What binds the members of the drug taking community together? Not much.
For the most part, we all understand the government propaganda against us is stupid. We share an appreciation for and access to the reality of drug use. But what else is there?
Science is what drives my practical and political views on drug use. Without the scientific research being on my side, I would probably have never broken away from the government propaganda. It is on our side, however.
Think about the way Drugs-Forum tries to distinguish itself from other media. This is from the DF mission statement:
"As an integral part of human culture, there is a need for unbiased information about drugs- a place to find and share knowledge on drugs. Drugs-Forum provides comprehensive and accurate information as an alternative to the scaremongering, political propaganda and uninformed journalism often found in the media."
I think this is great. The number one criticism of government propaganda and of the general media is that it is inaccurate and scaremongering. We want drug policy to be evidence based. We know that the evidence suggests that really, Alcohol and cigarettes are more dangerous than many illegal drugs, and the harms of many illegal drugs have been utterly exaggerated.
At Drugs-Forum, we want to provide accurate information. That is the best way of reducing harm. It is key to everything we do here.
So, we are all in favor of the means to get accurate information - science. Right...? Wrong.
There are many elements in the drug community which are hostile to science and evidence. There are those who think science is nothing more than big pharma. There are new-age guru style people who think science is just one interpretation of the world. There is the general idea that because scientists don't know everything, we can trust our instincts. People can be overly enamored with eastern philosophies to think reality is an illusion, and the only real truth is the truth "within". There are extreme psychonauts who think something is only true if it is revealed during a psychedelic experience or if there is a case of science disagreeing with such a revelation, then science must be wrong. More Generally, drug experiences are seen as mystical which is, I think incorrectly, often viewed as inherently unscientific. The list goes on, and we see new ones every day. You get the idea.
I see this as a tension in drug-culture, but also in this forum.
It makes no sense to claim that DF is a place whose mission is to deliver accurate information if these sorts of unscientific ideas also take place here, or are discussed as if they were legitimate intellectual ideas. It's like we are happy to use science to provide us with accurate information, but also happy to then ignore it when it comes to the unscientific nature of many elements of drug culture. What does that say about us?
We are either interested in presenting accurate information here, or we are not. If not, then it seems we are only interested in accurate information when it suits us. In that case, how are we really different from the politicians or media which we criticize and are apparently trying to be better than?
I'm sure we can carry on as we are - it's not like this tension will cause the website to explode or anything. Nonetheless, I don't see how it can fail to erode DF's intellectual integrity or undermine the mission statement.
This is why you'll find me criticising and arguing and being confrontational. I believe in the mission statement of this website, and I think it's the best way - intellectually & morally but also even practically and strategically - to make the future of the drug community bright. I think we are even beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel of ignorance in which we have been stranded for so long. Nonetheless, I think it depends on our alliance with science, with evidence and with truth. And that, I also think, depends on what attitude we take towards the explicitly unscientific elements of the drug community.
I'd be happy to get some other thoughts on this. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.