Would Anyone Be Surprised if Aliens Landed?
Today we live in a media-saturated culture. And much of that media is saturated with aliens. Will Smith alone has starred in four space invader films, contributing to a genre which never seems to get old. Is it therefore any wonder that a 2010 Reuters poll found that 20% of people worldwide believe that aliens walk among us?
With aliens and UFOs so prominent in the public consciousness, would their arrival or official disclosure of their presence really shock the world? In many ways, we seem to have braced ourselves for the news. The Vatican addressed the possibility a few years back. Files declassified by the British government in recent years indicate that law enforcement and the military have taken the potential threat of alien invasion seriously. Public and private institutions seem increasingly positioned to roll with the revelation.
However, this author doubts there will be any such test of public order soon. As The Raw Story goes on to reference in their article about Mr. Smith's trip to Washington, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy issued an official denial last September, stating that the United States government "has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race."
There are good reasons to believe that to be true. Aside from the lack of compelling evidence to the contrary, human nature is such that disclosure tends to prevail over secrecy. The potential to profit from knowledge of extraterrestrial life and technology could not be effectively contained, as the vast business in UFO novelty and lore attests. Governments just aren't that good at keeping earth-shattering secrets, and would benefit far more from the politicization of first contact --presented either as a common enemy or an inspiration to unity -- than by keeping the reality of alien life a secret.
Nevertheless, true believers go on unswayed and Hollywood magicians continue to imagine a universe where we are not alone. Given the trend, if contact is made, chances are it will be far less dramatic than the War of the Worlds panic of 1938.