bird icon for twitter

What Carl Hart Missed

Why 'Drug Use for Grown-Ups' Gets a B+

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

May 21, 2023

Author's Preface: May 23, 2023

I'm pretty much the only one I know who has explicitly pointed out that the Drug War censors science. (Credit where credit's due, right?) It's little wonder then that I will be a miserly teacher when it comes to doling out the coveted grade of "A." But that should not obscure the fact that Carl is an American hero in my book, and that he is the Frederick Douglass of our times, a man who not simply stands up for what is right, but does so in an age in which the majority have been browbeaten into denying common sense -- and natural law, for that matter. Carl is a true American, one interested in restoring the Jeffersonian vision of the pursuit of happiness -- upon which the Reagan DEA so ungraciously trampled when it stomped onto Monticello in 1987 to confiscate the founding father's poppy plants -- a truly superstitious and troglodytic abuse of government power.

I continue to recommend the book "Drug Use for Grown-Ups," and I congratulate Dr. Carl L. Hart of Columbia University for coming out of the closet as a responsible drug user and for encouraging others in the Ivory Tower to do the same. That said, however, Carl's "take" on the subject is not without its shortcomings. After reading the book in question, one gets the feeling that he shares the typical Libertarian viewpoint on this subject, namely that drug use is not particularly necessary, or even important in the grand scheme of things, but that people do like to relax and chill out and they should have the right to do so in the way of their choice, and not be limited to using alcohol for this purpose.

That's nice as far as it goes, but the fact is that so-called "drug" use also inspired the philosophy of William James and it inspired the Vedic religion. So outlawing such substances does not simply stop us from chilling out after a tough work day, it also stops us from pursuing knowledge and religious inspiration in general - which is far worse than outlawing any one religion in particular: it is a ban on the religious impulse itself.

Coming from a science background, Carl also seems to share the materialist assumption that modern science has "sorted" depression for most of us, thanks to its reductionist approach to treatment (this despite the fact that the number of depressed in America has soared ever since the introduction of these drugs). Far from fixing depression, however, the search for a reductionist "cure" for the condition has led to the biggest mass drug dependency of all time, thanks to which 1 in 4 American women are dependent upon Big Pharma pills for life. And frankly, I do not think that anyone fully understands the problem of prohibition who fails to recognize this reality. This pill mill exists, after all, only because prohibition has outlawed all psychoactive competition.

In fact, Carl all but tells the depressed amongst his readership to "keep taking your meds." He says, in effect, that the kind of use he describes is only advisable for the healthy of mind and body. He seems unaware of the ability of mind-inspiring and neuron-growing drugs to fight depression and unaware of the fact that Big Pharma antidepressants tranquilize rather than inspire, a truth to which I can attest after 40+ years' worth of experience on the receiving end of these so-called wonder drugs.

But Carl's oversight does explain something for me. I was wondering how he could get away with being so honest about "drugs." Now I suspect that he is tolerated in part because he -- just like other reformers like Rick Doblin and DJ Nutt - are not challenging the role of Big Pharma in "treating" the depressed with a one-size-fits-all treatment based on reductionist principles: i.e., the idea that human beings are interchangeable widgets all amenable to the same psychoactive therapy, one in which drugs (or rather "meds"), and not the human's attitude, do all the heavy lifting.

To be fair, Carl does hint at the greater injustice of the Drug War. He says that we all have a right to the pursuit of happiness and that prohibition is in violation of that principle. He points out, moreover, that our bodies are provided with molecular receptors for drugs like coca and opium, without which we could not profit from them. The implication is therefore clear: namely, that God and/or Nature expected us to use such substances. The Drug War is therefore anti-nature -- though Carl never explicitly makes that point but merely implies it. But the Drug war is also anti-religion and anti-philosophy, and those are two points that Carl does not even imply.

When I read that bit about the chemical receptors in the human body, by the way, I was terrified. It occurred to me that someday (perhaps sooner than later) human beings may indeed have the technical ability to remove such receptors from the human body entirely - and then the Drug Warriors will enforce their anti-nature religion upon all of us by physically removing our ability to benefit from psychoactive substances (all except liquor, of course), thereby not simply outlawing the philosophy of William James but making it physically impossible for human beings to pursue his investigations into the ultimate nature of reality. The very creation of new religions would henceforth be hindered by the human being's politician-altered physiology. This is why we must argue against drug prohibition on principled grounds and not just on the grounds of expediency. The Drug War is wrong root and branch, not just in parts, and we should say so.

Carl takes a step in that direction by pointing out that the Drug War is a violation of our right to the pursuit of happiness. The next step, however, is to argue on religious grounds and on the grounds of scientific and philosophical freedom. We must argue against the Drug War on all these principled fronts if we wish to shut down the Drug Warrior's mad ambitions -- which surely have not been satiated or appeased by the enormous power that we have already ceded to them to criminalize Mother Nature. They will be just as outrageous in the future as we allow them to be -- and as technology permits. If we do not demand the restoration of Natural Law and the re-legalization of Mother Nature on clearly stated philosophical grounds, that is to say on principles (especially on those in America's founding documents), then the Drug Warrior, who is already responsible for endless amounts of unnecessary suffering around the world, still has worse in store for us.

Author's Follow-up: May 21, 2023

Note: Carl's still one of the least bamboozled authors on this topic. In fact, I can't think of any book that would get an "A"-- although Daniel Pinchbeck also gets a B+. Thomas Szasz himself missed these aspects of the Drug War. In fact, as far as I know, I'm the only one who has explicitly tied the Drug War to reductive materialism. That's no doubt why it's uphill climbing to get my views across: they are necessarily philosophical in nature. No wonder materialists would like the Drug War -- it outlaws the substances whose use gives us hints of a non-materialist reality.

Terence McKenna gets a B, for his psychedelic elitism. He associates coca and opium with the misuse of coca and opium -- and with hedonism. These are exactly the associations that Drug Warriors want us to make and they have been censoring academia and the media with that goal in mind for almost a century now, indeed ever since media as we know it has existed.

Next essay: Another Cry in the Wilderness
Previous essay: Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me

More Essays Here

essays about
Carl Hart

Open Letter to Dr. Carl L. Hart

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, What Carl Hart Missed: Why 'Drug Use for Grown-Ups' Gets a B+, published on May 21, 2023 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)