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The New Dark Ages

How the drug war has turned modern philosophy into pseudoscience

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 16, 2024

have already explained in many essays how today's psychology reckons without the Drug War1. It ignores the insights that would be gained by taking drug effects seriously and so ends up disastrously shunting the depressed and anxious off onto dependence-causing Big Pharma meds while dogmatically ignoring the obvious powers of a long list of drugs to elate and inspire. This mindset also helps justify the use of shock therapy for the severely depressed when such victims could have otherwise been cheered up in real-time with drugs like MDMA, coca, and even opium - the nightly smoking of which is surely preferable to having one's brain fried2! Yet drug researchers like Robert Glatter profess to be uncertain whether even laughing gas could actually help the depressed3.

Could laughing gas help me, Robert? You're kidding me, right?

Such obfuscating materialists do not even dare to ask if the daily chewing of the coca leaf could help chronic depressives like myself4. It is more than their jobs are worth for them to ask such questions. For academics today are under the thumb of the Drug Warrior and know better than to promote treatments that use demonized substances, which the Drug Warrior insists can have no positive uses for anybody, anywhere, ever. To insist otherwise is to kiss your research funding goodbye.

To repeat, then, modern psychology reckons without the Drug War and this has had disastrous results. I know this all too well, as this oversight has helped to justify draconian drug laws that have deprived me for a lifetime now of the godsend mood medicine that grows at my very feet.

And yet philosophy does the exact same thing. Modern philosophy also reckons without the Drug War. It too ignores the insights that would be gained by taking drug effects seriously.

Consider the conclusion of Immanuel Kant, that we can know nothing about the noumenal world, about "what is really out there," and that we have but one shared experience of the sensible world as mediated through the categories of thought5. Well, guess what? William James himself begged to differ. Under the influence of nitrous oxide, he came to the conclusion that our everyday "sober" consciousness which Kant is presupposing here "is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different." James concluded, moreover, that "No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.6"

Yet disregard them we must, thanks to Drug War prohibition. We must hand the laurels in this philosophical contest to Immanuel Kant because William James has been disqualified from even running in this race. Kant is right because the government says so. And are our philosophers pushing back against this prima facie censorship, especially now that the FDA has nitrous oxide in its sights as a drug to be demonized, the substance that inspired James's visions in the first place? Are they up in arms, petitioning the FDA on behalf of the freedom of inquiry and human progress in general?

To the contrary, most philosophers today seem to think that drug use can have nothing whatsoever to do with philosophy. In fact, the Harvard website does not even mention laughing gas in their biography of William James, the founder of their school of psychology and the first man in America to teach a course on that subject7. They have expunged James's "drug use" from history, just as most books about Benjamin Franklin refrain from telling the reader about his penchant for opium. In the age of the Drug War, even our facts about the past must conform to Drug War orthodoxy, namely, the idea that psychoactive drug use can have no benefits for anybody, anywhere, ever.

This oversight is becoming increasingly inexcusable, however, as researchers involved in the psychedelic renaissance continue to remove the many layers of stigma that the racist Drug Warrior has strategically attached to psychoactive drug use over the last 100-plus years of substance demonization. But neither psychologist nor philosopher have yet to awaken from their "dogmatic slumbers." In fact, I have written on this subject to hundreds of American philosophers (real snail mail) over the last five years and never heard back from one of them8. Not one of them. I wrote to all the philosophers at Oxford about the UK's attempts to outlaw laughing gas, urging them to oppose the measure as an attack on academic inquiry, and no one responded9. Not one of them.

This is why I have concluded that the world is going through a new self-imposed Dark Ages, one in which science has willingly devolved into pseudoscience in order to conform to the requirements of racist Drug Warriors, who insist that drug use must always be thought of as a meaningless dead end.


1 Quass, Brian, The Naive Psychology of the Drug War, 2022 (up)
2 Quass, Brian, Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War, 2020 (up)
3 Quass, Brian, Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide, 2022 (up)
4 Mariani, Angelo, Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition,, 1896 (up)
5 Kant, Immanuel, The Critique of Pure Reason, (up)
6 James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Philosophical Library, New York, 1902 (up)
7 William James, Harvard University, Boston, 2024 (up)
8 Quass, Brian, I asked 100 American philosophers what they thought about the Drug War, 2020 (up)
9 Quass, Brian, William James rolls over in his grave as England bans Laughing Gas, 2023 (up)

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William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

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 New Dark Ages: How the drug war has turned modern philosophy into pseudoscience, published on March 16, 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)