Are Nootropics ‘Brain Doping’ or ‘Cognitive Enhancement’ and the Role of Government

I recently read an article on Forbes titled “The Majority Of People Are Fine With Brain Doping, As Long As You Don’t Call It That” written by Dr. Jessica Baron. According to Dr. Baron, whether people are ok with others or themselves taking nootropics depends largely on how the question is asked.

Another thing that stood out from this article is that apparently people are more lenient on the issue of cognitive enhancement in others than on themselves.

What this article does not cover is the people that cognitive enhancers do help. Yes, not everyone who takes Adderall needs it or benefits from it, but what about those it does? (Adderall is not a nootropic — It’s a metaphor.)

Though I am often the resident villiage idiot, I suspect the budding nootropics industry would not able to become a $1B industry without providing some degree of good to people. If any company, let alone an entire industry, is not providing a value to their consumers, then how did they generate such massive revenue?

Also, I am cautious of whatever regulation David Pearce, a cofounder of the nootropics advocate group Humanity Plus, is eluding to when he told Newsweek that despite his own use of a cocktail of enhancers, he’s concerned about the current market for “smart drugs”:

A vast unregulated drug experiment is currently unfolding across the world with the growth of online pharmacies selling all kinds of pills and supplements. Many of the scientific studies often cited are small, unreplicated, poorly controlled, and don’t disclose source of funding. [And] publication bias is endemic.

The article’s insights and overall skepticism aside, it is not the government’s job nor duty to regulate morality or ethics. One’s decision to use nootropics or not should be theirs and theirs alone so long as others are not physically harmed during the process.

Also, I am not in favor of any regulation which forces a product which does provide a good to someone and doesn’t harm others to be forced underground simply because the government said so.

If nootropics genuinely cause others harm, the market is smart enough to figure it out without needing the government pretending it knows what’s best.

So what should the government do? Before they suppress an entire industry, let’s start with the same government tackling the following:

  • Worry about balancing a budget.
  • Stop spending so much fucking money which isn’t theirs on stupid shit that’s far worse than nootropics will ever be.
  • Stop pissing down our backs and telling us it’s raining.

Once the government can show a mastery of the aforementioned seemingly simple tasks, then we’ll talk about if the position of personal doctor, pastor and parent is open or not.