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Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War

an open letter to the UHMM in Washington, DC

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

September 9, 2020

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.

Sincerely Yours,
Ballard Quass

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!!!

The Runner: Racist Drug War Agitprop

The Links Police

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!!!

Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
The Runner: Racist Drug War Agitprop
Time to ACT UP about the racist drug war
Twelve Signs of Early Fascism

Next essay: How Logic-Challenged Journalists Support the Drug War
Previous essay: The Great Philosophical Problem of Our Time

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

The DEA outlawed MDMA in 1985, thereby depriving soldiers of a godsend treatment for PTSD. Apparently, the DEA staff slept well at night in the early 2000s as American soldiers were having their lives destroyed by IEDs.
This is why the foes of suicide are doing absolutely nothing to get laughing gas into the hands of those who could benefit from it. Laughing is subjective after all. In the western tradition, we need a "REAL" cure to depression.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
Check out the 2021 article in Forbes in which a materialist doctor professes to doubt whether laughing gas could help the depressed. Materialists are committed to seeing the world from the POV of Spock from Star Trek.
What prohibitionists forget is that every popular but dangerous activity, from horseback riding to drug use, will have its victims. You cannot save everybody, and when you try to do so by law, you kill far more than you save, meanwhile destroying democracy in the process.
This is the "Oprah fallacy," which has led to so much suffering. She told women they were fools if they accepted a drink from a man. That's crazy. If we are terrified by such a statistically improbable event, we should be absolutely horrified by horses and skateboards.
Science knows nothing of the human spirit and of the hopes and dreams of humankind. Science cannot tell us whether a given drug risk is worthwhile given the human need for creativity and passion in their life. Science has no expertise in making such philosophical judgements.
In "The Book of the Damned," Charles Fort shows how science damns (i.e. excludes) facts that it cannot assimilate into a system of knowledge. Fort could never have guessed, however, how thoroughly science would eventually "damn" all positive facts about "drugs."
The most addictive drugs have a bunch of great uses, like treating pain and inspiring great literature. Prohibition causes addiction by making their use as problematic as possible and denying knowledge and choices. It's always wrong to blame drugs.
When scientists refuse to report positive uses for drugs, they are not motivated by power lust, they are motivated by philosophical (non-empirical) notions about what counts as "the good life." This is why it's wrong to say that the drug war is JUST about power.
More Tweets

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Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
Critique of the Philosophy of Happiness
Heroin versus Alcohol
End the Drug War Now
How the Drug War Screws the Depressed
How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987
How to Unite Drug War Opponents of all Ethnicities
Ignorance is the enemy, not Fentanyl
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Predictive Policing in the Age of the Drug War
Speaking Truth to Big Pharma
Teenagers and Cannabis
Teenagers and Cannabis
Psychedelics and Depression
The Drug War and Armageddon
The Invisible Mass Shootings
The problem with Modern Drug Reform Efforts
The Menace of the Drug War
The Mother of all Western Biases
Top 10 Problems with the Drug War
Why CBS 19 should stop supporting the Drug War
Why DARE should stop telling kids to say no
Why the Drug War is Worse than you can Imagine
The Drug War Cure for Covid
Another Cry in the Wilderness
Open Letter to Vincent Hurley, Lecturer
Canadian Drug Warrior, I said Get Away
Open Letter to Margo Margaritoff
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How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment

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 Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War: an open letter to the UHMM in Washington, DC, published on September 9, 2020 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)