n the age of the opium-smoking Marco Polo, there were no such things as drugs in the evil sense in which we use the word today. "Drugs" just referred to all body-affecting substances, from sugar to opium. A Reddit on drugs could not have existed at that time, not just because the Internet did not exist, but because the topic of "drugs" would have been far too broad and open-ended to foster a meaningful discussion.
The only reason we have a "drugs" Reddit today is because racist American politicians began redefining the word "drugs" in 1914 to mean "evil psychoactive substances," this despite the fact that the substances in question have been used responsibly for millennia by other cultures and even inspired entire religions. The Vedic religion was inspired by soma. Plato got his views of the afterlife from the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries. And Mesoamerican religions developed entire cosmogonies based around their use of the coca plant and so-called "magic mushrooms." But the history-challenged Drug Warriors censored all such factoids, and encouraged us to do the same.
And we have done so. We have fallen for their demonization campaign, accepted their politically strategic redefinition of the word "drugs," and created popular Reddits like this one to discuss the topic of "drugs" from the unscientific and fearmongering point of view of our racist forebears.
And what was the political purpose behind the Drug Warrior's redefinition of the term "drugs" as a pejorative epithet? It was to punish and marginalize those minorities of whom the beer-swilling and tobacco-smoking Drug Warriors disapproved and to create a conservative Christian society ruled by militarized police forces.
And that strategy worked beyond their wildest dreams, as the Drug War soon became America's number-one export, as country after country gladly followed suit in outlawing godsend plant medicine. And that's not surprising, really. If the one country based on natural rights says that the citizen no longer has a right to the bounty of Mother Nature's pharmacy, then we cannot expect less-enlightened countries to stand up for such rights, especially since it's hard for any government to pass up a chance to monitor their own citizens more closely.
If anyone's searching for proof of the Drug War's hideous impact on democracy, they have only to look at the election of Donald Trump.
In 2016, there were more than five million Americans who had lost the right to vote, most of them minorities and most because of so-called drug offenses. Russian interference may have helped push Trump over the top, but the real reason for his election was the sidelining of millions of voters thanks to the Drug War, which was implemented for that very purpose: to sideline minority voters and empower law-and-order conservatives. And now this same Trump is running again, this time on a platform of executing those minorities whom his drug-warrior predecessors were content with merely disenfranchising.
That's why I'm looking forward to a day when the Drugs Reddit disappears, when the world stops demonizing psychoactive substances in lockstep with our racist forebears, and the word "drugs" once again becomes a neutral judgment-free term embracing all substances from sugar to opium, a world in which we stop demonizing substances for political purposes and start learning about them instead, with a view toward developing novel therapies and safe use guidelines for all time-honored plant medicines.
Editor's Note (Nov. 2021): Of course I was banned from the Drugs Reddit shortly after posting these comments. But that only shows you that I'm on the right track. I'd be suspicious if I wasn't banned, considering the fact that most westerners have been taught from grade school to despise plant-based psychoactive medicine, to call it "junk" and "dope," and to "just say no to mother nature's godsend medicines!" Why should the moderators at the Drugs Reddit be an exception to the rule? They've been taught since kindergarten to tilt at the politically created windmill of "drugs" and I expect to have no more success in changing their minds than the curate had in getting Don Quixote to stand down in his battle against his own imaginary foes.
Just be thankful that I'm not paranoid, because then I would also suspect the moderators of purposefully promoting the fearmongering status quo viz. drugs in order to curry favor with Big Pharma, from whom they (the moderators) might even be taking kickbacks!
But I suppose that the principle of Occam's Razor obliges me to assume that the Drugs Reddit moderators are merely dupes of the Drug War ideology like almost everybody else these days, thoroughly bamboozled westerners who, having been successfully brainwashed in the Cult of the Drug War with its lies (about plant medicine frying brains, etc.), now hold inanimate substances responsible for all the evils of the world.
Author's Follow-up: October 3, 2022
In a way, though, the Drug War makes Reddit "drug" groups inevitable, because by outlawing all of mother nature's godsend psychoactive medicines, the Drug War creates problems to talk about in Reddit groups. Without the Drug War, in a land where Mother Nature was free and pharma-savvy shaman were free to use them strategically on behalf of clients, addiction would not exist, or else would be embraced in cases where it fit a person's lifestyle, as coca fit the lifestyle of HG Wells, opium fit the lifestyle of Benjamin Franklin, and coffee and beer fit the lifestyles of modern drug-war Americans.
When fully armed with Mother Nature's vast array of psychoactive medicine, a creative shaman (who is both pharmacologically and socioculturally savvy) could help a client "get off" any drug whatsoever, without making it the great moral struggle which the modern 'addiction expert' expects it to become. For the shaman's goal would be different than that of the modern 'addiction therapist,' who seeks the Christian Science outcome of making the patient 'sober' as that term is hypocritically defined by Drug Warriors. The shaman's goal would be to give the 'client' what THEY want in life, whether it be self-transcendence or merely the ability to stand up in front of a crowd without 'choking.' He would fight conditions like depression in ways that the Drug War could never even imagine, with a multitude of therapies that become obvious to us once we stop demonizing psychoactive medicine. He might have the depressive drop by for weekly DMT sessions, using cocaine the next week, opium the next week and so on, according to a schedule that will not addict the client but merely give them something positive to look forward to, which is the best way to beat any depression. Meanwhile, the patient's weekday life could be emotionally, spiritually and vocationally enhanced by the daily chewing of the coca leaf, a benign custom that bound the Peruvian Indian culture of happy camaraderie together for millennia, in the same way that coffee unites the westerner in their culture of grim competition.
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
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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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war 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.
PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
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
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press