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Brian Pace & Neşe Devenot: Right-Wing Psychedelia, or, Lucy in the Sky With Nazis
September 12, 2022

Dr. Brian Pace is a lecturer who teaches Psychedelic Studies at Ohio State University. He is trained as an evolutionary ecologist, specializing in phytochemistry, ethnobotany, and ecophysiology. He believes in grassroots drug decriminalization efforts and hopes to find alternative policies to the imperial drug war. For more than a decade, Brian has worked on agroecology and climate change.

Dr. Nese Devenot is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute for Research in Sensing (or IRiS) at the University of Cincinnati; an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research & Education at Ohio State University; and the Medicine, Society & Culture Research Fellow with Psymposia. She also researches and teaches bioethical approaches to psychedelic medicine. She was a Research Fellow with the New York University Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study, where she participated in the first qualitative study of patient experiences.

Dr. Pace and Dr. Devenot are authors of a paper entitled “Right-Wing Psychedelia: Case Studies in Cultural Plasticity and Political Pluripotency,” a piece they created to rebut the common cultural assumption that psychedelics have the potential to improve society because of inherent characteristics that tend to point their users to a liberal, free-thinking ideology.

In the discussion that follows, they suggest that psychedelics are non-specific amplifiers of their set and setting, which, they take pains to remind me, is within the capitalist realm, and that contrary to the de facto cultural credo, conservative, hierarchy-based ideologies are quite able to withstand the face melting effects of a few hits of LSD. They speak about many cases where psychedelic users either remained authoritarian in their views or became conservatively radicalized after taking psychedelics. We also get into conservative thought leaders who happen to be psychedelic cheerleaders, like Jordan Peterson, as well as the moneyed individuals who are central players in the corporate psychedelic world, like Peter Thiel and Rebecca Mercer. I have taken the liberty of importing some clips that I found on YouTube of these famous folks up for discussion, in the hopes of better illustrating the points being made. Hope you enjoy.

More information akin to this can be found at psymposia.com.

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