Welcome back to the Trenchant edges, I’m your host Stephen and we sift through fringe bullshit to find the stuff that’s worth knowing.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 54 seconds. Contains 1382 words
At least, in theory. This week feels like it’s been a lot more bullshit than worth knowing, but hey, thems the breaks sometimes.
Especially when you’re just surveying a field rather than hunting someone who’s actually got something to say with some meat on it.
So, slinking away from any kind of real meat, let’s dunk on some bullshit!
Disclosure: UFOlogy’s Diet Apocalypse
This was literally the first google image I found for the phrase “Alien disclosure” and I feel like it’s perfect.
I cropped out the author’s name of this Amazon book because, well, I don’t care about them. And nobody really enjoys having their prophecies thrown back in their own face after they continue to be totally bunk.
This kind of thing is a pretty good quick money maker if you’re credulous enough or amoral enough to take advantage of a perennial bestseller market.
But first, I suppose, is the question What Is Disclosure?
Simply put: The End of the Government lying about UFOs and/or the existence of aliens.
Interestingly, it’s a topic that’s worth discussing even if no aliens have visited Earth or been captured or who have conquered us.
Because regardless of what UFOs are, the US government has repeatedly used them to muddy waters around classified information and secret programs.
The usual narrative around disclosure is that at some point the government will reverse its 70-year-old policy of denial about aliens and reveal to the world we’re not alone in the universe, and this will set off a chain of chaos that will either lead to massive reforms or maybe even the destruction of our government.
Because people will be so pissed.
A researcher I think at least might have some interesting things to say on UFOs on the whole wrote a book in 2012 about “After Disclosure” and tries to put a grounded spin on it all:
Now, a little digging into Richard suggests he’s had a rough few years having gone full Trumper in the 2016 election and getting kinda burned by the guy after a year or two in office.
His four points here are all… surprisingly trite. Like, I know he’s going for something grounded here but these points are pretty shallow even in principle.
First, I don’t think we’ll see Watergate-style hearings because congress will not be seen as having the legitimacy to investigate this. We’ll probably see some godawful space billionaires put together a review panel instead.
We’ve been having “high tech 1960s” decades like…. 3 or 4 or 6 in a row now.
And, yeah, the class action lawsuit and textbooks needing to be changed are probably true.
So that’s what Disclosure is all about. Speculating on how it will play out, what people’s reactions will be, and so on.
My Disclosure Hot Take
I’d like to suggest a different model from the somewhat Hollywood vision of chaos usually sloped out.
The Panama Papers.
If you’ve forgotten or didn’t know, The Panama papers more or less confirmed that the global wealthy elites are committing complex white-collar crimes to hide and protect their money. A whole mess of world figures were connected to it. Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a fucking car bomb because of her work getting them out.
And what’s happened as a result?
Some vague murmurs of rage in the US that evaporated immediately and a few limited attempts at reform around the globe.
People just kinda shrugged it off like, “Yeah, I kind of always expected that to be true.” Hell, I felt that way. It was vindicating and then it was gone.
And I think most versions of how alien disclosure might go would play out the same way.
Let’s take three scenarios: The Minimum Disclosure, The Happy Disclosure, and The Bad Disclosure
Scenario #1: The Minimum Disclosure
In Scenario #1, there are no aliens, nobody in the US government really knows what UFOs are, but they’ve been either running secret projects to learn more or come clean about using UFOs for counter-intelligence.
One place where I’ve always agreed with UFO paranoia is the assumption that the US government has conducted covert UFO research. Simply put, the pot of gold on the end of that rainbow is WAY too rich for a state to really ignore that possibility, even if it’s only a one-in-a-billion chance of producing a breakthrough technology.
Consider space-launch: Currently, it costs an average of $10,000 per pound to put an object into space.
200lb person? That’s $1,000,000 just to move them from the earth’s surface to space. Space X supposedly has this down to $1,800/lb, but that’s still a hefty price tag.
Now imagine anti-gravity technology is real.
Presuming it doesn’t require something ridiculous like a dedicated nuclear reactor and a literal cable, all of a sudden that’s zero cost for going into space.
Completely topples the tyranny of the rocket equation modern spaceflight is built around.
That’s not a billion-dollar advantage. That’s a multi-trillion dollar edge. Anyone who has it will immediately win space.
So if studying UFOs and maybe aliens has any nonzero probability of a technology similar to that, it’s worth a few million or billion a year just in case.
There’s probably tens of thousands of documents that could be released.
These probably would have a fairly negligible effect on society, just like the Area 51 disclosures a decade ago did.
At best we’d get Church Committee hearings to blame some people and mostly absolve the system and continue it, just like we did when MK Ultra and all the CIA’s coups came to light in the 1970s.
Scenario #2: The Happy Disclosure
Unlike #1, this is a civilization-changing possibility.
There are aliens on earth! And they want to share technology that will solve all our technical problems and not muck around too much in our politics (ignoring that contradiction, wink).
Any civilization capable of traveling across space and time to reach another point in the physical universe is probably capable of a TON of other shit as well.
I think of this as the J Posadas option.
In practical terms, this is pretty much just the rapture only with alien messiahs and happening in the physical world.
Things will get pretty weird after this even by our standards as a bunch of people have to figure out how to live in a utopia.
Scenario #3: The Bad Disclosure
OK so in this one it’s maybe similar to #2, except for the little fact that we’re conquered and colonized. Maybe we’ve been under alien rule for decades or centuries and this is just a, “welcome to the empire” party.
My current favorite idea for this is Aliens showing up shortly after radio signals started beaming into space and uplifting us enough so that they can turn the entire world into a bitcoin mining operation.
Sucks for everyone, but oddly poetic for Europe and America.
The good news is daily life probably won’t change since empires usually rule the most effectively with local puppet regimes. So, we’ll at least get to keep Joe Biden.
Ok, so it’s kind of cheating to say our options are “Stay the same”, “get better”, and “get worse.”
But that just highlights the problem with this discussion. “Disclosure” is a singularity. We can’t have certain knowledge of what would happen after it because there’s no way to have certain knowledge about what the many details of what’s being disclosed, how it’s disclosed, and how people would react to it.
The UFO community still feels the way they did in 2008: In a holding pattern hoping either someone finds some perfect overwhelming evidence or for the government to just come in and clear everything up in one fell swoop.
Both of those options seem so unlikely at this point that I can only describe them as “nonzero”. Sure, they’re not technically impossible but…
All this said, I don’t think we can really understand the paranoid edge between the UFO community and the US government without a discussion of how our national security apparatus actually works and how it developed.
Which is a story not discussed enough given its overwhelming impact on the behavior of the US government and thus all of our lives.