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The Michael Pollan Fallacy

the lopsided concern for ignorant young people in the re-legalization debate

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

December 17, 2022

The Michael Pollan Fallacy: "The advocacy of substance prohibition based on a failure to recognize all the stakeholders in the drug approval process, especially a lopsided concern for the well-being of the ignorant young people of one's own nationality."

I've hitherto refrained from pointing this out, because Michael Pollan seems like a genuinely good guy, not to mention the fact that he is a writer who is many orders of magnitude in advance of my own feeble achievements. But the fact is that I find it irritating for any writer to use psychoactive substances themselves while yet telling us that we must keep these substances illegal for the masses. (See page 405 of the hardback edition of "How to Change Your Mind," in which Pollan writes: "Does that mean I think these drugs should be legalized? Not exactly.") It smacks of hypocrisy and elitism, saying in effect, "I am, of course, intelligent enough to use these substances wisely, but the average Jane and Joe will never be able to do so." And this is, in fact, the pernicious party line of the Drug Warrior, who is constantly telling us by implication that the average human being will always be a gullible baby when it comes to psychoactive medicine -- which, of course, is a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the government is officially pledged to the goal of scaring us about such medicines, not teaching us about them, let alone telling us how to use them as wisely as possible for our psychological benefit should we choose to partake.

And so Michael says, in effect, "not so fast," failing to realize that some of us -- myself included -- have now waited an entire lifetime to have their birthright of mother nature's bounty re-legalized for their free use and yet the progress toward this common-sense goal has been glacial in the best of times.

And why is this so? It's so because writers like Michael fail to realize that in protecting a minority of the ignorant through prohibition, he is thereby reducing millions of folks like myself to a life of unnecessary suffering with depression, to say nothing of the millions who (like Paul Stamets) might have undergone uplifting epiphanies had they been treated with psychedelics rather than with Big Pharma's dependence-causing medicines which turn the user into a demoralized ward of the healthcare state. Which brings me to another point. Writers like Pollan take no account of the fact that the status quo itself is harmful to the health of Americans, and that whatever problems arise from legalization, they would be dwarfed by the fact that 1 in 4 Americans are currently taking some kind of Big Pharma med every day of their life, a treatment that they might have gone without were mother nature not off limits. That's a world of real-life socially sanctioned addicts, and yet all Michael worries about viz. legalization are relatively rare POTENTIAL victims of psychedelic misuse. He seems to think that criminalization will do the least overall harm, but this is only because the victims of criminalization are invisible to him. Why? Because they're living what Thoreau called "lives of quiet desperation," and such downsides will never show up on the front pages of tabloids or be ballyhooed on the ratings-conscious nightly news as a national tragedy demanding instant legislative attention.

Moreover, if Michael were really worried about young people, he'd be concerned about the thousands of young Mexicans who have lost parents thanks to the war on drugs. But somehow the downsides of the Drug War never factor into our views of drugs as long as their consequences are felt overseas or in American inner cities.

Finally, if any one class of Americans should find it absurd to criminalize mother nature's bounty, surely it should be botanists. Surely, they, at least, should see such criminalization as a clear violation of the natural law upon which Jefferson founded America and a clear and absurd violation of our rights as denizens of Planet Earth. Instead, folks like Michael, admittedly after a lifetime on the receiving end of Drug War propaganda (a life in which they never encountered positive references to psychoactive substances, neither in the press, academia, nor in TV and movies) tell us that we still have to wait until some unspecified date to re-legalize mushrooms of all things -- mushrooms! And no doubt many selfish American parents would praise him for his go-slow approach ("kill 100,000 in Mexico if you have to, just protect little Johnny here at home!") -- but the billions of silent mental sufferers will not praise you, Michael, nor will the victims of Alzheimer's and autism, whose diseases remain incurable due in part to the fact that we have outlawed, and thus discouraged research on, precisely those kinds of drugs that have been shown to grow new neurons and neural pathways in the brain!

Author's Follow-up: January 5, 2023

Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have been killed by the psychoactive drug known as sugar over the last few years, mostly consumed in the form of Coca-Cola. Not a word from America's substance-demonizing politicians. QED: the DRUG WAR is bald-faced hypocrisy and the political posturing of racist demagogues -- and otherwise intelligent Americans who have been brainwashed by Drug War censorship into believing that poor little uneducated "junior" is the only stakeholder in the drug approval process. Re-legalize now. And use those billions you've been spending on law enforcement to teach -- rather than to ruin people's lives in a divisive campaign to militarize the world and Nazify the English language with hateful, slanderous and unscientific newspeak like "dope," "junk," and "scumbag."

Next essay: Depressed? Here's why you can't get the medicines that you need
Previous essay: Let's Hear It For Psychoactive Therapy

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Materialist scientists cannot triumph over addiction because their reductive focus blinds them to the obvious: namely, that drugs which cheer us up ACTUALLY DO cheer us up. Hence they keep looking for REAL cures while folks kill themselves for want of laughing gas and MDMA.
I can't believe people. Somebody's telling me that "drugs" is not used problematically. It is CONSTANTLY used with a sneer in the voice when politicians want to diss somebody, as in, "Oh, they're in favor of DRUGS!!!" It's a political term as used today!
There are hundreds of things that we should outlaw before drugs (like horseback riding) if, as claimed, we are targeting dangerous activities. Besides, drugs are only dangerous BECAUSE of prohibition, which compromises product purity and refuses to teach safe use.
There are neither "drugs" nor "meds" as those terms are used today. All substances have potential good uses and bad uses. The terms as used today carry value judgements, as in meds good, drugs bad.
As such, "we" are important. The sun is just a chaos of particles that "we" have selected out of the rest of the raw data and declared "This we shall call the sun!" "We" make this universe. Consciousness is fundamental.
In fact, we throw people out of jobs for using "drugs," we praise them for using "meds." The words as used today are extremely judgmental. The categories are imaginary, made up by politicians who want to demonize certain substances, but not cigs or beer.
Alexander Shulgin is a typical westerner when he speaks about cocaine. He moralizes about the drug, telling us that it does not give him "real" power. But so what? Does coffee give him "real" power? Coke helps some, others not. Stop holding it to this weird metaphysical standard.
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."
I agree that Big Pharma drugs have wrought disaster when used in psychotherapy -- but it is common sense that non-Big Pharma drugs that elate could be used to prevent suicide and obviate the need for ECT.
Musk vies with his fellow materialists in his attempt to diss humans as insignificant. But we are not insignificant. The very term "insignificant" is a human creation. Consciousness rules. Indeed, consciousness makes the rules. Without us, there would only be inchoate particles.
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You have been reading an article entitled, The Michael Pollan Fallacy: the lopsided concern for ignorant young people in the re-legalization debate, published on December 17, 2022 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)