bird icon for twitter

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

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

January 27, 2023

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

More Essays Here

William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

essays about

Libertarians as Closet Christian Scientists
How the Cato Institute is Bamboozled by Drug War Propaganda
How Milton Friedman Completely Misunderstood the War on Drugs

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, Why the Drug War is even worse than Doug Bandow thinks it is published on January 27, 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)