Essay date: July 21, 2020

The Drugs Reddit just doesn't get it

How the Drugs Reddit collaborates with drug warriors to demonize plant medicines and imprison a million American minorities each year.

WARNING: The author was banned from both the Drugs and the Drug War Reddits for pointing out the following inconvenient truths about America's unprecedented Drug War. Read these ideas quick, before the US government finally just plain declares these viewpoints illegal -- which might happen any day in a country that claims the right to outlaw mother nature's plants.

Earth to the PC online echo chamber known as the Drugs Reddit:

There is no drug problem in America. Instead, there are the twin related problems of ignorance and substance criminalization. The first leads human beings to make bad choices, the second guarantees that those choices will be bad by outlawing mere research on psychoactive plant substances, preferring to demonize them instead as the root of all social evil. How? First, by falsely claiming that chemical substances somehow fry the brain the moment they are criminalized by politicians, and second, by creating cop shows and drug-war movies in which we never see the responsible use of criminalized substances. In this way, such Drug War entertainment implies that such responsible use is somehow impossible, notwithstanding the fact that many of America's founding fathers themselves used such substances responsibly, including Benjamin Franklin, Aaron Burr, and Thomas Jefferson.

If America's obsession with "drugs" made sense, surely the history of the world would be riddled with "drug problems" from the past. If so, the professors under whom I've studied "never got the memo." Consider the following Great Courses that I've audited over the last two years alone:

(I can hear the Drug Warrior now: "How on earth did these civilizations survive when everyone had free access to all of mother nature's evil plant medicines???")

Conclusion: The fact that there's a huge "drug problem" in America today says far more about modern society than it does about something we call "drugs."

The best that the Drug Warrior can do in citing "drug problems" of the past is to point to the opium wars of the 19th century. But that problem was deliberately caused by government - the British government, to be exact - which strategically sought to glut the Chinese opium market with a particularly addictive form of the drug from India -- and then declared war when the Chinese responded by outlawing the drug altogether.

These damning facts not withstanding, modern Drug Warriors like John Halpern do their best to rewrite history in order to demonize opium itself (instead of the British government) when writing on this subject. Thus Halpern's 2019 book on this topic, "Opium," bears the propagandistic subtitle: "How an ancient flower shaped and poisoned our world."


A far more honest title would have been "Opium: how government monopolies shaped and poisoned our world," but Halpern couldn't miss an opportunity to lash out at the modern all-purpose scapegoat known as "drugs."

Unfortunately, I can't post this essay on the Drugs Reddit because I have already been banished there for life for merely broaching these ideas on a previous occasion. In fact, I've been banned on the DrugWar Reddit as well for the same reason. (I sometimes think that DEA moles have become moderators of such groups in order to make sure that observations like mine never see the light of day.)

What a coup Francis Burton Harrison scored in 1914 when, for the first time in American history, he outlawed a mere plant, the opium poppy. Not only did the anti-Chinese politician thereby violate the natural law upon which America was founded, but he laid the legal groundwork for President Nixon to criminalize thousands of additional psychoactive plants six decades later -- not to protect the health of young people (as Julie Holland mistakenly claims in her 2020 book entitled "Good Chemistry") but to send his opponents to jail and remove them from the voting rolls by charging them with felonies. Because even imaginary problems like "drugs" can be used to good advantage by a savvy politician.

Thus corrupt politicians created a whole new scapegoat for social problems, something that we Americans call "drugs," and in so doing created a Drug War that incarcerates a million minorities a year and causes so much violence that it gave birth to a whole new movie genre about drug trafficking.

If the Drug Reddit really wants to be a force for good, it will stop fetishizing this red herring called "drugs" and break up, like AT&T, into more rationally oriented subreddits, focusing on topics such as "LEGALIZING PLANT MEDICINES," "INVESTING IN EDUCATION," and "USING MOTHER NATURE'S PSYCHOACTIVE BOUNTY TO COMBAT ADDICTION AND HABITUATION."


The Moderators for the Drugs Reddit "just don't get it." Check out the message that one sees when trying to post there (which, good luck if you plan to be honest):

"If your post, or a reply to it would make it easier for someone to get drugs, it's not permitted."

Think of what this statement actually means, given the fact that "drugs" is just another word for "criminalized plant medicine." It means:

"If your post, or a reply to it would make it easier for someone to get forbidden plant medicine, it's not permitted."

The fact that the anonymous Moderators just blandly state this warning, without also roundly denouncing it, shows that they either don't appreciate the injustice at work here or that they gladly accept it as natural.

So then let me get this straight: First we are separated from Mother Nature by the Drug War, and now we are told that we cannot even discuss Mother Nature's plants when we feel that they would be useful to a fellow human being. And so I could be thrown in jail (or worse yet, banned from the Drugs Reddit!) for merely telling a dying grandmother where she can harvest psychedelic plants that will help her make her peace with the inevitable approach of "the gentle hand of Azrael," as Edgar Allan Poe, a beneficiary of psychoactive substances himself, might have called it. "Yes, sorry, Grandma: your health and happiness is important to me, but I cannot violate the tenets of America's most righteous and holy Drug War!"

Again, the Drugs Reddit should be lashing out at this absurd and tyrannous status quo at every chance. Instead, they banish those who so much as mention these inconvenient truths, preferring instead to act as cheerleaders for America's obsession with "drugs," doing everything they can to show that they are willing collaborators in the government's war on mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines.

The difference between someone "using a drug" and his being "addicted" to it is not a matter of fact, but a matter of our moral attitude and political strategy toward him. Indeed, we might, and must, go further than this, and note that the very identification of a substance as a drug or not a drug is not a matter of fact but a matter of moral attitude and political strategy: tobacco, in common parlance, is not considered to be a drug but marijuana is; gin is not but Valium is. Here, now, briefly is how those who wish to wage war on drugcraft use the language of loathing to enlist recruits for their cause. - Ceremonial Chemistry, Thomas Szasz

Author's Follow-up: October 16, 2022

Ah, yes, the language of loathing. This is why the Drug War is all about substance demonization, and the unscientific idea that some substances can be bad without regard for how, when or why they are used -- an attitude which indefinitely delays the cure to such maladies as depression, Alzheimer's and autism, insofar as the drugs we demonize can grow new brain cells and give users a new lease on life.

Next essay: Grandmaster Flash: Drug War Collaborator
Previous essay: Five Ways that the drug war causes the problems that it claims to solve

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The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)

Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

The Drug War Censors Science

Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.

old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.

It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it 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.

Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at