A new documentary series created by Stephen Hawking posits the mathematical certainty of extraterrestrial life – but the brilliant theoretical scientist recommends against trying to establish contact. “To my mathematical brain, the numbers [of planets] alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” Hawking says. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.” That’s where the sense of caution sets in, because if they’re anything like us – rapacious warlike predators – then perhaps keeping a certain amount of distance is the better part of valor. As Hawking puts it:
“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.”
Hey, wait a minute: is he talking about the aliens – or us? Untethered from solid ground – and from reality – rampaging across the known universe, plundering everything in their path. That sounds like our ruling class, all right, and it’s certainly no surprise they’re extending their hubris into outer space, as the Times of London reports:
“The mysterious X37B, launched successfully by the US Air Force from Cape Canaveral on Thursday … is officially described as an orbital test vehicle. However, one of its potential uses appears to be to launch a surge of small satellites during periods of high international tension. This would enable America to have eyes and ears orbiting above any potential troublespot in the world.”
Oh, those troublesome “troublespots” – like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Texas. No need to worry, however: the US government has got just the fix. The X37B perfectly embodies our rulers’ faith in science and technology as the answer to all their problems, including the age-old political and military problem of how to impose their will on an unwilling populace. The Pentagon has a plan:
“The X37B can stay in orbit for up to 270 days, whereas the Shuttle can last only 16 days. This will provide the US with the ability to carry out experiments for long periods, including the testing of new laser weapon systems.”
Good old American ingenuity, I see it’s making a comeback, albeit in the most malign manner imaginable. At any rate, we’re ready for those space aliens. Or are we? Hawking opines:
“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
He’s right about there being a danger in humans meeting up with extraterrestrials, except the ones at risk aren’t us earthmen – it’s the aliens who have the most to fear. Hawking’s science-fictional vision of hi-tech nomads roaming the universe in search of enemies is in reality a projection of the Western mindset onto the limitless reaches of space.
As the US rampages across the globe, imposing its will, one can easily imagine how we’ll act once we get to outer space – without going to see “Avatar.” Just as the logic of a foreign policy based on US military, political, and cultural supremacy has led us to invade and occupy large portions of the earth, so the same mentality will inevitably lead to interplanetary imperialism – which, first of all, will be about completing the conquest of our own planet.
Laser weapons circling the globe, aimed at whomever is deemed the enemy of the moment – that’s the ideal setup for the boys in Washington, who will just have to push a few buttons and – Ka-BOOM! That takes care of that….
Once the world-planners and would-be world conquerors consolidate their power on Terra – complete with a world government, a global income tax, and, most important of all, a World Central Bank – they’ll rev up their engines, build a souped-up version of the X37B, and get ready to “liberate” the stars. Obama is already talking about a Mars mission. Before they can do that, however, a few events back home on earth may interrupt their plans – bankruptcy, for one, and a massive economic meltdown.
As we thrust outward, the inner core is rotting and ready to bring the whole structure down. Empire-building, whether on earth or in the heavens, is a huge drain on our resources, one we can ill afford at the moment. As Garet Garrett, the Jeremiah of the old “isolationist” right, put it: the American empire is unique in human history in that “everything goes out, and nothing comes in.” The last American President will be announcing yet another glorious “victory” in our War on Everyone – perhaps the conquest of Altair V – even as the bankers foreclose on the heavily-mortgaged White House.
Unless, of course, the American people wake up, and realize their country is committing suicide. There are some hopeful signs that this is indeed happening, or could happen, but so far I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. As long as the US government can build and launch the X37B without telling the American taxpayers either how much it costs or what purpose it serves, without facing a public outcry, our doom is sealed.
No need to worry about the threat of an invasion from outer space: the real space aliens, the real threat to our existence, isn’t coming from outer space. It comes straight from the planet Washington, D.C.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
My biography of the libertarian theorist Murray N. Rothbard, An Enemy of the State, published in 2000 by Prometheus Books, is now in a Kindle edition for $9.95, and is available from Amazon via Amazon Whispernet.
The Hill, the newspaper of record for all things political in Washington, D.C., posts a daily comment by yours truly on the "The Big Question." Go check it out and give those guys some traffic.
Correction: In my column on Nick Clegg, the rising star of British politics, I stated that the Liberal Democrats are a "right-wing split-off" from the Labor party. Wrong. In fact, they trace their lineage to the old Liberal party, which merged with the Social Democrat party (which was indeed a right-wing split from Labor) to form the LibDems. This was a particularly stupid error in that it missed the essential point that Clegg and his party look to the old classical liberal tradition of individual liberal, government accountability, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, which was the basis of the Liberal worldview. This is what the evil Gordon Brown meant when he contemptuously referred to Clegg as a "Little Englander." A truly dumb mistake for a libertarian to make: if you don’t recognize, let alone honor, your own intellectual ancestors, then how can you know who you are or what you believe?
My apologies. I promise to do better in the future.