If aliens visited earth, would they be like democrats or republicans? Are they liberals or conservatives? Are they capitalists or communists? Are they creatures with a Lockean respect for individual liberty, or are they fascists worse than Mussolini?
We're hoping if aliens visit earth, that they're libertarians. If they're not, we could be in big trouble.
But aliens don't exist, right?
There are over one-hundred-billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. According to NASA, each star, on average, has at least one planetary object orbiting it. Beyond our galaxy, there are hundreds of billions of other galaxies with countless numbers of stars.
It stands to reason that extraterrestrial life exists somewhere in the universe, based solely on the extraordinary numbers alone. In mathematics, there is The Law of Large Numbers. The chance of alien life increases with each earth-like planet in the universe.
Hubble Deep Field Image showing numerous galaxies
Many scientists, philosophers and great thinkers have pondered the existence of extraterrestrial life, even Christian theologians. Stephen Hawking and other astrophysicists have suggested that it's not a question of whether extraterrestrial life exists in the universe but of what alien life may look like.
Alien life may not resemble cinematic Hollywood depictions; they could be simple organisms, bacteria, or extremophile animals like the tardigrade, a virtually indestructible, microscopic creature that can survive in the vacuum of space.
Do aliens exist? We don't know for sure, but it is certainly possible.
Could Aliens Really Make it to Earth?
If intelligent extraterrestrial life existed, they would have had to solve several physics problems to travel to earth.
Intergalactic travel requires developing a mode of transportation that could far exceed the speed of light. If that feat is impossible, aliens must establish a method for bypassing the universal speed limit, such as Miguel Alcubierre's proposed warp drive, which bends space-time in a wave, propelling a vessel through space without it actually moving.
If aliens have mastered hyperspace travel, they would be far more intelligent than us. Our collective intellect has not yielded a vessel that can travel, within a human lifespan, to our closest star, Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light years away. (About 25.2 trillion miles from earth, 2.469e+13.)
Are Aliens Dangerous?
I watched a show years ago on Netflix where various scientists and astrophysicists gave their opinions on aliens and the possibility of intelligent life beyond earth.
The scientists assumed aliens would be dangerous for a few reasons. Having brains that have super-computing power would require a lot of chemical energy to function. As such, the most efficient way to power them would be to consume calorie-dense proteins like the flesh of animals (or humans?).
I question that presumption. If aliens are technologically superior enough to travel intergalactically, couldn't they have found an alternative, more peaceful way to power their enormous brains? Wouldn't they have developed a super calorie-dense substance like magical Elvish Lembas bread?
Another reason scientists assume aliens would be hostile is that they are traveling to earth in the first place. Making such an effort would indicate that the earth is of great value to them. Nobody would travel 700 million light-years just to visit us, would they?
I'm afraid I have to disagree. The aliens might be hostile, but traveling long distances does not indicate malicious intent. Before airplanes, people would voyage by boat for months to visit foreign lands. Sure, you had your Christopher Columbuses and Viking warlords, but not everyone wanted to sack, pillage, or take over the places they visited.
And if intergalactic travel is effortless for an advanced alien race, why would there be the presumption that traveling to earth would be some outstanding achievement? Would it really be that big of an accomplishment?
Maybe they're just tourists. I plan to visit Poland next year (if World War 3 doesn't occur), and I don't have any desire to overthrow their civilization. And it won't take that long to get there. 11 hours on an airplane is no problem.
We can't assume aliens would be hostile or peaceful. We can only hope they are friendly. Although, I would argue that they're more likely to be peaceful than hostile.
If an advanced alien race developed the means for hyperspace travel, they likely would have navigated through centuries of political thought. Governments would have been erected and toppled throughout the ages. Most likely, they would have created a free society that allows science and progress to flourish.
If the Enlightenment taught us anything, intellectual and technological advancement requires a certain level of freedom. We can hope that our new alien visitors are libertarians and not authoritarians.
Why would it be better if aliens were libertarians?
Libertarians believe in individual sovereignty and acknowledge the natural rights of all people. They believe unprovoked violence is not justifiable. You have a right to live, and the libertarian understands that.
Beyond that, libertarians believe in free markets and enterprise. If aliens are libertarians, we could establish intergalactic trade. Some old-school boomer aliens might look at the back of a product and angrily shout, "this was made on Earth!" but the intergalactic Silk Road would be a true wonder.
If aliens are libertarians, then aliens and humans can coexist in the universe peaceably. We can understand that, even though we are different, there is value in trading knowledge and goods. Plus, if they're libertarians, they'll have many cool guns we can try out at the range.
The universe would be an excellent place if aliens, and more people, were libertarians.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like, 'Nozick's Experience Machine: The Fallacy of Hedonism.'