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The Drug War is the Perfect Storm

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 10, 2024

rug War prohibition is the perfect storm. It has something in it for everybody. That is why it has lasted for over 100 years now1. It is about power, it is about money, it is about materialism, it is about imperialism, it is about religion, it is about racism... and the list goes on. I mention this because every time I focus on one of these by itself, I get shot down by flamers who focus on another aspect, as if there was only one single factor involved in the success of the Drug War over the decades. "You say it's about A?" they scream. "Nonsense! It's about B!" But the fact is, it is about "all of the above."

Nor can we discuss this subject meaningfully without first identifying the demographic about which we are speaking.

Take drug producers like the MindMed company. It has produced a politically correct form of LSD for anxiety from which all visions and euphoria have been removed. Now the company has nothing against euphoria and visions per se2. Its motivation is clearly just financial. But how do we account for the fact that most Americans think that it makes sense in the first place to remove the visions and euphoria from LSD, the very ingredients for which the drug has been valued in the past? Money does not motivate that belief but rather some sort of metaphysical conviction that neither euphoria nor transcendent states are therapeutic. It's urgent that we recognize that unspoken assumption. Why? Because we are never going to get rid of greed, but we can expose and discredit the unacknowledged assumptions by which otherwise sane Americans continue to support the war on drugs.

Another confusion arises whenever we talk about causes. The fact is there are more than one type of cause. The reason for which something is done is called its final cause. In the case of the Drug War, there are multiple final causes, the chief of which is racism. But there are also efficient causes. These are the beliefs that help justify and promote the Drug War but which are not the reason for the Drug War's existence. One such cause is scientific materialism, a way of conceiving the world which denies that psychoactive drugs have any benefits whatsoever3. The materialist is not a Drug Warrior per se, but the materialist's attitude toward drugs makes the Drug War plausible to society in general. Another efficient cause of the Drug War is puritanism, the west's preference for living by the Golden mean of Aristotle, to avoid excess in everything, including emotion. This helps explain our aversion to the ecstatic states produced by drugs. Nietzsche described this attitude as Apollonian, as distinguished from the tribal approach toward life, which he called Dionysian. But the point here is that literally all philosophers (save for diehard solipsists) agree that the general unspoken presuppositions of a society affect the way in which that society is governed.

This is why philosophy is important when it comes to the Drug War. If we merely blame the Drug War on greed and racism, we will get nowhere, since we will never get rid of such evils. But if we unmask and critique the unspoken assumptions behind the Drug War, we have a chance of deprogramming the millions of Americans who have never thought about such questions deeply and who are therefore being led by the nose by the racist pied pipers of prohibition.

Author's Follow-up: March 10, 2024

picture of clock metaphorically suggesting a follow-up

This is really the whole point of my website here at I want to show that the Drug War "has to do" with almost every conceivable element of life. That's why I've published hundreds of essays in the last five years and am still nowhere near addressing all the problems that the Drug War causes in society. The Drug War is not a subject that we can or should ghettoize. It is not a niche subject. If you think that it lacks relevance to your life, I have two words for you: Donald Trump, the man who was elected only because the Drug War had thrown millions of minorities in jail and removed them from the voting rolls.


1 The 'drug war proper' started in 1973, when Richard Nixon declared a 'war on drugs.' But this was really just a major escalation of a war that had begun in 1914, when the government effectively criminalized opium. (up)
2 LaMotte, Sandee, Single dose of LSD provides immediate and lasting relief from anxiety, study says, CNN, 2024 (up)
3 Quass, Brian, How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed, 2022 (up)

Next essay: The Brainless Initiative
Previous essay: LSD for puritans

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You have been reading an article entitled, The Drug War is the Perfect Storm published on March 10, 2024 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)