A new mainstream journalist joined the resistance today, dipping a toe into the entire UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena or UFOs) topic. Ezra Klein, opinion writer for the New York Times published a lengthy op-ed on the government’s interest in UAP and what the reaction would be from the world’s population if everyone was suddenly given incontrovertible evidence of extraterrestrial life or even alien technology. His article was originally titled “Our Aliens, Ourselves,” but it was later changed to the more pragmatic, “Even if You Think Discussing Aliens Is Ridiculous, Just Hear Me Out.” Klein starts off by providing a brief but well-crafted summary of all of the progress made on the UAP topic over the past few years and the increasing media coverage that it has received. He also points to the long-awaited UAP Task Force report that is due to be delivered to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee next month.
After that, Klein goes on a lengthy exploration of a question that so many of us have attempted to tackle over the years. What would happen to the world as we know it if we finally had confirmation that we are not alone in the universe and other non-human intelligences have been visiting our world or at least sending their technology here? How does that change human culture and society? His first conclusion is that there would be a collapse in trust in the United States Government. (But let’s be honest. How much trust do they still have to lose?) After that, he shares the opinions of several people, each gauging how humanity might react, with some predicting that we would fall to bickering over the alien’s technology or simply shrugging off the news and getting on with our lives. Then he finishes up on a more hopeful note.
A more cohesive understanding of ourselves as a species, and our planet as one ecosystem among others, might lead us to take more care with what we already have, and the sentient life we already know. The loveliest sentiment I came across while doing this (admittedly odd) reporting was from Agnes Callard, a philosopher at the University of Chicago. “You also asked how we should react,” she said over email. “I guess my preferred reaction would be for the knowledge that someone was watching to inspire us to be the best examples of intelligent life that we could be.”
I recognize this is a treacly place to end up: evidence of extraterrestrial life, or even surveillance, reminding us of what we should already know. But that doesn’t make it less true.
The most remarkable thing about reading this essay is the fact that Klein put it onto the pages of the New York Times at all. There was time, back before 2017, when if Ezra Klein had published a piece like this he might very well have lost his job. But now the dam seems to have broken and we owe most of the credit for this to people like Lue Elizondo and Chris Mellon. We also should tip our hats to the New York Times who fired the first shot in this battle more than three years ago.
As to Klein’s assessment of how the world might change in the days following some indisputable disclosure of UAP reality, I’ve gone back and forth on the subject repeatedly. I don’t see the world suddenly going mad in some replay of the War of the Worlds fiasco. I think some people would continue to deny the possibility, thinking that it’s all some giant hoax. Others, as already mentioned, might find it interesting briefly and then get on with their lives.
But that’s only if we found some piece of technology. What if we ran into actual aliens? (Understanding that many people believe we already have repeatedly.) I think the response would depend entirely on what the aliens turned out to be doing here. Did they come to invade and take over our planet? Are they trying to help us and prevent us from destroying ourselves? Or are they just scientists observing the marginally clever monkey-people they discovered on the third rock from the sun? Some have suggested that the world’s religions would collapse after people learned that there had been a Second Genesis, if not billions of them. I rather doubt it. I tend to agree with Brother Guy Consolmagno, who Klein quotes in the article. Most people would simply say “of course” and adapt their belief systems and views to this new information.
In any event, I primarily wanted to share Klein’s article with all of you as yet another example of the ripple effect we’re observing when it comes to the UAP topic. This subject is mainstream now and the United States government would have a very hard time trying to put the genie back in the bottle at this point.