The Drug War as a Litmus Test for Philosophical Wisdom
t the risk of flattering myself, I have concluded that an American's level of philosophical sophistication is in direct proportion to their ability to see through Drug War lies, for the Drug War is based on a variety of unspoken assumptions which do not stand up to logical scrutiny. That's why I say that Thomas Fleming is a great historian but a lousy philosopher. That's why I say that Francis Fukuyama is a great sociocultural critic but a lousy philosopher. That's why I say that Michael Pollan is a great naturalist but a lousy philosopher. For each of these authors fails to see the Drug War for the vast system of lies and misrepresentations that it is.
Thomas Fleming, for instance, tells us how racial prejudice, witch hunting and McCarthyism are prime examples of "a disease in the public mind", and yet the late historian ignored the fact that he himself was living and writing during the time of perhaps the greatest of all such diseases, namely the Drug War, which, like its fellows, gave Americans a disastrous lens through which to view the world around them - an ideologically blurred lens that blinded us to the thousands of deaths that the Drug War caused every year in inner cities, including over 800 deaths in Chicago alone in 2021, thanks to the gun violence that was a direct result of prohibition.
Francis Fukuyama writes compellingly about the excesses of the left and right and how they are placing Liberalism in jeopardy, and yet he tells us that the push to defund the police is one of these excesses. Why? Because, he says, the police are needed in the inner cities to fight drug-related violence. To which the true philosopher responds, "Wait a minute, Francis: the police CAUSED that drug-related violence thanks to their enforcement of the new prohibition, which created gangs and cartels as surely as the old prohibition created the Mafia. To call on the police to help solve the problem of inner-city violence then is like calling on an arsonist to help battle the fire that he himself created."
Michael Pollan is certainly receptive to the idea that Drug War ideology blinds us to certain truths, as for instance he acknowledged after criticism that the term "recreational drug use" is fraught at best, since one person's recreational use could be another person's therapy and/or spiritual experience. That said, Michael fails to realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Drug War linguistic misdirection. The very idea of "drugs" as defined today is a modern creation, designed to demonize politically despised psychoactive substances. "Drugs" is a political term, meaning "substances of which historically and pharmacologically clueless politicians disapprove." To start discussing the topic of "drugs," as Pollan does, without acknowledging this fact, is to render everything one says on this topic problematic at best.
In short, a modern Diogenes would not need a lantern to find a wise human being. He would simply need to ask the candidates what they thought about the "drug" problem. Any respondent who did not begin their answer by discoursing at length on the pejorative and hypocritical nature of the term "drug" itself could be quickly scratched off the list of potential know-it-alls.
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
PHILOSOPHY AND THE DRUG WAR
For those who want to understand what's going on with the drug war from a philosophical point of view, I strongly recommend chapter six of "Eugenics and Other Evils" by GK Chesterton.
The American Philosophy Association should make itself useful and release a statement saying that the drug war is based on fallacious reasoning, namely, the idea that substances can be bad in themselves, without regard for why, when, where and/or how they are used.
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.
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)
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