A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE OF THE MAN
A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE
It has been said that ‘Knowledge Is Power’, yet to my knowledge, this may be the first time that anyone has ever attempted to do a psychological profile of Harry Anslinger, the man himself. Yes, there has been much written about him as Commissioner of Narcotics, about his tenor in office, and certainly his (ah) accomplishments in office, but very little about the man himself. In effect, no one as yet seems to have attempted to figure out what went on inside this creep’s mind. A situation, I for one find somewhat odd, especially given the amount of heavy-duty damage that racist pig caused during that tenor. Thus one would think that this would have been done long, long ago. After all wasn’t one of ‘Wild Bill Donovan’ (head of the OSS during WW2) very first acts to put together a psychological profile of Adolph Hitler, the idea being:
“If you know your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your enemy, in a hundred battles, you will never be in danger.” -- “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
Yet, nothing, nothing? A fact that of-and-by-itself, speaks volumes about the man. One whose persona still haunts us to this very day.
--- A DOCUMENTED SOURCE FOR ACTIVE DUTY REPORTERS
A word for active duty reporters: --- There are various existing websites, books and articles all dealing with the personage of Harry Anslinger, who served as Commission or Narcotics (Drug Czar, 1930-1963) and is today considered by most as the main architect of our present day ‘War-On-Drugs’. Yet, at least with reference to the websites, few seem to have actually taken the pains to physically document their words. Thus allowing for a great many “unproven innuendoes,” and in some cases, even some out and out misinformation to come forward. Example: Did Harry Anslinger actually send out his now infamous, “Ginger Colored Negro’ memo? YES he did. Did he ever state; “Marihuana, it makes black man think they’re as good as whites? Probably, in private yes, but there is NO official record of him ever having said such a thing in public.
Thus the main reason for this website. Not just to technically go off on yet another anti-Anslinger rant, but to provide those doing research (specifically active duty reporters), with easy to find and verify documentation.
“A PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL PROFILE
INTO THE MIND OF THE MAN”
This author makes no pretense to having any psychological training; I have none. Yet for good or for bad, it appears that no one with such training (for whatever reasons) has chosen to put such a study like this together. Thus (feeling the need is important) I have been forced to take upon myself the task of doing so. However, the reader should not see this as a negative, but instead as a fortuitous event. No formal training means I have to speak in simple baby language we all understand as opposed to Phd. gobble-gook. Plus, no formal training also means I was forced to use mechanical (yet quantifiable) yardsticks of measurements as proof as opposed to whatever weird yardsticks of measurements those Phd’s types with white lab coats use.
HARRY ANSLINGER AS LIAR:
Before we can hope to even begin to understand the man, we must take into account one very important psychological factor about him ---he was a liar, and a shamelessly good one at that. That this is so is not debatable; the evidence clearly speaks for itself.
Thus the issue is NOT whether or not Anslinger was a liar, but instead what type of psychological form did those lies take. Was he a pathological or compulsive liar who could not control himself? Or was he like a used car salesman, someone who saw it simply as part of his job?
After much study and pondering the question, I’ve personally come to the conclusion that he was of the latter and not the former type. I state this because all the physical evidence that I’ve seen points in the direction that Anslinger himself (sincerely) believed that lies were a necessary and integral part of doing the job. Or quoting Ruffus King author of “The Drug Hang-up”:
“In my personal contact with him [Anslinger], I never had any feeling of insincerity. I didn’t get that close to Anslinger, but I never had the feeling that he had any doubts about what he was doing.” 
Meaning even one of his biggest critics (during the sixties) also felt that he was no psychopath but instead a man doing his job. And I for one must point out that had Anslinger been any kind of compulsive liar, he would have been caught doing so somewhere along the line during his long tenor. Yet as beat poet Allen Ginsberg wrote in the “Atlantic Magazine”(1966):
“A marvelous project for a sociologist, and one which I am sure will be in preparation before my generation grows old, will be a close examination of the actual history and tactics of the Narcotics Bureau and its former chief Power, Harry J. Anslinger, in planting the seed of the marijuana ‘menace’ in the public mind and carefully nurturing its growth over the last few decades until the unsuspecting public was forced to accept an outright lie.” 
Meaning that no one was able to establish back then (1966) that Anslinger was indeed a liar. Thus we can safely assume that he used them selectively and very skillfully, and then only when needed to accomplish his job.
HOWEVER, this assessment of him on my part raised several other related issues, such as “How did he get away with it for so long?” An issue that will be covered later on, here however it is interesting to note that Anslinger himself had no small amount of charisma about him, and used it to allay his critics and supporters. Or to “para-quote” the words of “Darth Sidious” (the evil emperor in Star Wars);
“To be in some professions, one must learn to become an accomplice liar.”
But whatever the reasons, his lies in fact were able to escape detection for a period of time that far exceeded his tenor in office. In fact I am convinced that had it not been for the Internet and its ability to do keyword searches, he might have never have ever been caught. HOWEVER, it is important (for psychological reasons) for us to note, that Anslinger got away with it and did so for a very long time. Still logic and reason dictate that he would have been forced to spend a lot of his energies just in covering up his past lies. A simple factor that explains many of his future actions long after the Reefer Madness campaign was over with.
“And an accomplished liar is almost impossible to detect.”
ANSLINGER’S HYSTERIA CAMPAIGN OF LIES
HE KNEW ALL ALONG IT WAS BASED ON LIES
We have already shown that Harry Anslinger was a liar who had no problems fabricating words of convenience as they were needed. However, that still leaves the question; -- Did Harry Anslinger know all along, right from the start, that the whole of his ‘Reefer Madness’ hysteria campaign was based on lies? The answer seems to be yes.
Thus both the evidence as well as the historical factors, clearly indicates that Anslinger did indeed know the truth, and knew it all along. Simply put, given his position and historical background (especially given his college degree in agriculture), there’s no way he couldn’t have. That, plus the wealth of information dealing with both Medical Cannabis as well as Industrial Hemp that existed at the time, made it all but impossible for him not to have known.
Thus once more, it appears that ANSINGER DID INDEED KNOW THE TRUTH. A technical factor that from a psychological standpoint gives us an interesting insight into the mind of the man himself. During the early part of Anslinger’s tenor (for whatever reasons) he lied to congress as well as the American people to get the ‘Brown Skin Marihuana Law’s’ placed on the books. Which meant that during his later years in office, he would have had to devote more and more of his energies covering up just what had happened. A psychological factor that most historians seem to ignore, but one which goes a long way to explain his actions during his later years.
Example: Referring to his (supposed) opposition to public school narcotic educational programs. I personally am of the opinion that he actually supported them in concept, BUT that their existence might lead to many unwanted questions. Questions that might expose him for . . . well for what he was.
DID HE PROMOTE THE PRACTICE OF CENSORSHIP?
YES HE DID
First, we should make it clear that no one is talking about troop movements during a time of war, nor are we talking about child porn, etc. Here we are talking about full blown governmental censorship, something that, at least on paper, is not supposed to happen here in the good old U.S. of A. And we’re not talking about a one shot wonder either, but something that Anslinger’s ‘Bureau of Narcotics’ did on an on going basis. Perhaps a few examples are in order:
CENSORED - DEPT. OF AGRICULTURAL BULLETING:
This example of out and out censorship occurred in 1935, or just a few months after Anslinger joined in on the Reefer Madness campaign. Note that the internal documents (correspondence between the Bureau of Narcotics and the Dept. of Agriculture) provide irrefutable proof that censorship was taking place.
[NO RETURN LINK PROVIDED]
And this was not the only case of Anslinger’s use of censorship. This next example is important as it shows that Anslinger’s Bureau was not alone in its practice of censorship.
CENSORED – THE WAR FILM “HEMP FOR VICTORY”:
[NO RETURN LINK PROVIDED]
So as can be seen, Anslinger’s Bureau had no problem practicing CENSORSHIP. However, it is interesting to note that he made one very important exception to the rule. And believe it or not, it was the movie “Reefer Madness.” No joke, the movie “Reefer Madness”, which due to his personal connection with its producer Dwain Esper he had to allow.
NON-CENSORED – (believe it or not) THE FILM “REEFER MADNESS”:
[NO RETURN LINK PROVIDED]
Thus (through his use of censorship) we can already begin to see the psychological inner workings of Anslinger’s mind. YES he used his office to practice censorship; the facts are clear and speak for themselves. However, he had no problem, when it suited his purposes, being selective in his use of that power. Meaning, such as in the case above, it was possible to have two very similar movies, the same subject matter, the same level of nudity, language, etc., yet (again, as it suited his own purposes) he would have gone after one but not the other.
Thus (from a psychological perspective) his actions appear, NOT to have been motivated by any kind of religious fervor or moral beliefs, but instead by what was suited his purposes at the given time.
HOW HE GOT AWAY WITH IT FOR SO LONG
So far we’ve been able to establish (certainly to my satisfaction) that Harry Anslinger (the man) was a liar as well as a man without scruples of any kind. But from a psychological viewpoint, it appears that unlike other such individuals, his actions were not pathological in nature. Meaning that unlike (say) compulsive liars, Anslinger seems to always have been in control of his actions, using lies ONLY as needed. His use of governmental power for acts of censorship also does not appear random but instead well targeted and coordinated in nature.
In other words, Anslinger “psychologically speaking” was no psycho nut case, but instead a well-organized individual who used lies, half truths and distortions or the truth, ONLY as needed, ONLY to suit his purposes. But still the question comes up, as he was a liar who lied to Congress, as well as the whole of the American people; did he get away with it for so long?
Thus it was no one thing that allowed him to get away with it for so long. But instead the historical circumstances all around him at the time (he was in the right spot at the right time) mixed in with his charisma and other natural talents that allowed him to evade exposure throughout his entire career.
From a psychological viewpoint however, it becomes obvious that many of his later day actions were all based on “the big cover up," directed toward keeping a lid on what had occurred before.
LAST MINUTE ADDITION
“ CHIEF DARYL GATES’s FIASCO ”
Referencing Narcotics Education in the classroom, was Harry Anslinger correct? Is Just Say No to Narcotics Education the best solution? History seems to have proven him right, . . . well it kind-of has?
Officially Harry was technically opposed to just about ALL classroom narcotics education. His openly stated theory being that such education only wetted the appetites of young people toward narcotics use. Thus in effect doing more harm then good by gravitating young people towards experimentation and thus the drug culture. However, some historians (such as myself) openly question this official explanation and feel the truth lies elsewhere. That in effect Anslinger was actually in support of narcotics education or the exact opposite of what he officially stated during his tenor. --- A twist and turn, which leads one to examine one such program (the kind Anslinger officially warned against creating) put together many years AFTER Anslinger had left the scene and was well into retirement.
You may not have heard of L.A.P.D. Chief of Police Daryl Gates and believe me the less you know the better. But chances are good that you’ve heard of his wondrous contribution to Americana, known as project “DARE.” And no, “DARE”, did not stand for these “Donuts Are Really Expensive,” but instead was exactly what Anslinger had warned against, a drug educational program. One that “Horrors to Horrors” included active police officers walking into classrooms giving lectures on the dangers of drug abuse, etc. And just like Anslinger predicted; ---it didn’t work. In fact the statistical evidence seems to indicate that it generated more drug use among drug young people than it prevented. [A1]
Even worse, from a practical standpoint it forced police officials to come up with a logical reason why the “M” word should be against the law in the first place? And let’s face it, by the 1980’s social morals were such that it was no longer popular to talk about those “Brown Skin Marijuana’s,” nor the need for Jim Crow laws etc. Likewise it had also become obvious that young girls were NOT jumping out of fifth story windows, no axe murders etc. Yet by the nature of their program, they had to give out some reasoning for the law’s existence. So soon “All Weirdness” breaks out, with one failed excuse after another being used to justify the laws. That Marihuana caused birth defects. An excuse, which lasted a couple of years until the original study used as proof, was discredited. That Marihuana was a starter drug, which again was disproven by statistical study after study, etc. In other words, no matter what they did, they simply couldn’t find or come up with a good reason for the law’s existence.
Soon, individuals were questioning, not only the program’s effectiveness (or lack thereof) but what Anslinger feared the most, the very legitimacy of the law’s existence in the first place.
So was Anslinger right? Are public education programs wrong? I for one say NO. In fact they are essential and vitally needed. AND if we were to see drugs as a medical rather than a police matter, they probably would work. But they won’t work if some guy in a blue uniform tries to pull the boogie-woogie on a bunch of kids. Sure it’ll work for a little while, kids have respect for their elders, but once they figure out the truth, then . . . a subject maybe left for another day. But leaving that aside for now, it was the second problem with the program that created an almost panic situation for Anslinger long before DARE had even been created. Simply put, such a program (by its very nature) mandates/requires a logical reason for the law’s very existence. One that Anslinger knew full well would expose him for the fake that he was.
ON TO PART II
WAS HARRY ANSLINGER A RACIST PIG?
WANT TO KNOW MORE:
Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are
displayed. If you would like to obtain more information, feel
free to contact the museum. All our material is available (at
cost) on CD-Rom format.