hen I first saw the headline, I rejoiced: " Venezuela rejected U.S. memorandum on drugs!" Finally, a South American country that has decided to think for itself. Venezuela has decided to stop playing along with the imperialist Drug War and now it's going to stop demonizing naturally occurring substances like coca, which the natives of South America considered to be divine. From now on, the Venezuelans will educate their people rather than arresting them for using the bounty of Mother Nature. No more will they give the US an excuse to intervene at will in the sovereign affairs of Venezuela! This is great, right?
Wrong. True, Hugo Chavez kicked the DEA out of Venezuela in 2005, but the article tells us that his country has since used "sovereign policies" to carry out "the largest seizures and confiscations in history." In other words, the Venezuelan government has no problem whatsoever in running roughshod over their citizens' naturally given right to access the medicines of Mother Nature. It just wants to be the one to break heads, rather than leaving it up to the Americans, whom they rightly suspect of wanting to interfere in local politics, with an eye toward rendering the country a satellite plutocracy of the United States of America. How can the US achieve this? Answer: by demonizing the coca leaf, ostensibly in the name of public health, but actually in the name of enforcing the Monroe Doctrine and facilitating the advance of unbridled capitalism across the South American continent.
This disdain for the coca plant dates back to the Spanish invasion of Peru, at which point the locals were considered slaves and their customs, such as coca-leaf chewing, were considered foolish and superstitious. The Spanish even tried for a time to eradicate the plant entirely, but finally realized that their slave population could perform prodigious amounts of work only in a world in which coca use was allowed. Westerners raised the alarm again about coca use in the 19th and 20th centuries, not because they had new information about coca leaf addiction, which was and is extremely rare, but rather because they started judging the coca plant based on the problematic use of the coca alkaloid called cocaine. The coca leaf and cocaine are very different things (indeed the best coca leaves, according to Peruvian natives, often contain relatively small amounts of cocaine), but that never stopped the western Drug Warrior from demonizing the former for the alleged sins of the latter.
Of course, even cocaine, like opium, can be used wisely -- that is to say intermittently -- but this is a fact that the Drug Warrior does not want us to know, let alone to act on by actually educating potential users. For the Drug war has always been about punishing users, not enlightening them. Indeed, Biden's office of National Drug Policy is forbidden via its charter to even consider potential positive uses of criminalized substances. They NEED folks to OD and to become addicted so that the government can shout triumphantly, thanks to a self-fulfilling prophecy: "See? I told you those drugs were awful!"
But the Venezuelans can't connect the dots. Or perhaps their leaders do not wish to see beyond the anti-scientific blather of the Drug Warrior, because they rightly sense that a world without a Drug War would be a world in which they can no longer come up with good reasons for viciously cracking down on internal dissent.
September 19, 2022
Big fans of Coca Wine included HG Wells, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas and Henrik Ibsen. The drink was about enjoying coca, not cocaine -- tho' Drug Warriors ban it based on its cocaine alkaloid -- which, as author W. Golden Mortimer points out, is like banning peaches because they contain prussic acid.
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