November 30, 2021
Antonio Escohotado Espinosa (born July 5, 1941 in Madrid and died November 21, 2021 in Ibiza) is a Spanish essayist and university professor whose research has focused primarily on law, philosophy and sociology. He became known primarily for his work on drug use.
Born in Madrid, he spent the first years of his life in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), where his father was responsible for the press service at the Spanish Embassy. Back in Madrid, he began studying law and philosophy, and wrote a thesis on Hegel, which would later be published under the title La conciencia infeliz. Ensayo restrains the hegeliana philosophy of religion. In 1970, he left his post at the Instituto de Crédito Oficial to move to Ibiza, where he devoted himself to translation. In 1976 he also founded the Amnesia nightclub there, which later became one of the most famous on the island. In 1983, he was trapped by the police and imprisoned for possession of cocaine. In prison, he wrote his major work: Historia general de las drogas (1989-1999). Upon his release from prison, he was hired by the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, where he taught law, philosophy, sociology and the methodology of science.
Besides an important activity of translator, he touched in his essays on a great variety of subjects. A specialist of Aristotle, he has also written on the sociology of political power (Majestades, crímenes y víctimas, 1987) and economic discourse (Sesenta semanas en el trópico, 2003). It adopts an interdisciplinary perspective and combines a wide variety of knowledge within a humanist position. On the political level, he stands out in the Spanish panorama, refusing to subscribe to the traditional left / right dichotomy, being above all concerned about the freedom / authority relationship. He defines himself as a classic liberal thinker, heir to David Hume, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Jefferson. He rejects utopias and authoritarianism. He has contributed to numerous magazines and periodicals, notably El País and El Mundo.
Through his books, articles and interviews, Escohotado has developed a critical theory on current drug crusade politics and instead proposes a model of responsible and informed consumption. He is in favor of the decriminalization of drugs, from a libertarian perspective influenced by Thomas Szasz and Milton Friedman: not legalization but the end of prohibition, because it is this one which, according to him, generates the narcotrafficking and puts in the market for adulterated and toxic products. He also defends drugs as a way to go in search of oneself, a tool for maturation, dialogue or simple recreation.
Works translated into French
Elementary history of drugs: from the origins to the present day, Paris, Éd. of the Lizard, 1995
Drunkenness in history: drugs, from the origins to their prohibition, Paris, L'Esprit rappeur, 1998.
General history of drugs, Paris, L'Esprit rappeur, 2003-2004.
(es) This article is partially or fully taken from the Spanish Wikipedia article "Antonio_Escohotado" (see list of authors).
(es) La Emboscadura
Audiovisual resource: (en) Internet Movie Database
Portal of Literature Portal of Spain