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Human Rising
Human Rising exposes how power politics and unconsciousness maintains a regime of drug prohibition. Written as a defence against arbitrary persecution, it explores the link between drug barons and governments, and shows why the drug laws violate basic human rights protections.
Mikalsen (Reason Is) takes on government corruption and its relationship to the war on drugs in this exhaustive analysis. Arguing in favor of legalizing all drugs, Mikalsen deconstructs “prohibitionist psychosis,” his term for what he identifies as the phenomenon of individuals and societies continuing to believe drugs are a problem in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He argues that individual rights and modern government directly oppose each other, while marshaling anecdotal and scientific support to demonstrate why and how it’s imperative to “normalize relations between drug users and society.”

Mikalsen skewers politicians and the administrators of the “Drug Control Complex” alike, pointing out connections between world leaders and drug smuggling operations. In firm defense of drug dealers and users, he censures society’s criminalization of substances that “have been a central part of human experience and tradition for millennia” and delves into the signs of governmental shifts toward tyranny, all largely influenced by the power and wealth generated from the war on drugs. Mikalsen alleges that drug laws were initially methods of social control, portraying “prohibitionists” as individuals who rely on “fear, ignorance, and propaganda” to ensure compliance with their demands—and to protect Big Pharma’s profit margins.

Fans of complex, far-reaching conspiracy theories will be mesmerized by Mikalsen’s look at secretive organizations such as Yale’s Skull and Bones society (he contends Bonesmen “[hide] in the shade while continuing the age-old plot to control populations”), and his insistence on an “unholy alliance” between the Vatican, the CIA, and the Mafia. But such sweeping accusations diminish his argument that economic and political forces collude to keep the drug war active. He briefly addresses the usefulness of certain substances for tapping into mystical experiences and developing a new consciousness, but devotes few pages to the potential benefits of drug use, a point many readers who potentially agree with his conclusions will likely want to see further addressed.

Takeaway: A sweeping argument for drug legalization paired with a jeremiad against government propaganda.

Great for fans of: Colleen Cowles’s War On Us; Paula Mallea’s The War on Drugs: A Failed Experiment.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: C