Everyone and their Right
The most barbaric governments of the world have always prescribed to the citizen what they're allowed to think. This is well-known with the two infamous powers of the 20th century, the Third Reich in Germany and the Soviet Union in Russia. The self-described "Communists" of Russia prohibited the peasants and the workers from reading books that would cause "dangerous thoughts." Even poets who spoke in parables and without any direct reference to society were often persecuted in the Soviet Union. [*1]
Similarly, in Nazi Germany, the state prohibited a wide amount of written work. Abstract novels, like Kafka's "The Metamorphasis," were banned, because they were considered a threat to the integrity of the citizen. [*2] These ideas were not banned by the government because they were a threat to the people, though -- they were banned because they were a threat to the government.
Researchers are not restricted just to this past century in understanding the history of censorship. It is a practice most widely held by the Christian Churches who burned a numberless amount of libraries in the Middle Ages. [*3] The first list of books prohibited by the Catholic Church appeared in 1559, where the church banned anything dealing with philosophy, ethics, history, geography, science, anatomy, and general knowledge altogether. [*4]
Again, such censorship and oppression was repeatedly justified as being "necessary." The Inquisition, which tortured those who believed differently, was established in the name of "recovering peace and justice." These thoughts are "dangerous" to the mind of the average person. The books are banned because they are threat to the individual who reads them. At least this is the justification of the church and the state, when it is only so clear that such bans only defend the strength of established powers.
While today censorship is not welcomed by those who believe in liberty, there is some acceptance of the idea of prohibiting drug liberty. Once more, the governments and its moralists are telling the public, "Do not let your brain mingle with such poisons! We are prohibiting this substance because it is a danger to you!" Once more, it is criminal for the citizen to fill their minds with particular feelings and thoughts -- once more, it is illegal for an individual to uncover the truth for themselves. They must trust their governor, their senator, their congressman, their magistrate, and their government official. The right to individual inquiry has been prohibited, and as the churches of the past who have burned books, the authorities never let up in telling us that it is for our own good.
To taste the brilliance of LSD or to be enveloped in the love of Psilocybin mushrooms -- it is as illegal as to read a common-language copy of the Bible in the Middle Ages. To read the plays of the Renaissance in the Vatican, to read about human sexuality in the early United States, or to teach workers about the exploitation of Capitalism, all of this was just as illegal as to use outlawed intoxicants. But the Pope warns us, "Those playwrights were indecent, and reading them will corrupt your innocence!" The United States government, likewise, warned, "To fill yourself with knowledge of human reproduction is the height of immorality!" And, finally, those oppose Socialism and worker self-management, such as the German governor Bismarck, banned such books on the grounds, "To read any of this material will sap the integrity of every German and make them loathe their nation!"
The books, when they were uncovered, were amassed in piles, and torched. Unfit for human consumption. Entire libraries were destroyed in this way, cutting off links to ancient languages, poetry, history, and cultures that we will now never know about. It was not just sufficient to keep the banned substance out of the streets and in the hands of the "responsible guardians." It must be destroyed, in the present as much as in the past and the future -- we must not just obliterate the plague of deviancy in our own time, but for all humanity! This is the spirit that was carried throughout the governments and churches who burned books and people alike; it continues today in the heart of the anti-drug zealot.
Judgment of what is considered pure and what is considered impure is not allowed to the masses. The people themselves cannot decide. It is the government which decides. And what is it that has brought government to these laws, when it ought to be directed by the people? When asked, the government points to its own publications. The logical question is, "So, government is justified in doing what government says, because the government says so?" The media outlets are owned by the same people who own the offices in state. The opposition to drugs does not come from impartial investigators -- it is determined, as though a church council were passing a church view, and the people are forced to believe it, because all other books are prohibited, themselves not legally allowed to think or organize for themselves.
Opposition to drugs, then, did not come from the people. It was all that they could believe, since every university, every newspaper, and every government agency reported the same thing. Even where evidence was widespread in support of drugs, the government carefully handpicked scientists who opposed drug use. [*5] The media today continues to do this by giving half air-time to pro-global warming scientists and half air-time to anti-global warming scientists -- even though anti-global warming scientists are a difficult oddity to find. It is equivalent to giving equal air time to those who believe the world is round compared to those who believe it is flat. For every meteorologist, there must be a thousand and one prophets who are going to predict the weather according to their ancient religious practices of divining.
Like those who burn books, those who outlaw drugs tell us it is for our own good. They even tell us that once we turn that first page, or light up that first time, there is no going back! Once you lose your innocence about learning how humans reproduce, it is gone forever. Likewise, once you use drugs, you are never the same person again. But we had to lose our innocence to grow up, and we couldn't do that without changing, leaving behind that old person who used to be us. Yet, this is why we cannot even try these materials, whether banned books or banned substances. Once we have those thoughts or feelings, we are beyond the control of our own minds... in reality, it actually frees us from control of the established authorities.
*1. "For the broad-chested Ossete," poem by Osip Mandestrom, 1933, Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk . Quoted in "Stalin: Breaker of Nations," by Robert Conquest.