Canada Defense Minister in UFO Shocker
Hellyer said, "The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning." He also stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."
Good fucking grief. Firstly, Hellyer's use of the word "intergalactic" is suspect; if ETs are here, why assume they're from another galaxy when it seems more likely they'd be from another star in our own Milky Way?
Secondly, the presumption that we're on the verge of some sort of military conflict with space visitors not only assumes we're worthy of the envy of "intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic," but implies that we could expect a fair fight. If an interstellar foe indeed wanted to wage war, I doubt we'd have a chance. (Of course, this begs the question of why we haven't already been overrun by marauding aliens.)
If a truly intergalactic civilization wanted (for whatever reason) to engage us in a George Lucas-style conflict, we'd likewise be at its mercy. We might not even recognize an intergalactic intelligence in our midst for the simple reason that it would belie even our best science fictional portrayals; it would probably seem less threatening than simply alien -- and loaded with all the existential implications that implies.
I am, of course, biased. I expect that confirmation of nonhuman intelligence -- should it occur -- will be a subtle, enigmatic process. The "first contact" scenario in "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- or even those in "Close Encounters" and "Contact" -- strike me as more "realistic" than some shock-and-awe assault from the depths of space.
Maybe I'm simply erring on the side of optimism. After all, the unseen aliens of "2001" and "Contact" have a vested interest in humanity's survival, and I'd certainly prefer to think beings more advanced than ourselves could bypass the all-too-human inclination for tribal warfare.
Someone like Hellyer could argue -- not entirely without justification -- that my predisposition to expect benevolent ETs is merely a way of dismissing fears of H.G. Wellsian conquest while elevating our own importance in the galactic hierarchy. And perhaps he'd be right.
But when I look at the night sky I'm not afraid -- at least, not in a xenophobic sense. And while I think the UFO phenomenon poses genuine challenges to our perception of life and intelligence in the Cosmos, I think it's childish and premature to equate the unknown with something as simple as an impending invasion by trigger-happy alien warlords.