site titles accordingly. This is certainly more evocative of my site's purpose than the current title, which is just basically the domain name itself, i.e. Abolish the DEA, for while that is a consummation devoutly to be wished, it is not really the purpose of this website, except perhaps in a quite tangential fashion.

Finally, this was the week when I realized that the Drug War is a war on knowledge, and not just figuratively speaking either. For as Brittany Hunter points out in Joe Biden: The Architect of America's Disastrous War on Drugs, the current president's 1980s anti-drug agency called the ONDCP (the Office of National Drug Control Policy) had a charter that actually forbade the organization from considering research about potential therapeutic benefits that might be used to argue in favor of decriminalization. And this policy now pervades the political world. It's the reason why drugs researcher DJ Nutt of England was removed from his job for pointing out that certain illegal drugs are actually safer than certain legal ones.

For the drug warrior's goal is to demonize criminalized medicines, not to understand them.

COMING SOON: A list of email addresses for the many screenwriters who write TV shows and movies that implicitly promote Drug War ideology. I will provide this list in the hope that site visitors will write to these bamboozled authors, politely explaining why they should cease and desist in promoting a drug war that kills thousands of Americans every year in inner-city shootings, that creates civil wars overseas, that empowers a self-described Drug War Hitler in the Philippines, and whose philosophy of substance demonization has kept depression-prone chappies like yours truly from accessing plant medicines that have inspired entire religions in the past.

Depp V Heard

Well, this was the week when we learned from drug researcher Amber Heard that marijuana use in puppy-hood leads to lifetime defecation issues in schnauzers. I understand her paper on the subject has already been accepted for publication in the esteemed journal Nature. We also discovered -- no surprise here -- that the public loved Johnny Depp just the way he was, opium use and all, and that no one -- positively no one was rushing to have him arrested for this habit (although the DEA was looking on jealously, just itching for the chance to take down this Christian Science heretic). And that's probably good, since the prime suspect in making Johnny a "monster," to the extent that he was one, was clearly alcohol, not opium. Besides, no one was in a hurry to see Johnny's personality tamped and tampered with by Big Pharma antidepressants. So if he had to be habituated to something, please God let it be opium instead. Our prayer for Johnny then is not, "let him be sober,": but rather, "let him learn to use mother nature's godsend plant medicines wisely! Along with the highly non-addictive MDMA should he be so inclined."

US Memorial Day

Well, this was the week that I tried in vain to convince the Twitter-verse that we had a solution to the school shooting crisis staring us in the face, if only we weren't blinded by the light of the drug-war ideology of substance demonization. That solution, of course, is the therapeutic use of empathogens on hotheads and other potential mass shooters. But my tweeted links to How Ecstasy could end mass shootings didn't exactly break the Internet. I fear that Americans have received one too many bribes of State Police teddy bears in their childhood to permit of them believing that it isn't our moral duty as good Christians to just say no to godsend psychoactive medicine -- yes, even if it could theoretically prevent school shootings.

This was also the week when I tried once again to make modern nonfiction writers grasp the fact that they were reckoning without their host when they pronounced on the philosophical assumptions of our times without even mentioning the drug war. To that end, I gently upbraided Francis Fukuyama for his recent book about the bipartisan assault on liberalism (Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama) wherein he blamed the politically created category of "drugs" for making matters worse, without bothering to mention that a worldwide drug war exists, let alone that it alone is responsible for the inner-city gunfire for which Francis wrings his sociocultural hands. Like Bill Clinton, he blames the inner-city violence on gangs and "drug dealing," conveniently ignoring the fact that both are a natural consequence of prohibition in poor, and poorly educated, communities. It's as if the government had criminalized milk, and then blamed the ensuing violence on the armed gangs that arose to meet the demand for dairy. It's hypocritical to blame the armed gangs since government policy created them out of whole cloth, just as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.

Speaking of reckoning without one's host, Anthony Gottlieb never once mentions the drug war in his otherwise wonderful book entitled "Dream of Enlightenment," which I've been perusing of late. That oversight, of course, seems understandable according to modern sensibilities, since there supposedly was no drug war in the time period under consideration there, though there were certainly plenty of signs of the nature-hating zeitgeist that preceded it. That said, however, there have been giant ethno-pharmacological strides made in the past half-century -- starting with the Life magazine articles of Gordon Wasson and continuing today with the Ted Talk effusions of Rick Doblin. These advances make it clear that human personality can be changed for the better with the help of empathogenic drugs which inspire love and fellowship, even in formerly hateful human beings. Like most philosophers, however, Gottlieb appears unaware of this fact. Had he known of the transformative power of drugs like psilocybin and MDMA, he surely would have questioned Thomas Hobbes' view that human beings even have a "true nature," let alone an evil one. (Please see Open Letter to Anthony Gottlieb.)

Whatever the supposed "true nature" of the diverse participants in the rave scene of 1990s Britain, they all came together in peace and love on the dance floor with a little help from MDMA -- before drug warriors cried foul, that is, banned the drug, and returned the dance floor to the usual alcohol-fueled violence with which the powers-that-be were apparently so much more comfortable.

Anywho, as always, I wrote a letter to Tony on this topic, and I am so confident of a speedy reply from that gentleman, that I am actually going to hold my breath now until it arrives. Ready? 1, 2, 3... (mmmmmm hurry up, Ton'... mmm mmm.... don't let me down!)


There were two big stories this week: the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and the fact that no one mentioned Ecstasy when talking about that tragedy. Ecstasy is the drug that brought peace, love and understanding to the dance floor in Britain in the 1990s, turning rave concerts into unprecedented cuddle-fests uniting folks of every religion, ethnic group and skin color. It's common sense that a therapeutic protocol using E could help pacify hotheads -- at least to the point that they will no longer be inclined to shoot up grade schools. But Americans are so sure of the need to demonize psychoactive medicine that this possibility does not even occur to them. How Ecstasy could end mass shootings

Also this week I've appended an editorial comment to the essay entitled Why Americans Can't Handle the Truth about Drugs, describing how the FDA establishes a hypocritical and anti-scientific system for approving psychoactive medicine. Well, first of all, they should have no role in "approving" psychoactive plants, period, full stop. That's a violation of natural law for government or science to run interference between human beings and the plant medicine that grows around them. Second of all, the FDA has to start considering the rights of the depressed and anxious (and those who merely seek religious inspiration or mind improvement!) The FDA is hung up on the unscientific idea that a drug can and should be criminalized if a handful of uneducated youngsters can find a way to misuse it. Why? Because drugs are politicized in America, and when the media makes a big hoopla about teens misusing, say, nitrous oxide, then beer-swilling drug warriors are going to raise a big stink about it and flex their Tarzan muscles and show their easily-led masses that they, for one, are in favor of CRACKING DOWN on fill-in-the-button-pushing blank.

In these cases, scientific precision is thrown out the window. The FDA doesn't care how statistically insignificant the juvenile problem is, nor how the use of the substance in question might lessen the use of more dangerous drugs by those same juveniles, by helping to wean them off of alcohol, for instance -- no, the FDA simply evaluates the demonized medicines based on how loudly these medicines are condemned by pharmacologically clueless politicians. Such demagogue drug warriors are the modern Chicken Littles of our age, constantly raising the alarm about any psychoactive substances which they fear might make Americans a little more peaceful and a little more individualistic (and consequently a little less willing to allow consumerism and money-making to define them as people).

No one stops to consider that it is absurd -- and ultimately tyrannical -- to deny godsend medicines to millions -- indeed billions -- on the basis of how a few uneducated kids might use a substance. It never seems to have occurred to the FDA that there are any other stakeholders in this business, namely 40% to 50% of the entire world-weary planet. If the depressed and lonely knew how they were being screwed here (to say nothing of those who merely want to improve their minds), they would riot en masse in front of DEA headquarters in Washington, DC, to end the lopsided focus on protecting a handful of theoretical young abusers and to have the FDA serve the interests of the VAST MAJORITY of stakeholders for a change. But they have as yet failed to do so. Incidentally, the envisioned protests should by rights feature the pharmalogically disgruntled of every country in the world, since the US has managed to either convince, strong-arm or financially blackmail the entire world into following its know-nothing Christian Science lead when it comes to psychoactive medicines, including the ones that have the illegal effrontery to grow at your very feet, reader!

Humph! The IDEA of those plants and fungi! The US will teach THEM, right? We'll eradicate them from the face of the globe! See how they like THAT?!

Incidentally, the foregoing rant was parody. I don't mean to insult you, reader, by stating that obvious fact explicitly, but when I crack wise like this, I always get at least one email accusing me of being a drug warrior prude.

Finally, if the FDA is so exquisitely worried about a handful of juvenile delinquents, they might want to give education a chance. Abolish the DEA and replace it with the Drug EDUCATION Administration.

Thoughts? Contact Brian Quass at quass@quass.com.

Essay date:

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

More Essays Here

A Misguided Tour of Jefferson's Monticello

Calling Doctor Scumbag

A Dope Conversation about Drugs

COPS presents the top 10 traffic stops of 2023

PSA about Deadly Aspirin

PSA about Deadly Roller Coasters

PSA about the Deadly Grand Canyon

PSA about Deadly Horses


(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 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. (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

  • Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
  • Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company
  • Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press
  • 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
    • Blum, Richard "Society and Drugs" 1970 Jossey-Bass
  • 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
    • Carroll, Lewis "Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel" 2021 Amazon
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
    • Cohen, Jay S. "For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health" 2011 Tarcher/Putnam
    • De Quincey, Thomas "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" 1995 Dover
    • Ellsberg, Daniel "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner " 2018 Bloomsbury Publishing
    • Fadiman, James "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys " 2011 Park Street Press
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
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