or all his popular writing about psychoactive medicine, Michael Pollan supports prohibition. He believes it actually makes sense to outlaw Mother Nature's bounty. That's a strange position for a botanist living in a purportedly free country. Worse yet, Michael is hypocritical, because he believes that prohibition makes sense for you and I, but not for himself. That's why, in his lengthy book "How to Change Your Mind," he spends 400 pages telling of his personal experiences with psychedelics, only to confess on page 405 that he is not in favor of mushrooms being legal for mere human beings. Putting the elitist hypocrisy aside, I think this is an appalling position for a botanist to take.
But let's suppose for a moment that Mother Nature is so evil that outlawing her bounty makes sense - even though such measures would violate the natural law upon which America was founded and clash with Christian orthodoxy which tells us that people can be good or bad, not things. Even then, we have the proof of the last 100 years that prohibition causes civil wars overseas, militarizes police forces, creates inner-city violence, arms the gangs and the cartels, causes drive-by shootings, denies godsend medicines to the depressed and those in pain, and censors science. And what is Michael's argument in FAVOR of prohibition? A shroom might be misused by a young American kid.
Well, of course a shroom might be misused, Michael, but that's BECAUSE of the Drug War itself, which teaches Americans to fear drugs rather than to understand them. That's why the tellingly named National Institute for Drug Abuse publishes endless papers on misuse and abuse of drugs, but almost nothing on responsible use, which, as Dr. Carl L. Hart writes in "Drug Use for Grown-Ups," is by far the main way that psychoactive drugs are used in the real world, this despite the fact that the Drug Warrior does everything they can to keep Americans ignorant about drugs, since their goal is to make us fear rather than understand them.
And why do prohibitionists like Michael insist on thinking that young white American suburban kids are the only stakeholders in the prohibition debate? As a chronic depressive, I've been forced to go a lifetime now without godsend medicine that grows at my feet. Yet I've never heard of a Drug Warrior wringing their hands on my behalf. And there are hundreds of millions like me who suffer all so that we can protect Johnnie and Janie Whitebread from the politician-created boogieman called drugs. I'm not saying that Michael is racist himself, of course, but the prohibition that he supports (however lukewarmly) most definitely is. (See the book "Whiteout" for some of the many ways that this is so.)
The truth is that Michael is Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to drugs. The choice of his subject matter makes him sound progressive, but he occasionally lets slip a line which betrays a deep conservative streak as well. In supporting prohibition, for instance, in "How to Change Your Mind," Michael tells us that Nixon outlawed psychedelics in order to ensure the health of young men being recruited into the army. That's simply not true. Nixon didn't want the campus followers of Timothy Leary to be fit for military service, he wanted them thrown in jail, preferably on felony charges to deny them the future right to vote.
He created drug laws in order to disenfranchise his opposition, a step that removed hundreds of thousands of blacks from the voting rolls and handed elections to Drug Warriors, and eventually to Donald Trump himself, who, if re-elected has voiced his determination to start executing those Black drug dealers that previous administrations had been satisfied with just throwing in jail.
If Michael is really excited about the psychoactive substances that he is studying, he should denounce the Drug War which keeps all those godsends from being used by his readers. Until then, Michael is treating those readers like Tantalus of the Greek myth, vividly exciting them about a host of substances that turn out to be just out of reach for everybody but Michael himself.
M. Pollan says "not so fast" when it comes to drug re-legalization. I say FAST? I've gone a whole lifetime w/o access to Mother Nature's plants. How can a botanist approve of that? Answer: By ignoring all legalization stakeholders except for the kids whom we refuse to educate.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. 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.
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. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
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)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company