Antonio Escohotado on the "War on Drugs"
The crusade against drugs, in fact a war against self-induced euphoria, is an enterprise born in the U.S.A. and exported by this country in the very same way in which it became the world's superpower. The effect of this American crusade is identical to the effect of crusades in general, and especially to the crusade against witchcraft, that is, aggravating to unheard-of extremes a hypothetical evil to justify the destruction and plundering of countless persons, the ill-gotten wealth of corrupt inquisitors, and a prosperous black market in all the forbidden items, which in the 17th Century were sorcerors' concoctions, and today are heroin and crack. We will not break the crusade's vicious circle unless the standards of barbaric obscurantism are replaced by principles of enlightenment focused on the spreading of knowledge among people.
Drugs have always been around and they will certainly ever remain. To pretend that both users and non-users will be better protected because some drugs are impure and very expensive and sold by criminals, who by the way are indistinguishable from undercover policeman and plain businessmen, is simply ridiculous. And yet more so when the street supply grows year after year. The obvious result is a growing output of crimes committed by illiterate youngsters, who use the illicit substances, partly as an adult initiation rite and partly as an alibi: declaring oneself irresponsible, unfree, a victim a very comfortable position by the way at such a critical moment of life when they should learn responsibility and the abnegation practiced by their elders.
So the true option is not vice as opposed to law and order, the real choice is between irrational consumption of adulterated products or an informed use of pure drugs. Demonizing them has only made us more helpless, more cruel towards our fellows, and more "idiotic" in the original sense of the word, for "idiotes" in classical Greek means a person who blindly delegates the things of his own to the public care of others. Not only our well-being, but the well-being of our sons and grandsons depends on disseminating patterns of "sobriae ebrietas" (sober inebriation), which reconsider the use of psychedelic drugs as a moral and aesthetic challenge, essentially related to the adventures of knowledge, and as palliatives for difficult parts of our lives, and for very bitter lives. In other words, we should dignify what is now being debased in order to cope with the generalized delusion and abuse created by the prohibitionist experiment.
— The conclusion of Spanish philosopher Antonio Escohotado's
"Inebriation as Experience of the Spirit" (1996),
quoted by Scott J. Thompson in From 'Rausch' to Rebellion.
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