All prohibition of alcohol and drugs would be promptly ended by Aleister Crowley if he were elected President. Not only is the very idea of prohibition blasphemous from the perspective of the New Aeon, but as we can see looking back on the history of prohibition and the so-called “War on Drugs,” both efforts were destined to fail from the start.
“Cyril Grey interrupted the conversation for the first time. He swung round in his arm chair, and deliberately cleared his throat while he refixed his eyeglass.
“‘In these days,’ he observed, ‘when devils enter into swine, they do not rush violently down a steep place. They call themselves moral reformers, and vote the Prohibition ticket.’ He shut up with a snap, swung his chair round again, and returned to the study of his big square book.”
We certainly are aware of many “moral reformers” in our day, who seek to constantly limit the social liberties of individuals. Today some of them have called themselves the “moral majority,” but we have seen that they are anything but moral according to the standard of individual liberty. Many of them also say they support “family values,” and as we have found previously, “… wherever the family has been strong, it has always been an engine of tyranny.” Aleister Crowley attributes this moralistic crusade to fear — fear born of ignorance about the effects of drugs.
“… the crisis in which fear becomes phobia is the unreasoning aversion, the shuddering of panic, above all, the passionate refusal to learn anything about ‘drugs,’ to analyse the conditions, still less to face them; and the spasmodic invention of imaginary terrors, as if the real dangers were not enough to serve as a warning.”
—from Magick Without Tears by Aleister Crowley.
(Chapter 78 of MWT text online)
These “swine” have taken their fearful neurosis to an extreme which is infringing on our rights, and it is time all our freedoms were restored. Only a government informed by the principles of individual liberty can guarantee these freedoms in the face of an insane mob of determined voters.
Prohibition would be intolerable enough if it were merely the result of busy-body, fearful “moral reformers” who can’t manage to mind their own business. But drugs and alcohol have been used throughout the history of the human species as a means to achieve religious ecstasy.
“… the Law of Thelema definitely enjoins us, as a necessary act of religion, to ‘drink sweet wines and wines that foam.’ Any free man or woman who resides in any community where this is verboten has a choice between two duties: insurrection and emigration.”
There is another verse from the The Book of the Law which also points to the religious necessity of the use of “wine and strange drugs” to worship Hadit, “the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness.”
It isn’t only Thelema which calls for the use of alcohol and drugs to achieve religious ecstasy. Many religions throughout history and all over the world have discovered and exploited psychoactive substances for this purpose. Moreover, Aleister Crowley advances the notion that sacramental use of drugs & alcohol is a universally appropriate substitute for more traditional, ceremonial, and meditative forms of achieving religious ecstasy.
“… where the only means of obtaining this ecstasy, or a simulacrum of it, known to the people, is alcohol, they must have alcohol. Deprive them of wine, or beer, or whatever their natural drink maybe, and they replace it by morphia, cocaine, or something easier to conceal, and to take without detection.”
Prohibition of the use of alcohol and drugs is therefore a tyrannical infringement on religious freedom.
Neither Addiction nor Abstinence
Where drugs are concerned, Aleister Crowley advocated the courageous and individualistic path of excess, not the abstinence of the coward or the addiction of the slave.
Of course, Aleister Crowley did not know everything we know today about drugs. He was prescribed heroin for bronchitis and remained functionally addicted to it until his last breath. He later used heroin recreationally and sacramentally, as he did with many drugs including cocaine, hashish, ether, peyote, and pretty much anything that he could get his hands on to try. He was after all a chemist, a mystic, and a psychonaut. What do you expect?
“Drunkeness is a curse and a hindrance only to slaves. Shelley’s couriers were ‘drunk on the wind of their own speed.’ Any one who is doing his true Will is drunk with the delight of Life.”
Aleister Crowley’s optimism about drugs might seem naïve today, when we have seen the difficulties that people have overcoming addiction, and the constant development of new and untested recreational drugs.
Still, he has a point. We can all think of examples of geniuses who remained addicted until dying at a ripe old age, just as productive as ever. Aleister Crowley, whose writing only improved as he got older, is one such shining example. William S. Burroughs is another. It’s also important to keep in mind the findings of science in this regard, such as the recent attempt to rank drugs in terms of their harm to self and others.
“The sot drinks, and is drunken: the coward drinks not, and shivers: the wise man, brave and free, drinks, and gives glory to the Most High God.”
Ultimately the question of appropriate drug and alcohol use comes down to one’s True Will, and whether any particular use of drugs or alcohol will help to facilitate or impede that Will. Only the individual in the specific situation can fairly make this determination, and this is why every individual must have the freedom to do so. Aleister Crowley did not (and AC2012 does not), however, advocate illegal use. Instead, as quoted earlier in this post, Crowley admonishes us to either change the laws or move elsewhere. For, as he writes in his Commentaries, “The furtive disregard of Restriction is not Freedom. It tends to make men slaves and hypocrites, and to destroy respect for Law.”
Aleister Crowley would have a society where each individual is responsible for the consequences of his behavior. He describes his opinion about vice laws in his “Considerations of an Open Letter to Labour,” where he writes:
“All restrictions on ‘vice,’ such as on the manufacture & sale of drink, to be abolished. Let Nature purge the race of the fools & weaklings. But punish with greater severity all injuries done to others by drunkards, libertines, and the like.”
Have your rights to religious ecstasy through the use of alcohol and drugs been limited? Take action now! End the cowardly prohibition of alcohol and drugs in your state and country, and restore these important means to religious ecstasy for the sake of our children. Use whatever political means you have at your disposal to make your views known and change the laws, whether that be through petitioning your representatives, protesting, or writing in Aleister Crowley for President in 2012.