Polemics against Prohibition Table of Contents
Robert A. Nelson
America has been fighting the so-called Drug War ever since President Nixon cursed the nation with his declaration in 1971. It has been to little avail, because the Drug War cannot be won. Instead, the institutionalized national psychosis known as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has turned the USA into a police state.
Intoxication is a basic drive in the animal world. It cannot be suppressed without generating psychotic consequences. The eminent psychopharmacologist Ronald K. Siegal, Jr. (UCLA) presented the case for natural drug use in his study of Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Paradise (1989):
"Recent ethological and laboratory studies with colonies of rodents and islands of primates, and analyses of social and biological history, suggest that the pursuit of intoxication with drugs is a primary motivational force in the behavior of organisms. Our nervous system, like those of rodents and primates, is arranged to respond to chemical intoxicants in much the same way it responds to rewards of food, drink, and sex. Throughout our entire history as a species, intoxication has functioned like the basic drives of hunger, thirst or sex, sometimes overshadowing all other activities in life. Intoxication is the fourth drive. We have become the most eager and reckless explorers of intoxication."
It behooves us to cultivate our abilities and realize our potential --- not necessarily without drugs, as prohibitionists would have it. However, that lesson cannot be learned by denying us freedom of choice. Our dysfunctional drug laws punish natural exploratory behavior and forbid us from testing our character in the mirror of psychedelic molecules. Prohibition is unconstitutional, and it is utterly ineffective. Illicit drugs are readily available to almost anyone who wants them, especially among youths, and even in prison, where guards are dealers.
Laws against drugs are predicated on the false assumption that all drug use is harmful. Actually, few drugs are truly addictive when used in moderation, and most people simply will not allow themselves to become addicted. Instead, they use other forms of compulsive behavior (religion, sex, love, politics, money, work, sports, TV, gambling, etc.) to produce altered states of consciousness; some claim to be happy.
Prohibitionists take the process several steps farther; they get their kicks by trampling on the rights of others. Indeed, as the British M.P. Walter Elliot observed in 1920, Americans are “the barbarians of the West” because of their “extraordinary savage idea of stamping out all people who happen to disagree... with their social theories” about alcohol and other intoxicants.
People use and abuse any and all substances in their search for reality or fantasy. Most societies and individuals choose their poisons (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, coffee, cocaine, opium, Prozac, etc.) for arbitrary moral or traditional reasons. Thus they determine what is a “good”, “bad”, legal or illicit drug. Otherwise, as Dr. Andrew Weil put it, “There are no good or bad drugs; there are only good or bad relationships with drugs.”
The distinctions between legal and illicit drugs are purely ritualistic, magical attributes with little or no basis in pharmacology. Religionists fear magic and drugs, so they cannot be realistic about the issue, especially since they are blind to the facts. There's just no arguing with taste. Indeed, as Fred Nietzsche observed, “Alcohol and Christianity are the two great European narcotics.” Karl Marx expressed the same general idea in a similar pertinent aphorism: “Religion is the opium of the people.”
The entire sad spectacle of the Drug War is mere superstitious scapegoating. The scapegoat is a sacrificial victim (animal or human), heaped upon with the sins and other failures of the people. The wretched creature is banned into the wilderness, or condemned to death. In ancient Greece, the sacrificial human was called pharmakoi (remedy), from which are derived the terms pharmacology, pharmacy, etc. The Greeks abandoned the practice circa 600 BC, after which pharmakoi assumed its modern meaning.
Today, we exercise the custom of pharmakoi in the form of draconian laws by which drug users and dealers are ostracized or quarantined as if they were diseased. Through the skillful abuse of language, prohibition propagandists portray drugs as a virus; no one is immune to the plague of pleasure and self-destruction, and there is no cure.
Fortunately, education is a powerful prophylactic against such quackery. Plato warned that, "Complacent ignorance is the most lethal sickness of the soul". Truly, knowledge is the only therapy for the deadly stupidity caused by anti-drug propaganda. With knowledge and self-control we can meet the challenge and carefully explore the dimensions revealed by psychoactive substances.
Thomas Jefferson and Dr. Benjamin Rush (who was George Washington’s personal physician and a signer of the Declaration of Independence) both foresaw that the federal government might someday attempt to control medicine. Dr. Rushgave gave this diagnosis:
"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an underground dictatorship... To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic and have no place in a republic... The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom."
Thomas Jefferson offered a second opinion:
"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny."
The foresight of Jefferson and Rush has proven true, and the problem appears to be terminally cancerous. Medical tyranny pervades modern society in such various forms as national health care programs, the FDA and DEA, and the heinous Drug War.
Prohibition is a complete failure. The Drug War actually is controlled chaos, serving the interests of an "underground dictatorship" while it forbids us from the pursuit of happiness --- particularly in the form of Cannabis.
The federal government of the USA uses the phony Drug War as its primary excuse for "necessary" abridgements of our rights. It has abandoned the Constitution and surrendered to the Communist model of suppression by imposing pre-trial detention without bail, mandatory minimum prison sentences, and capitol punishment for drug crimes, plus increased fines, forfeitures and asset seizures, "good faith" exceptions to the exclusionary rule, and other aberrant violations of justice. Stoned military forces are used to enforce civilian law and to interdict suspected smugglers at sea and in the air. Intelligence agencies smuggle huge quantities of cocaine and heroin from Asia and South America into the USA, and operate clandestine laboratories to finance their crimes. Entire governments have been toppled by cocaine (Bolivia, Panama, Bahamas, etc.). Civilians are required to submit to unreliable drug tests to gain employment. Obnoxious currency controls supposedly prevent the laundering of drug money, and so on. In short, America has become a police state because of its insane drug laws and cowardly citizens. Perhaps we have gotten the government we deserve. Certainly we have proven that "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free (Goethe).
The Drug War is perpetuated by totalitarians for no other true reason than their lust for power. Human rights and truth are irrelevant to them. Instead, their propaganda has generated an unwarranted fear of drugs that terrorizes hundreds of millions of ignorant people. Consequently, most Americans have surrendered their divine rights to an unaccountable government. This fraud is nothing new, as William Pitt observed in a speech before the British House of Commons (1783):
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
Thomas Jefferson wrote and said that, "No self-respecting person would ever want to control another one".
Given that is true, then our pathetic government is suffering from extremely low self-esteem. America is supposed to be a government of, for and by the people, but we have failed completely in our duty to defend freedom, our rights, and ourselves from the prohibitionist traitors among us. We have sold ourselves into slavery "down the river".
The Drug War is a coup d’etat. The Drug War is not being fought against molecules; it is against liberty. The Drug War is conquering America law by law, right by right, until nothing will remain but to fight the Second Civil War foreseen by George Washington and several other American prophets. The Drug War is a fraud that has cost Americans their civil rights, over 250 billion tax dollars, and at least 100 million man-years spent in prisons, in futile, corrupt law enforcement, and other associated costs including countless deaths at home, in the streets, and abroad.
The real issue is Freedom. Our fear was spawned by self-deceit; now it lies exposed in the light of truth. Now, as Albert Camus put it, "Let us rejoice as men because a prolonged hoax has collapsed and we see clearly what threatens us".
Fred Nietzsche wrote in Ecce Homo, "When one wants to get rid of an insupportable pressure, one needs hashish". Today, that "insupportable pressure" is the federal government of the USA. We live in unmanly fear of our government. We have been rendered dumb and stupid by an open conspiracy that suckles on us like a vampire, eats our children, and aborts our birthrights.
Roger Q. Mills made a speech against prohibition in 1887, including the following passionate passage, which was quoted again and again during the debate in Congress (December 1918):
"Prohibition was introduced as a fraud; it has been nursed as a fraud. It is wrapped in the livery of Heaven, but it comes to serve the devil. It comes to regulate by law our appetites and our daily lives. It comes to tear down liberty and build up fanaticism, hypocrisy, and intolerance. It comes to confiscate by legislative decree the property of many of our fellow citizens. It comes to send spies, detectives, and informers into our homes; to have us arrested and carried before courts and condemned to fines and imprisonments. It comes to dissipate the sunlight of happiness, peace, and prosperity in which we are now living and to fill our land with alienations, estrangements, and bitterness. It comes to bring us evil --- only evil --- and that continually. Let us rise in our might as one and overwhelm it with such indignation that we shall never hear of it again as long as grass grows and water runs."
Abraham Lincoln is attributed with this statement (8 December 1840):
"Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."
President Lincoln also offered this sage opinion:"These rights are inherent and inalienable, that they can never be surrendered or alienated, but by idiots or madmen, and all the acts of idiots and lunatics are void, and not obligatory, by all the laws of God and man..."
Samuel Adams asserted the truth of the matter in no uncertain terms: "If men, through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave."
Benjamin Franklin wrote likewise in 1755: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
There are several legal precedent that support the many Americans who refuse to obey drug laws. The decision in Maybury vs. Madison (1803) is clear enough: "All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void."
According to 16 Am Jur 2d Sec 177 & 178, the general rule is:
"An unconstitutional statute, having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholy void and ineffective for any purpose. It imposes no duty, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection and justifies no acts performed under it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional statute and no courts are bound to enforce it... If any person acts under an unconstitutional statute, he does so at his peril and must take the consequences."
If all else fails, we the people retain the right to revolution as reserved in the Bill of Rights (Articles 9 and 10 implicitly) and as Abe Lincoln reminded us:
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right to dismember or overthrow it."
Cannabis must be made legal. This is the first step toward the only viable, conservative and constitutional resolution of the drug problem: legalize all drugs (with regulatory control of quality, dosage, etc.). Thus, Cannabis hemp could very well "save" the nation and the world in this crisis.
Cannabis does not need to be controlled, but only to be regulated and cultivated for all the values of its fiber, seeds and resin. Yet, instead of enjoying the benefits of Cannabis, we suffer for tiny Pyrrhic victories in a perpetual civil war. We have been convinced by propaganda to repudiate the principles of freedom upon which our former rights were founded.
Shame on the craven Americans who fail themselves and the Bill of Rights! Damn the fanatic prohibitionists who deny Cannabis! Assassinate the treasonous politicians who cater to such bigots with their demagoguery, false arguments, and cruel laws! Hang (with a hemp rope) the corrupt judges and prosecutors who enforce those evil laws! Those despots have robbed us of our liberty to pay for a bankrupt state of mere privilege that threatens all life on Earth. They have betrayed the past, the present, and the future, life and love, God, and the Constitution.
The continued suppression of Cannabis only aggravates a grave injury to society that probably will not be healed by legalization in time to prevent disaster from other quarters. God forbid that this burning issue should become the funeral pyre of freedom! Hemp is sure to survive and thrive, whether it is in the victory gardens or in the ruins of the USA.
The fiber of Cannabis, the "True Hemp", is tightly woven into the tapestry of human life. Since earliest times, this great plant ally has provided people with cordage and fabric, paper, medicine, and inspiration. For all the many benefits it bestows, Cannabis hemp is a friendship well worth cultivating. Hemp is many things to many people, and it is known by hundreds of names. Poets and musicians sing its praises, and preachers damn it. Executioners hang condemned men with hemp rope, but sailors and mountaineers hang onto it for dear life. Doctors prescribe it as a versatile medicine, yet prohibitionists proscribe it as a poison. Armies and navies make war with hemp, while lovers use it as an aphrodisiac. It is the warp of the mind’s veil of illusion, and the woof of politicians, who "lead us in the manner dogs lead a parade" (Mark Twain). The resinous virtue generates real happiness, enlightenment and entertainment, equal in quality and worth to the similar joys of love, freedom and good health --- and it complements them all, and comforts those poor souls who are without such blessings. Hemp is a most interesting and paradoxical plant, one that defies control and begs understanding. Hemp is one of mankind’s best (and few) friends on Earth, yet it is held prisoner within its own cells, bound in a Gordian Knot of bad laws. Yet again, it is Ariadne’s Thread, a guideline out of the labyrinth of bureaucratic tyranny and into a new state of liberty and grace. We should be thankful for Cannabis.
James Allen expressed the sentiment most passionately in his novel, The Reign of Law (1900):
" O Mystery immortal! which is in the hemp and in our souls, in its bloom and in our passions, by which our poor brief lives are led upward out of the earth for a season, then cut down, rotted, and broken --- for Thy long service."