The War on Drugs Must Be Resisted (Eventually We Will Overcome)
I would like to start out with a link to a Report from the Front Lines of President
Obama’s Uncle Tom’s so-called “Humane” Drug War: http://reason.com/blog/2012/05/20/a-report-from-obamas-humane-drug-war-my Here is an excerpt from that report:
At 5:30 a.m. on May 10, armed men broke into the bedroom of Kirk Kyle Farrar’s 12 year-old daughter and shook her awake. The men led her downstairs at gunpoint and forced her to lie on the floor next to her mother and father, with her hands behind her head. Another armed man took Farrar’s two-year-old son from his crib, and would not let his parents hold him. “My son screamed for his mother for what seemed like an eternity,” Farrar wrote in an email to friends, obtained by Reason. “I will never forget the hopeless feeling of not being able to comfort my son or daughter.” The armed men who broke into Farrar’s home were officers with the Meridian, Idaho, Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. They were executing a federal warrant for Farrar’s arrest for the crime of selling bongs.
12 year old little girls violently shaken awake in the early morning then held at gunpoint and 2 year old boys behind occupied by scary figures holding weapons while screaming for their mother… Does this sound like the humane approach to the Drug War that Candidate Obama promised? I have many socially libertarian friends that would have loved for Ron Paul to get the nomination, as they got the argument on economic liberty as well. Unfortunately that did not occur, and now they seem happy to vote for Uncle Tom again, despite the fact that he is clearly not as socially libertarian as he claims he is. Essentially on social issues he is as totalitarian as Mitt Romney, except for his suspiciously sudden endorsement of gay marriage. So the question becomes, why in the United States of America, supposedly the land of the free, is there such Gestapo like tactics used to prevent Cognitive Liberty by way of the War on Drugs?
One issue is that Drug Policy continues to be justified by scientific power/knowledge resulting from sampling bias (only gathering data from those incarcerated and/or entering rehabilitation.) Despite the findings and policy suggestions of the DRUGNET study that sampled the hidden population of functional drug users. Yet for the most part this new knowledge of people able to live their entire lives using drugs while never developing addiction has been excluded by the social forces of normative and disciplinary power. It is not just the State that oppresses, but it is also what Foucault called power/knowledge, which is basically the reverse of the old saying “knowledge is power,” instead it is Power determines what is considered valid knowledge. Foucault went on to produce exhaustive historical research on fields of knowledge such as Psychology, Medicine, Criminology, etc and has shown how these fields of knowledge were utilized by power to exclude not only individuals from freedom, but other knowledge as well. For example, with the study of addiction, we often see a type of circular logic. If the person claims they are not addicted, it is simply because they are addicted and either in denial or lying. The field of “addictionology” fails to include knowledge of functional drug use in its produced knowledge… it won’t even allow for the possibility, as it claims that even if someone is functional, eventually they will become addicted and non-functional. This is despite sociological data on functional drug users now in nursing homes, the nurses are finding pot and other recreational drugs and are not sure what to do about this. Clearly these users did not end up dead, in prison, or homeless. Yet power/knowledge excludes this knowledge and invalidates it as such knowledge of functional drug users deconstructs their “abstinence or addiction” binary opposition.
This tells us that not only is the State the enemy, but non-reflexive Science (Science which does not consider its own bias formed in its cultural upbringing as a field and thus produces power/knowledge which supports the very standards of the culture at that particular time. One must recall that biology once told us that race was a sub-species, during the time of overt racism in this nation. It was not biology that suddenly found that race was not a sub-species. Instead, it was social resistance movements against racism that exerted their own will-to-power against the normative power of the culture, and they won and altered the culture. Only after culture became less overtly racist did biology give up on race as sub-species.) While all this may make us seem doomed, there have been movements for reflexivity in science, especially in the field of Sociology. This makes sense as Sociology studies society and culture, and some have started to view fields of Science as a social actor rather than a pure objective truth finder. It does after all form within a culture and tends to always support the current dominant powers within that culture. It always appears that the culture changes prior to the science shifting. A reflexive Sociology, such as the poststructuralist sociological work of Michel Foucault, can be applied to other fields of science and can help combat power/knowledge by forcibly including once excluded knowledge which then can be used by movements of resistance in order to change the culture, which in turn will change the non-reflexive fields of science. Thus removing the justification for the State’s oppression of certain groups of people, such as drug users and those involved in the drug trade. The key is that a resistance movement exists first, as only it has reason to want to use reflexive science. Change the culture, change the power/knowledge, change the law.
“Addictionology” as a new upcoming field, often a branch of Psychology, represented by the likes of Dr. Drew, whose “caring attitude” is unintentionally false and is instead a form of cruelty. Nietzsche pointed out that pity is often a form of cruelty used to control people. In this case, Dr. Drew’s pity is justified to exert control over deviant individuals and forcibly assimilate them into the normative behavior. Yet, clearly, even Dr. Drew, as well as his approach to “Addictionology” fails the individuals it is supposed to “help,” considering how many of his former celebrity patients has lost… Charlie Sheen, however, still alive and kicking. So clearly those methods that Dr. Drew forces upon individuals in order to “save them” are failures, while the people who refuse his methods and his pity and his power/knowledge, such as Charlie Sheen are still alive.
Let us also not forget Dr. Gonzo, the late great Hunter S. Thompson who lived to be 67. Whether it was suicide or State led assassination (as he did once claim that he knew he would be “suicided” by forces of oppression.) Furthermore, the father of “deconstruction” and poststructuralist author Jacques Derrida had been arrested for pot possession and was an admitted user of amphetamines and barbiturates, who died of old age. Then there is Michel Foucault, the great poststructuralist philosopher, sociologist, and historian who openly admitted his LSD trip at Death Valley significantly changed his approach to his History of Sexuality. He also was a fan of pot, cocaine, and many other substances. He is still today one of the most cited authors in the social sciences as well as in the arts and humanities. His death in 1984 was non-drug related. He died of AIDS, which at the time was a disease that was new and fairly unknown. As he did not inject drugs, this could not have been drug related. Finally, you have the father of poststructuralism (he developed poststructuralism before structuralism even developed, though at the time he did not call it poststructuralism that came later) and supporter of extreme individualism Friedrich Nietzsche, who abused opium and chloral nitrate his entire life and would write prescriptions for himself signed as “Dr. Nietzsche.” He also did not die of drug-related issues. It is assumed to be either syphilis or brain cancer. Still today it is battle between the rugged individual Friedrich Nietzsche and the State supporter Karl Marx over who is the most people’s favorite philosopher. Last time I checked it was Nietzsche that won the last poll, which gives me hope for individual rights expansion (now Marx’s work did bring up some interesting questions, and his revolutionary attitude was nice, but his support for a Strong State was wrong and would have even not served his goal of socialism as a Strong State requires classes as it functions to limit competition and solidify a corporatist class and a working class by limiting small businesses, in sum Marx trusted the State too much. Just look at the Soviet Union, that was not Marx’s vision of an equal society, it was a different form of stratification, only this time it wasn’t up to each individual to be able to rise up, it was almost a Caste system.) These examples show that not only can drug users be functional, but they can also be very successful… ultra-functional if you will.
This all disproves the current power/knowledge on drugs, drug use, drug users, drug addicts, and addiction. In the resistance to the drug war, it is important to produce reflexive and poststructural knowledge that will counter and often deconstruct the power/knowledge that exists in our culture. When this is done, it knocks out the foundation for current Drug Policy, which will help allow for social liberation and end the War on Drugs. At the same time, however, this is not enough. Social activism must go beyond reflexive science and continue to fight within politics and resist with protest, or even resist by heavily arming themselves. I am sure the work I intend to produce as a reflexive poststructuralist sociologist is not enough. As fighting power/knowledge on its own grounds is an uphill battle that only the likes of geniuses like Michel Foucault can often overcome. Yet I intend to continue to fight it this way. I also intend to fight it subversively. And if I eventually must fight the oppression of cognitive liberty with bullets, I am willing to take up arms and join a revolution. I will do my best to make sure it doesn’t come to that, but all options must remain open. It would be nice to see how DEA agents feel while being held at gunpoint… would they cry and scream for their mothers as their victims do?
To conclude, this is a call to arms, albeit metaphorical arms currently. Whatever skill you have, whether it be music, creative writing, scientific analysis, organizing protests, etc they can all be used to resist the disciplinary power of the State’s Drug War, which not only oppresses Americans, but also keeps a civil war going in the country of Colombia, one that has been on for 50 years… if not for the War on Drugs and our “foreign aid” the corrupt US-backed government of Colombia would fall and the civil war would end. So if you believe in cognitive liberty, individual freedom, and ending the War on Drugs… use whatever skills you have to resist the power.
“Where there is power, there is resistance!” – Michel Foucault