tuned in last night to see Joseph Biden boring an all-too-polite crowd with incontrovertible generalities at the Summit of the Americas: The American hemisphere is large and diverse, quoth Joe; the COVID crisis gave the region a disproportionate wallop, quoth Joe; the ensuing economic downturn ravaged economies throughout the Americas, quoth Joe. So far, so bland.
But then the president turned to a topic near and dear to his anachronistic heart:
"The United States is... working with partners to... go after drug traffickers."
What? Is Joseph Biden still supporting the Drug War?
Does Joseph Biden still not realize that the Drug War itself creates the bad-guy traffickers against whom we and our "partners" are fighting? Did he learn absolutely nothing from America's disastrous experimentation with liquor prohibition? Does he not realize, moreover, that most of these "traffickers" are simply selling medicine from a plant which the Incans considered to be a "god" and that therefore the Drug War is western colonialism run amok?
Sadly, I expected no better from Biden, the so-called Godfather of the Drug War, the man who first plumped for the creation of a "drug czar" in the 1980s. Here is a man who endorsed a rule at the Office of National Drug Control Policy that REQUIRED the agency to ignore any evidence about the beneficial effects of illegal drugs -- whether for medical or any other use --as part of an official propaganda campaign to discourage "drug use." Here is a man who drafted the 1994 anti-crime bill that resulted in the wildly disproportionate sentencing of Blacks for possession of crack cocaine, while whites with a similar amount of powdered product could go free.
What bothered me was the complete silence in the massive hall as Biden made it clear that he was still pursuing the same failed Drug War policy that had already turned America into a penal colony and disfranchised millions of Americans, thereby resulting in the election of unapologetic fascists.
Not one of the well-heeled attendees coughed disparagingly, or groaned, or booed, let alone stood up and shouted "End the Drug War!" or "Decriminalize Mother Nature at long last!"
The gorilla in the room is getting larger every day - the emperor's nudity is evermore apparent - and yet the placid heads in the audience just bobbed up and down complacently, as who should say: "Continue the Drug War, check! Yes, of course, that goes without saying."
No one seems aware of the historical backstory which shows that the very substances that we criminalize today have inspired entire religions in the past and that the Drug War is therefore an attack upon religion, nay, an attack upon the very wellspring and fountainhead of the religious impulse itself.
So just when I was starting to get a toasty patriotic feeling in my tum-tum from all the fine talk about democracy and "the rule of law," Biden reminds me of his unrepentant Drug War bona fides, and I change the channel, telling Uncle Joe as I did so that: "Ya lost me."
By the way, I wonder what Biden means by the "rule of law": does he mean the right of law enforcement to confiscate entire houses and property without a trial should the property itself be suspected of facilitating "drug trafficking"? Does he mean the right of businesses to remove Americans from the workforce without trial because an unconstitutional drug search has indicated that they have used mere traces of plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove?
But before I exchanged Joe Biden for The Three Stooges, I had an epiphany: those of us who are "woke" viz. the insidious nature of the Drug War need to steal a page from the ACT UP movement of the 1980s. We should stop the self-congratulatory chat on obscure Reddit groups and start ACTING UP -- in settings, like (oh, I don't know) the Los Angeles Convention Center, for instance. There were thousands of sleepy attendees there this week silently signing off on everything that Drug War Joe said. Surely the anti-Drug War crowd could have found at least one attendee who would have had the chutzpah and sense of moral indignation to shout out "End the Drug War!" the second that Biden broached the topic of cracking down still further on "drug dealers." The ACT UP protest strategy put gay rights and AIDS awareness on the map. It can do the same for the decriminalization effort.
God bless us, we drug-war opponents are just too polite for our own good. If we want to get our point across in the media, if we want to change the narrative, if we want to put drug-war collaborators on notice that we are wise to their hypocritical and racist game, then we need to start acting up. We need to start pointing to the 64,000-pound gorilla in the room. We need to start screaming out loudly and clearly (at the most inappropriate times, of course) that the Emperor is indeed buck-naked and has been for decades now.
We missed a great opportunity to do this during Biden's opening remarks at the 2022 Summit of the Americas. Our cause would have advanced by leaps and bounds had someone simply stood up in that auditorium after Biden said the word "drugs" and shouted: "End the flippin' war on drugs!" (Or here's my favorite: "Stop criminalizing plant medicine!")
But as Shakespeare reminds us, "Omittance is no quittance." Presidents give plenty of speeches, and some of them are actually open to the public - or at least to such a large number of "vetted" guests that there's sure to be at least one among them whom we can convince to speak truth to power when the well-publicized opportunity arises.
So stop letting President Joe "Crackdown" Biden off the hook: ACT UP at his next public speech -- and/or suborn a like-minded attendee to do so for you.
Biden still holds the long refuted belief that marijuana is a "gateway drug." But what if marijuana truly is a gateway drug, Joe? What if marijuana actually gets you to try, say, one of the psychedelic plant medicines that inspired the Vedic religion? Or one of the psychoactive plant medicines that gave Plato a view of the afterlife? Why precisely is that wrong? This whole talk of "gateway drugs" is premised on drug-war lies. Why do we call coca and opium hard drugs any way? To the extent that their use leads to negative outcomes, it is because of the DRUG WAR'S institutionally adopted preference for fear over facts. As noted above, Biden's Office of National Drug Control Policy actually had a rule whereby learning about wise use was forbidden!
The DRUG WAR has made these drugs "hard" by encouraging ignorance in users. They want us to fear substances, not understand them. The fact is that coca and opium can be used non-addictively. That can be taught, if we cared about something other than incarcerating minorities. But what if one DOES form a habit of opium use, for instance? Benjamin Franklin had that habit, as did Marcus Aurelius. Why is that so much worse than being chemically dependent on a hodgepodge of expensive Big Pharma "meds" that one has to take every morning of one's entire life? Especially considering the fact that the latter legal drugs can be harder to quit than heroin thanks to the way that they muck about with brain chemistry, while causing a chemical imbalance that they purport to be fixing (sources: Julie Holland and Robert Whitaker respectively).
Author's Follow-up: March 21, 2023
It's particularly galling that the president should tout the Drug War in a conference of the Americas. It is the Drug War that destroyed the rule of law in Latin America and brought civil war to Mexico at the behest of George Bush et al.
At best, Biden is criminally uninformed. At worst, he is cynically using the Drug War to achieve unstated goals -- like keeping Latin America under the thumb of amoral and immoral capitalists.
Author's Follow-up: April 3, 2023
Given its obviously disastrous effect on Latin America, the Drug War can only be seen as a war against socialism, aka a war for the advancement of American capitalism. If it were really just a war against drugs, it would have been recognized as a huge failure by now.
The Links Police
All right, buddy, do you know why I stopped you? That's right, because the Drug War gives me carte blanche to be a noxious busybody. But I also thought you might be interested in the following additional essays touching on fascism -- and also the need for the Holocaust Museum to speak out against the same -- at long last, be it said!!!
No Drug War Keychains 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.
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.
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.
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