Terence McKenna's "Modest Proposal"
Regarding America's Drug Problems

In the numerous "Decriminalize Drugs" debates which have occurred over the last decade or so there are always people who point out all the many reasons why the "War on Drugs" is, from the point of view of a rational and ethically-aware person, totally insane and immoral. These reasons even get reported in the mainstream media, e.g., War on drugs: Campaigning countess winning support to change world laws. Despite some encouraging signs that cannabis prohibition is breaking down (e.g., the people in two U.S. states recently voted to decriminalize cannabis use) there has been very little progress. Why?

Some people believe that the so-called "War on Drugs", maintained now for over forty years by the U.S. government, is based upon a desire by governments to "protect" people from the "dangers" of (some) drugs (but notably not alcohol and nicotine, which kill more people than all other drugs combined). This is ridiculous, and the people who believe this are at best uninformed and naïve. Fact is, the "War on Drugs" is mostly about money — and lots of it. This has been well-known for many years by anyone who cares to study this matter.

For example, in 2008 Prof. David Nutt was appointed chairman of the UK Governmentís Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. He published an editorial in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2009 pointing out that using the drug ecstasy (MDMA) was no more dangerous than horse-riding. As a result of this and other comments comparing the harm caused by legal and illegal drugs, he was sacked by the then UK Home Secretary. (See his book Drugs.) This illustrates the fact that most Western governments, in their determination to maintain the criminal status of illegal drug use, continue to ignore the scientific data showing that illegal drugs cause much less harm than legal drugs and legal activities such as many sports.

In a response to a question about the "War on Drugs", asked at the end of a talk he gave called "Eros & Eschaton" Terence McKenna said:
The reason drugs are illegal and suppressed, and blah blah, is because you can make a shitload of money off them in that context. Itís a money issue. Do you think a loving government is trying to keep you from jumping out of third-floor windows and thatís why LSD is illegal?! ... [The U.S.] government is not interested in your health. The government is artificially interested in inflating the prices of certain substances in order to create a focus for clandestine money that is used then to destabilise unfriendly governments, murder labour union leaders, kill and blackmail the editors of left-wing newspapers, so forth and so on.

The remainder of this article is available on the CD-ROM.

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