bird icon for twitter

The Drug War as a Make-Work Program for Law Enforcement

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 5, 2020

was just watching an old episode of "In the Heat of the Night," in which drug runners feature prominently, of course. It made me wonder, what would TV have been like over the last 40 years without the Drug War? Script writers would have had to get inventive and picture their bad guys performing actual crimes - rather than hunting them down for the pre-crime of possessing politically ostracized substances.

The absurdity of the situation is clear when Chief Gillespie is asked how the officers should confront a newly arrived suspect at a drug dealer's house.

"How do you want to deal with him?" asks Virgil.

"I wanna know what he's got in that backpack," says the Chief.

That says it all about law enforcement during the Drug War: they're not interested in how anyone actually behaves: let the individual be as peaceful as a lamb, that means nothing. The police want to see what they have in the backpack, so that the full force of Drug War sharia may be brought down upon them if they dare to possess plants of which the government disapproves.

If the police go out onto a peaceful street, their job is to MAKE trouble by poking into other's business, rather than leaving well enough alone and letting peaceful citizens go about their peaceful business. And we wonder why guns proliferate and bullets fly.

In a sane world, it would be none of the Chief's damn business what anybody had in a backpack. The question would be how is the suspect behaving? What a waste of resources is thus employed in ruining Americans' lives based on what plant medicines they have chosen to use.

But the Drug Warrior never gets it. Their anti-scientific and draconian laws create a black market that results in crack houses popping up thanks to the profit motive. Then they point to those very crack houses as the reason why the Drug War must continue!!!

It's circular reasoning thanks to which the Drug War can never end - unless uprooted root and branch by folks who point out that it's all a power grab and a violation of natural law to outlaw naturally occurring substances in the first place.

Think of the cost of the Drug War: in terms of deaths and ruined lives and all the powerful psychoactive therapies for which even research is blocked, the soldiers going without powerful medicines for PTSD, the elderly going without powerful medicines for depression, the young minorities wasting away in overcrowded prisons for possessing natural substances that politicians have outlawed. Then ask yourself: would there be anything near this kind of drug-related suffering in the world had America NOT chosen to begin criminalizing plant medicines in 1914?

Obviously not. There was no drug problem prior to 1914. Why? Because back then people were still judged on how they actually behaved every day of their life and not on what natural substances they may or may not have in their digestive system.

But the power-hungry politicians saw an opening in 1914 and they ran through it.

Time to rewind and re-answer the question of how America intends to deal with substances: Let's try education this time instead of law enforcement. And let's not moralize about substance use, let's present the statistical facts on every substance known to humankind, without hypocritically leaving out alcohol and prescription drugs and tobacco, but definitely including every non-addictive psychedelic substance, substances which are now thought to promote the growth of new neurons in the brain - neurons that Drug Warriors could certainly use, judging by the illogical and circular reasoning that they continue to employ to this very day, over 100 years after Francis Burton Harrison succeeded in overturning natural law and criminalizing the use of a mere plant.

PS Not satisfied with arresting the perps, the Sheriff Bill Gillespie in the TV story gleefully confiscates the bad guy's property, under the tyrannical legal fiction that real estate may be held responsible for drug law violations. Of course, the property owner in the TV show is not a nice guy, so it's easy for American viewers to overlook the fact that the legal system is having a tyrannical heyday while cracking down on the mere substances that humans choose to ingest. Yet this passes as entertainment in America: watching law enforcement run roughshod over natural law and common sense, all in the name of combating a drug problem that the law itself has created out of whole cloth.

And then conservatives wring their hands, wondering, "Why do so many people fear, hate, and mistrust the police?" The answer: because the police aren't the police anymore: they are the enforcement arm of the ultra-strict Christian Science Sharia, AKA the war on plants, which tyrant politicians disingenuously refer to as the Drug War.

PPS Even in episodes that are not centered around drug dealing, the show gratuitously portrays cocaine use in the most lurid light possible, something of which only bad guy "trailer trash" partake, whereas Sigmund Freud used the stimulant liberally -- not in order to beat his wife and shortchange his business partners, but rather to goad himself on to a prolific vocational output that led to his self-actualization in life and his worldwide fame (but you will never see Hollywood portray cocaine used in THAT fashion, since that runs counter to their role in cranking out Drug War propaganda to keep the war on plants going strong until the end of time).

Next essay: In Praise of Drug Dealers
Previous essay: How the Drug War Punishes the Elderly

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic for them.
I don't believe in the materialist paradigm upon which SSRIs were created, according to which humans are interchangeable chemical robots amenable to the same treatment for human sadness. Let me use laughing gas and MDMA and coca and let the materialists use SSRIs.
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."
Now the US is bashing the Honduran president for working with "drug cartels." Why don't we just be honest and say why we're REALLY upset with the guy? Drugs is just the excuse, as always, now what's the real reason? Stop using the drug war to disguise American foreign policy.
In "The Book of the Damned," Charles Fort shows how science damns (i.e. excludes) facts that it cannot assimilate into a system of knowledge. Fort could never have guessed, however, how thoroughly science would eventually "damn" all positive facts about "drugs."
Drug warriors are too selfish and short-sighted to fight real problems, so they blame everything on drugs.
Now drug warriors have nitrous oxide in their sights, the substance that inspired the philosophy of William James. They're using the same tired MO: focusing exclusively on potential downsides and never mentioning the benefits of use, and/or denying that any exist.
Drug use is judged by different standards than any other risky activity in the western world. One death can lead to outrage, even though that death might be statistically insignificant.
The Holy Trinity of the Drug War religion is Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and John Belushi. "They died so that you might fear psychoactive substances with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Don't the Oregon prohibitionists realize that all the thousands of deaths from opiates is so much blood on their hands? Prohibitionists, j'accuse!
More Tweets

essays about

The Drug War Imperialism of Richard Evans Schultes
Drug Laws as the Punishment of 'Pre-Crime'
Three Problems With Rick Doblin's MAPS

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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

You have been reading an article entitled, The Drug War as a Make-Work Program for Law Enforcement published on April 5, 2020 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)