A good example of this increasingly-pervasive UFO mythology appeared in an edition of the Prince George’s Journal when one of the columnists exhibited a number of the typical intellectual and spiritual fallacies surrounding this controversial issue. For starters, the columnist assumes the federal government is concealing alien corpses from another planet or knowledge pertaining thereof under lock and key in the deserts of the Southwest.
Our government might be guilty of many things (including psychic warfare according to various reports), but harboring extraterrestrial biological remains is probably not one of them. Naturally, people are going to see strange things in the skies above Roswell and Area 51; it is, after all, where experimental aircraft are tested, many of which in all likelihood do not conform to popular aeronautical configurations.
The philosophical reasoning of the columnist under consideration is even more fuddled than her historical assumptions. The columnist complains about the popular conception that the universe’s non-human inhabitants are diabolical and bent on interstellar domination. But she herself then makes the equally egregious error in assuming any extraterrestrial intelligence must be in a moral sense inherently superior to any human being.
Many of the great Western thinkers of both the classical and Christian traditions contend human beings possess the same nature the world over, operating along an established behavioral continuum. Isn’t it safe to assume that sentient life across the universe would adhere to a similar standard?
Popular science fiction seems to bear this out as television programs in this genre exhibit a wide array of alien psychologies often in the span of a single episode.
On Star Trek alone, Vulcans value the intellect while Klingons revel in bloodshed; the Borg epitomize Communism as they have no rulers yet all are slaves having their individuality sublimated to the prerogatives of the collective. The Bajorans of Deep Space Nine are deeply religious, the shows producers using them to comment on the role of religious faith in light of the Space Age. On Babylon 5, the Vorlons claim to stand for universal order while pursuing their own nefarious agenda. So much for extraterrestrials being superior.
It seems from this small sampling that such creatures would be as complex and varied as the nations and peoples now inhabiting our own world. Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry through his work seemed to argue humans would actually be the ones providing a sense of balance to galactic affairs with the so-called aliens actually the ones for the most part exhibiting behavioral and philosophical extremes.
It seems the incessant praise of all things alien might just be another attack on the wonders man has accomplished in his few short millennia of existence. The liberals who bash human ignorance in light of the knowledge an advanced extraterrestrial civilization would have to offer turn around and praise the backwards peoples of the Earth such as jungle tribesman and desert nomads.
Applying this heuristic of the “noble savage” (to borrow Rousseau’s term), wouldn’t us simple Earthfolk bring enlightenment to the interplanetary voyagers? Perhaps we simpletons would even persuade them to abandon their vile space-faring technology (which no doubt pollutes the solar winds) for a way of life more in tune with the principles of cosmic sustainability confined to a single planet.
By Frederick Meekins