Essay date: January 27, 2023

Why the Drug War is even worse than Doug Bandow thinks it is

In response to the article in Scribd entitled "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs," by Doug Bandow.

Dear Mr. Bandow:

Thanks for the excellent article on drugs. With respect, however, you overlooked a number of the most important victims of the Drug War. The Drug War is a war on the depressed, it is a war on religion, it is a war on scientific freedom, etc. Here are some details:

1) By outlawing "drugs," we commit millions of the depressed and anxious around the globe to unnecessary lives of misery.

2) By outlawing "drugs," we shunt the chronically depressed off onto highly addictive Big Pharma meds, that they must take every day of their life, some of them (like Effexor) more addictive than heroin (source: NIH) In fact, 1 in 4 American women take Big Pharma meds every day of their life (source: Julie Holland), drugs that I can tell you from personal experience tranquilize rather than inspire -- a fact that makes illegal drug use the SANE choice, not an aberration.

3) By outlawing "drugs," we outlaw religions. The UDV had to fight the DEA all the way to the Supreme Court to use ayahuasca in its rituals -- and the DEA is still going after religions that are trying to use the drug (or rather drug mixture). Even as I write, the DEA is trying to stop a church in Florida from using ayahuasca.

I have placed "drugs" in quotation marks, because in Drug War Newspeak, the term has come to mean: "substances of which pharmacologically clueless politicians disapprove, which we should NEVER take," as distinguished from "meds," which we're told we should REMEMBER to take, preferably every day of our lives.

You quote Milton Friedman as saying that "men of good will" may disagree about drug legalization. This only proves that Milton Friedman did not understand the insidious nature of prohibition. He probably thought that prohibition just keeps some hedonists from enjoying their poison of choice. What it actually does is ban not just entire religions, but the very religious impulse itself! The Vedic religion was inspired by soma, a psychedelic drug -- so there would be no modern Hinduism if the DEA had been active in the Indus Valley in 1500 BC. Plato got his view of the afterlife from drinking the psychedelic kykeon at Eleusis. And the philosophy of William James was deeply influenced by his use of laughing gas, which taught him that "there are more things in heaven and earth" than were dreamt of in his philosophy.

But the Drug War says no to such researches. It says no to medical research. Why? Because of the Drug War ideology which falsely tells us that criminalized substances can have no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, in any dose. But the fact is there are no substances of that kind -- and to say so is to give up on science. Even cyanide has positive uses.

The Drug Warriors have us all arguing on the back foot, because they have been demonizing drugs for 100 years now, teaching us to fear them rather than to understand them. This propaganda has been accomplished mainly, first by indoctrinating children in Christian Science ideology toward drugs and second, by keeping the media and academia from ever talking about any POSITIVE USES OF DRUGS. They have thereby censored science -- because almost every modern treatise on psychology and mind completely ignores the fact that we have outlawed all the medicines that could give us something to say on those topics.

Friedman is dead wrong. The problems with the Drug War are manifold. As a chronic depressive, I take this personally, because the Drug Warrior has made me go my entire life now without godsend meds for depression. So, no, I do not consider Drug Warriors to be people of good will -- I consider them to be brainwashed at best -- and brainwashers at worst.

You might have also mentioned how the Drug War overthrows natural law, for John Locke told us that we have a right to the use of the land and all that lies therein. Yet Reagan sent the DEA stomping onto Monticello in 1987 to confiscate the founding father's poppy plants. This is not, to me, a topic upon which reasonable people can disagree, this is simple injustice and the overthrow of freedoms that had been painfully prised from despots over centuries.

Finally, you do not sufficiently point out that drugs can be used for GOOD! MDMA brought peace, love and understanding to the British dance floor in the '90s. That's one of the outcomes of drug use that the Drug Warrior never discusses. Instead, they cracked down on Ecstasy -- with the result that concert goers became drunk and violent and organizers had to hire special forces troops to police concert venues (see the documentary "One Nation" by concert promoter Terry "Turbo" Smith).

January 28, 2023
Brian refers to Bandow's work as an 'article,' but it is actually a lengthy and highly annotated paper. So when Bandow fails to mention things like the Drug War's censorship of scientists or its affect on the depressed, it is apparently not an oversight. He has just not thought of these matters, perhaps because he has been convinced by a lifetime of Drug War propaganda that "drugs" really do have no positive uses and so the best we can do is support the individual's right to self-harm. This, of course, is an exaggeration of his nuanced viewpoint, yet it does catch the general tenor of his observations, so far are they from highlighting the many positive uses (both potential and historical) of so-called "drugs." Like most libertarians, he resents government interference in private lives, yet seems to assume that if such interference WERE permissible, then "drugs" would be one of the first things that government would indeed be obliged to "crack down on."

Next essay: How Milton Friedman Completely Misunderstood the War on Drugs
Previous essay: William James rolls over in his grave as England bans Laughing Gas

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How the Cato Institute is Bamboozled by Drug War Propaganda
How Milton Friedman Completely Misunderstood the War on Drugs

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old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at 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.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

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)
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