The Drug War is FAR WORSE than a failure. It is the politically inspired demonization of godsend plant medicines that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia. Benjamin Franklin loved opium, as did Marcus Aurelius and Marco Polo. Sigmund Freud thought cocaine was a godsend for his depression. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and Plutarch were all influenced by the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries. Tribes in MesoAmerica have used psychoactive plants in religious ceremonies for millennia, until they were decimated by the west. The entire Vedic religion was founded to worship a plant medicine called soma.
With this politically incorrect backstory in mind, we can see that the Drug War is actually the enforcement of a religion: the religion of Christian Science, according to which a human being "should" have no need for drugs and should rely instead on the Christian religion for solace and peace of mind. That is, in fact, a religion, however, not a legitimate social policy for a supposedly democratic government.
It is also a violation of Natural Law for a government to tell its citizens that it can't reach down and use the plants that grow at their very feet. Jefferson founded America on Natural Law, after all, following in the footsteps of John Locke who wrote that human beings have a natural right to the use of the Earth "and all that lies therein." That's why Jefferson was rolling in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants. Unfortunately, Americans were so bamboozled by Drug Warrior censorship and lies at the time (especially the highly mendacious "frying pan" ad) that no one noticed that the invasion in question constituted a coup against the Natural Law upon which Jefferson had founded America.
Nor was the Drug War begun to combat a health crisis, but rather to disfranchise the political enemies of the Drug Warriors. The Drug War, in fact, merely took the place of the discredited poll tax in attempting to marginalize unpopular minorities. Harry Anslinger hounded black singer Billie Holiday to her death, not to prevent her from using heroin but to keep her from singing songs like "Strange Fruit," which was making white America uncomfortable in the 1930s. Richard Nixon created drug laws for the sole purpose of removing his enemies from the voting rolls. That's why his own "Drug War" treated "drug" possession as a felony, since a felony conviction would result in the disfranchisement of the guilty party.
If we must have a Drug War, let's crack down on alcohol and tobacco and punish and threaten anyone who has so much as a TRACE of these substances in their digestive systems. Bar them from work and hunt them down.
Then we'd lock up all the HYPOCRITICAL Drug Warriors and start to educate people to benefit from plant medicine and use it in the safest way possible, rather than to superstitiously demonize it and make it the scapegoat for all social problems. For if the Drug Warrior really wanted Americans to make good decisions, they would ensure that every American had a first-class education, rather than spending all their rhetoric and money on locking up the millions whom those same politicians have failed to properly educate in the first place.
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