Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
an open letter to the UHMM in Washington, DC
ear US Holocaust Memorial Museum:
I am writing today to encourage the Holocaust museum to take a stand against America's Drug War. Why? Because thanks to that war's anti-scientific effort to demonize psychoactive plant medicines, Americans have now gotten in the habit of referring to "drug dealers" as scumbags and vermin - scumbags and vermin because they dare to sell plant medicines of which our politicians disapprove. This hyperbolical language of the Drug War is chillingly reminiscent of the Nazi's characterization of Jews and, like that demonization, is based on lies, propaganda and half-truths. It is therefore, I believe, incumbent upon your institution to sound the alarm about this hysterical demonization and urge sensible Americans to cease and desist, especially since this atmosphere of demonization has now given Donald Trump the "moral cover" to call for the execution of said "dealers," revealing yet another insidious way in which the Drug War resembles the Nazi war on Jews. Trump, after all, seems to be advocating a "final solution" to deal with those Americans who dare to sell plant medicines of which politicians disapprove.
For those who would like further proof of this pernicious American mindset, we have only to watch those "Drug War" movies in which the heroes are DEA agents who cynically ignore the US Constitution in order to wipe out vermin drug dealers. In the 2019 movie "Running with the Devil," for instance, a DEA agent played by Leslie Bibb (the apparent "good guy" of the movie) tortures one drug suspect (hanging him from a meat hook in his speedos) and shoots another one in cold blood at point-blank range. Why? Because she's frustrated by her longstanding inability to quash the use of naturally occurring substances: she therefore concludes that the time has come to just plain start shooting the offenders without so much as a trial (this despite the fact that she herself is constantly puffing on a drug that kills far more than the substance that she's attempting to outlaw). Natalie's hypocritical fury reminds me of the frustration shown by Glenn Close's character in the TV movie "Four Good Days" (also from 2019) when she sees a young drug dealer and says, "That guy should be shot," and then rushes inside to calm down with a hastily gulped glass of wine. Such is the hysteria fanned by the Drug War that those who behave in this way are our new American heroes.
Millions of decent Americans will gladly say "Never again" in thinking of the Holocaust, but they forget that the road to evil begins with the unthinking demonization of "the other," and that is exactly what Drug War propaganda is all about: the unprecedented demonization of those who sell mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines. This despite the fact that Benjamin Franklin and Marcus Aurelius used opium to increase their creativity and affability. HG Wells and Jules Verne used the coca plant to write better stories. Francis Crick used psychedelics to think outside the box and thus envisioned the DNA helix. The psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian Mysteries inspired Plato's theory of the afterlife. If such "drugs" do fry the brain, as those highly mendacious Drug War ads have suggested, it is only because the Drug War has made it impossible for the user to be sure of obtaining a safe product. Of course, Reagan's DEA didn't help matters when it sprayed marijuana plants with Paraquat in the 1980s, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease, but which was already a known toxin at the time it was employed by DEA Chief John C. Lawn, who thus essentially used chemical weapons "against his own people."
Pardon my prolixity, but we can only understand the modern habit of demonizing drug dealers by examining the Drug War lies and propaganda that have inspired that demonization.
Conclusion: The Drug War must end because its hypocritical and politically motivated ideology leads to the demonization of certain Americans, especially minorities, as subhuman - leading, of course, to the biggest prison population in American history, composed mainly of minorities, minorities whom Trump is no longer satisfied with simply vilifying and imprisoning and removing from the voting rolls: now he wants to execute them as well.
I hope I have motivated you to denounce the Drug War practice of encouraging Americans to speak of their fellows as scumbags and vermin, simply because they choose to sell plant medicines of which politicians disapprove. Indeed, I hope I have motivated you to denounce the Drug War, period, full stop. Surely a scientific country needs a Drug Education Agency, not a Drug Enforcement Agency. For the current system is pure evil, and the proof is everywhere you look: in the civil wars in South America, the inner-city shooting fatalities (almost 800 in 2021 in Chicago alone), the government censorship of scientists when it comes to researching plants and fungi, and the extrajudicial removal of Americans from the nation's workforce by drug testing, not because they were impaired but merely because their urine revealed mere traces of those plant medicines of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove -- plant medicines that have been the inspiration for entire religions in non-western cultures.
June 13, 2022
PS The Drug War was responsible for almost 800 deaths in Chicago alone in 2021, due to the gun violence that substance prohibition has created out of whole cloth. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
Author's Follow-up: September 24, 2022
Well, it's been over two years since I gave the Holocaust Museum the heads-up about the Nazification of sentiment produced by the Drug War and they have not yet QUITE seen fit to respond to my concerns. Well, we'll give them a few more years before we start to worry. Meanwhile, for those of you who need more proof that the Drug War is Nazifying our attitudes toward our fellow humans, consider the recent movie "The Runner," in which a black teenager is dismissed by a white detective as "a scumbag, not worth another thought." Why? Because he was selling medicine from a plant that the Inca considered to be a divinity. The detective (aptly named Detective Wall, since he's clearly impervious to common sense and common compassion) expresses the wish that the teenager get 20 years at minimum in a federal pen.
SPOILER ALERT: The black kid does not get thrown in the pen, but that's only because his chest is riddled with bullets in a criminally irresponsible DEA raid on a teenage drinking party. I know what you're thinking, Detective Wall was fired for that atrocious outcome, right? Wrong. You see, in the hail of gunfire, the feds also managed to kill the Latino mastermind of the botanical-selling operation, so Detective Wall receives a special award for his efforts, which he humbly accepts with the proviso that he's just happy to do his job: which, based on the film, is nothing less than killing minorities and keeping human beings from using natural medicines that have inspired entire religions.
Author's Follow-up: October 1, 2022
What? You've read this far and you're still not sure why the Holocaust Museum should denounce the Drug War? Check out the anti-American message of the 2021 movie "The Runner," in which an unarmed black teenager is riddled with SWAT-team bullets at a high-school party -- and 'Detective Wall' gets an award for the raid!!!
All right, buddy, do you know why I stopped you? That's right, because the Drug War gives me carte blanche to be a noxious busybody. But I also thought you might be interested in the following additional essays touching on fascism -- and also the need for the Holocaust Museum to speak out against the same -- at long last, be it said!!!
No Drug War Keychains The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)
Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.
The Drug War Censors Science Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.
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.
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