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When you say 'Drugs'

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

September 5, 2022

hen professors say "drugs" without properly qualifying this monstrously "loaded" term, they are parroting drug-war propaganda, for what does "drugs" mean in modern parlance? It means the following:

Medicine for which there is no potential beneficial use: not now, not ever, not here, not there, not anywhere.

The fact is, of course, that no such substances exist in the real world. All substances have potential beneficial uses, including the deadly Botox itself. What you have above is, in fact, a political definition of "drugs" which is designed to justify America in its criminalization of almost every psychoactive godsend imaginable which a free people might have otherwise gratefully employed for the benefit of humans and humankind. The term "drugs" is no more a scientific term than the word "scabs": both terms not only denote a noun but they pass judgment on that noun in so doing.

It's no wonder that academics share the modern prejudice against such substances, because it helps them make their peace with the fact that many of these substances are off limits to scientific research by order of the federal government. So instead of loudly protesting this government censorship of scientists, the academic world adopts an attitude of sour grapes toward the whole topic of psychoactive medicine, saying in effect; "Oh, those are just 'drugs,' which have no beneficial uses, and so it's no big deal that we're not allowed to study them. To the contrary, we are glad to do our patriotic part in putting these substances beyond the pale of scientific discourse."

As a fan of the Great Courses (aka Wondrium), I have frequently winced when professors on subjects as diverse as logic and language theory uncritically use the word "drugs" in the political acceptation of that term. I won't name names here, but in one philosophy course, a professor was warning against jumping to unsupported conclusions based on the prejudices of the age in which one lives, only to illustrate that concern by parroting some Drug War lie about psychoactive substances, completely failing to realize that he himself was jumping to unsupported conclusions in the name of the Drug War ideology of substance demonization.

By politicizing the word "drugs" the government has blinded science to hundreds of prima facie cures for all sorts of modern issues, like depression, Alzheimer's and autism. For the substances that we demonize today under the pejorative catch-all of "drugs" have inspired entire religions in the past. How could these substances NOT have a strong prima facie potential of working wonders in the lives of troubled users, especially given the fact that some of these substances (the psychedelics in particular) have been shown to promote the growth of new neurons in the brain?

Unfortunately, the use of this term does not simply blind us to the existence of medical godsends, as if that weren't enough of a downside in itself. It also serves to enshrine reductive materialism as the one way of looking at the world, the one way of being in the world, as Heidegger would put it. After all, we have outlawed all medicines whose MO involves consciousness and feeling -- and so now science can placidly go on its way looking for "real" cures for problems like depression -- in other words, cures that involve chemical imbalances and other fantasies concocted by the Big Pharma PR departments.

This is why Forbes magazine could publish an article in 2021 with the absurd title "Can Laughing Gas help people with treatment-resistant depression?"

A depressed person would never be so ignorant as to ask such a question: of course it would help. The only reason that the question becomes problematic is because drug-war science ignores the obvious world of consciousness and feelings and focuses instead on reductionist causes that the sufferer can never directly see. And so the drug-warrior scientist doesn't care how much a depressed person is laughing when using nitrous oxide, nor how much that person's mood is elevated merely by the fact that they are LOOKING FORWARD to such use. Presumably, if the article's author, Dr. Robert Glatter, were to catch me laughing from Nitrous Oxide, he would tell me: "No, Brian, you are not REALLY happy. Stop using N20 until we can determine if it REALLY works."

To which I answer: "This is good enough for me. But by all means, Robert, please carry on with your attempt to count the number of angels that you can locate on a pinhead."

This is the kind of absurd world that one is supporting every time that they uncritically use the term "drugs."

This would be hilarious, could one breathe deeply enough to consider this dystopia from a Godly point of view for just a moment. But the fact is, this demonization of substances has a huge body count, and I'm not just talking about the fact that 797 blacks were killed in Chicago in 2021 alone due to drug-war violence, for even as we speak, entire Mexican cities are now no-go zones, thanks to the fact that America outlawed a substance that the Inca considered to be a God.

Seen in this light, the uncritical use of the word "drugs" is actually offensive, because it suggests that the speaker is a drug-war collaborator, someone who supports the drug-war ideology that is causing mayhem overseas and empowering stateside demagogues who now plan to execute the minorities that the previous generation of Drug Warrior would have been happy merely to incarcerate.

By Brian Quass, author of The Drug War Comic Book

Author's Follow-up: September 24, 2022

When W. Golden Mortimer was researching for her book on Coca (link below), she queried hundreds of academics to get their input on the topic. The vast majority did not reply, of course (since they know better than to stick their hands in the hornet nest of misunderstandings that is today's 'Drug War'), but many of those who did respond were indignant that Carol would dare even investigate this topic. They told her that they were convinced that the substances in question were evil and that it was therefore wrong to even write about them. They had swallowed the Drug War lie hook, line and sinker. For in reality, there are no substances that are bad in and of themselves, without regard for how they are used, or why or when. It's thinking like that which keeps children in hospices from experiencing relief from their pain with morphine, because many countries would prefer to have their kids suffer than to have them use a substance derived from a supposedly evil substance called opium. This is also why we merely "remove life support" for our dying parents, rather than letting them drift easily to sleep with morphine: because the war on drugs teaches us that it is better for our parents and kids to suffer horrendously rather than to give them godsend medicines that have inspired entire religions.

This is why the Drug War is so much worse than even its opponents give it credit for. Then, of course, there are the enormously bamboozled proponents of change who believe that the Drug War is a good idea that doesn't work. Au contraire: it is a horrendous and unscientific idea, which is anti-patient, anti-child, anti-the dying, etc. etc. It has deprived millions of Americans from godsend meds, like the coca leaf and MDMA, which could safely and non-addictively give folks the relief they need without making them wards of the healthcare state, meanwhile killing thousands of blacks each year in inner cities thanks to the violence that prohibition brings. A good idea that hasn't succeeded? Au contraire, it is a horrible idea which IS succeeding -- in propping up the liquor industry, in giving psychiatrists jobs for life, in swelling the coffers of Big Pharma, in stealing elections for conservatives by arresting minorities, and in giving America an excuse to intervene in South America at will. Why? So that we can crack down on a plant that the Peruvians considered divine, until the Spanish arrived, threw the Inca into chains, and tried to eradicate the plant from the face of the earth. (Sound familiar?)

Potter, Carol. "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas." January 01, 2017.

Author's Follow-up: October 4, 2022

Psst! Don't tell anyone but even crack cocaine can be used non-addictively. But that's something that the Drug Warriors do not want you to know, because for them, criminalized substances have to be entirely bad, without one redeeming quality. Instead of teaching "safe use," the Drug War lies about psychoactive substances, telling us (as in the DEA scheduling system) that drugs that have inspired entire religions somehow have no potential therapeutic uses whatsoever. That's impossible and a blatant anti-religious lie. But even if there were plant medicines that had no therapeutic uses, the government has no right under natural law to criminalize them, any more than the government has a right to criminalize water or sunshine or the air that we breathe.

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