Silver and Gold, 'Star Trek,' and the Truth About E.T.

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Several years
ago, I remember reading an historical analysis of alien movies
and other popular media, with an interesting conclusion that went
something like this: With a few notable exceptions, during times
of war, widespread geopolitical strife or general oppression or
misery, E.T. is generally depicted in popular media as a benevolent
visitor, yet in times of peace or general prosperity, E.T. is
instead portrayed as a merciless invader. The study tracked several
cycles back and forth from aliens being good guys and bad guys,
saviors or slavers. I suppose Orwell might have a thing or two
to say about that, as would any political skeptic: the masses
must have an enemy (even if it is imaginary and lives beyond the
stars) in order to keep them "united for the common good"
and their attentions diverted from the sleight-of-hand (or "mouth"
as it were).

In fact,
there is some pretty credible evidence that the entire sci-fi
domain (at least insofar as films are concerned) is nothing if
not a gentle, alluring introduction to the monstrous tenets of
Karl Marx and his deplorable Communism. Take Star Trek, for instance
(since a new movie is coming soon — Here I give my apologies in
advance to Star Trek fans. My intent is not to taint or diminish
your enjoyment of those productions, but rather to leverage certain
facts to make what I believe is an interesting conclusion).

By most accounts,
very entertaining films, but the undercurrent is this: Mankind
has found the workers' paradise, the mythical Utopia. There are
no wars, at least not with each other, but only with villainous
sub-species who are thinly veiled metaphors for those ugly creatures
who would reject Marxist and Neo-Marxist ideologies of the politburo-esque
("vanguard of the people"), The Federation. There are
no possessions either because the proletariat dance in their magical
gardens of abundance whether they work or not. This is all due
to the technological discoveries of free energy and energy-to-matter
conversions. Basically, resources are infinite, so there is no
want or need or strife.

We've all
laughed at the quote that "if the government managed the
deserts, there'd be a sand shortage within a decade," but
interestingly, in order to successfully operate a communist state
(or any statist form or government), one actually must have infinite
resources to squander because no finite amount can be enough for
the waste and corruption that ensues. Thus, I do suppose that
futuristic, high science fiction with infinite resources is indeed
the proper platform for Marx's cultist filth.

Oh yeah,
and there's also no money in Star Trek, which brings me to the
point of this note. Yep, this is where I tie it all together,
gold, Star Trek, E.T., productivity, and dark ages, all in a single
piece, with a common thread and some semblance of coherence. And
it's rather interesting, too, because I'm about to tell you something
you've never heard before. I'm going to answer, with great authority,
the mystery that biologist, astrophysicists, cosmologists, average
Joe's and sci-fi writers of all stripes have pondered to no avail
for many years. I'm going to tell you, a priori, what E.T. is
really, really like, and absolutely, unequivocally whether E.T.
will be friend or foe, and that's not a jest. I can do so with
inductive reasoning constructed from eternal truths of the universe,
whereas the pros try to use deductive reasoning (or whim) that
is virtually certain to produce incorrect solutions. Moreover,
they are all looking in the wrong places for their deductions,
because the answer to this mystery starts with the seemingly benign
concept in Star Trek, mirroring the petulant tantrums of Lenin,
in which money no longer exists.

First, I
can tell you, unequivocally, that E.Ts., unlike captains of the
Enterprise, have money, and they use it every day for almost every
transaction, and they make a lot of transactions. Further, the
money will almost certainly be a rare, metallic element, such
as gold or silver, or an indestructible, painstakingly created
alloy.

I know this
because the full spectrum of investigation into the matter does
not end with Hubble, the patentably absurd Drake equation, or
the wisecracking goof, Carl Sagan. Rather, it is rational figures
from Aristotle to Adam Smith who have guaranteed this aspect will
be evident.

For example,
[I paraphrase from a John Lee economics article]
Aristotle discovered, formulated, and analyzed the problem of
commensurability (how to compensate another and therefore make
a fair transaction). He wondered how ratios for a fair exchange
of heterogeneous things could be set. He searched for a principle
that makes it possible to equate what is apparently unequal and
non-comparable. E.g., how does one compare apples to oranges?
Or decide whether the go to school or to work? Well, it's all
but impossible (or I should say quite inefficient and uncertain)
without money.

Aristotle
claimed that money, as a common measure of everything, makes things
commensurable and makes it possible to equalize (or relatively
value) them. He states that it is in the form of money, a substance
that has a telos (purpose), that individuals have devised a unit
that supplies a measure on the basis of which just exchange can
take place. Aristotle thus maintained that everything can be expressed
in the universal equivalent of money. He explained that money
was introduced to satisfy the requirement that all items exchanged
must be comparable in some way.

Most people
take money for granted, like air, and very few truly stop to think
about the importance of money for society. It is more important
than the invention of the wheel, and even more important than
a written language. For example, without money, what we know of
today as trade, but really any imaginable transaction between
individuals (whether human or alien), would be quite nearly prohibitively
expensive, whether buying things, going to work, or getting married
and raising children. Of course, Adam Smith (a great villain to
communists), revolutionized the world with an economic framework
that accounted for true productivity and rise from poverty with
what he described as division of labor, today termed as comparative
advantage. In effect, if you are good at growing grain, while
your neighbor is good at mending appliances, you can leverage
the optimal skills of both through trade. This comparative advantage
results in revolutionary amplification of productivity on a grand
scale, and it is what prosperity is all about. We can all master
every field of endeavor, merely by devoting ourselves to one field
and trading for the skills, labor, and talent of others.

Of course,
comparative advantage cannot exist for long without a sound, honest
currency. In a word: money. Accordingly, without money, the human
race would never, no matter how long one observes, evolve even
to hunter-gatherer state, much less to agrarian society. The same
applies to E.T., and last time I checked, it would take a highly
advanced, productive, and wealthy society to conceive and accomplish
a flight of light-years through empty space to visit our blue
planet. Yet, without money, there is no such thing as an advanced,
productive, and wealthy society, and probably not really even
a "society" at all.

Hence, E.T.
must have money, which appears to be an immutable requirement.
Furthermore, the money must be "honest" such as gold
or silver, rather than irredeemable fiat promises to pay or any
form of debt-based money. Our own history is rife with examples
of the failures of paper money going back to 600AD. They all collapse,
and with them the underlying society or civilization. Civilizations
that turn to paper money simply do not last long enough: on average
a mere 39 years, which is not long enough for a civilization to
develop the technological and productive wherewithal to start
exploring space. And with each collapse, they must rebuild anew,
sometimes from scratch, like our own Dark Ages circa 500AD to
1500AD. A THOUSAND YEARS to recover just to the standard of living
that previously existed before Rome debased its currency and imploded
thereafter, while Constantinople stood throughout with the rock-solid,
honest, gold Bezant.

So I can
practically guarantee that when E.T. does land in the UFO, he/she/it
will have silver coins in its pockets with a lovely profile of
some antennae beauty, and further, being a refined diplomat and
all, will display great tact to avoid laughing out loud at our
demonstrably ignoramus notions of paper money. I can also tell
you that E.T. will decidedly NOT say "take me to your leader."

You see,
that phrase is the tyrant's vision, not the hallmark of a free
society, where individuals decide their own course and are not
the property of the state, the government, or "the leader."
Moreover, it takes a free society to have peace, prosperity, and
liberty — you know, the ideals behind the Declaration of Independence
and the U.S. Constitution. Only a free society, with the notions
of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government will
ever, ever, ever rise to the level of space exploration and beyond.
With very few exceptions, government does not ever produce anything
of worth, much less innovate great technological advances. That
is all done in a free market by private individuals and entrepreneurs,
unhampered by government regulation. Government does, however,
destroy these things, most times quite effectively with high taxation,
heavy regulation, and bribes to the politically well-connected;
or as Mises famously stated, "Government is essentially the
negation of liberty" which means the negation of prosperity,
the negation of peace, and the negation of great civilizations
and accomplishments.

No, our E.T.
friend will not come from a "Federation" or some government-sponsored
entity, but will be a trader or explorer with great curiosity,
and also great kindness and benevolence, having been reared by
a free, prosperous, and peaceful society that disdains intervention
and coercion. If any of those elements are not present in E.T.'s
host civilization: freedom (which is a prerequisite for), prosperity,
and peace, E.T. will never, not ever get off the ground to find
us across the vastness of space. We certainly have nothing to
fear from belligerent, totalitarian races out there (e.g., the
Borg). They will never get off their own planet, not alive anyway,
even if they do evolve to something higher than an ant colony.

May
12, 2009

John
Bowman [send him mail]
lives in Washington State.

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