Skip to comments.Extraterrestrials, American Exceptionalism, and the Left-Right Gap (Dems tend to believe in ET)
Posted on 12/29/2010 10:10:06 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Its no surprise that liberals and conservatives see our world in starkly different terms, but they also display contrasting views toward other worlds, generally disagreeing about the possibilities of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
These clashing opinions on extraterrestrials amount to more than a trivial split on an arcane topic; they connect, in fact, both logically and emotionally to big conflicts over worldview, culture, politics and Americas role in history.
In Colorado, these conflicts erupted in a recent battle over a proposed Denver commission to investigate visitations from alien life forms. Initiative 300 won enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November 2010 but lost in a landslide, with conservatives leading the derision of the ET Initiative, as a loony waste of taxpayer money. The chief support for greater transparency regarding sightings and encounters came from the citys Bohemian left, with advocates proudly citing the interest in flying saucers from liberal icons like Jimmy Carter and John Podesta, Bill Clintons former chief of staff.
Polls show that Americans remain closely divided on attitudes toward extraterrestrials, with a 2008 Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll reporting 56% who believe it is very likely or somewhat likely that intelligent life has developed in other worlds. Self-described Democrats (according to the same survey) are far more likely to say they have personally seen visitors from another world than are their Republican counterparts, who remain distinctly skeptical.
These differences stem in part from religious convictions, with conservatives far more likely to uphold traditional approaches to the Bible and organized faith. While nothing in Scripture explicitly denies the possibility of life in distant galaxies, the Biblical account of directed creation makes it far easier to accept the notion that this small, inhabited planet is alone in the universe.
Liberals, on the other hand, profess wider acceptance of the idea that earthly life emerged through random forces and happy accidents; therefore, the existence of stars and potential planets into the billions suggests that that similar coincidences would produce advanced life forms somewhere else.
The differing views on extraterrestrial intelligence stem from a core argument about the presence (or absence) of higher purpose, of supernatural direction in our existence on earth.
That same dispute divides liberals and conservatives regarding the rise and the role of the United States. On the right, theres a much stronger tendency to credit the notion of America as a heaven rescued land (in the words of The Star Spangled Banner), and to see evidence of Divine favor in the emergence of the worlds most powerful civilization in a corner of North America which, a mere 400 years ago, counted as perhaps the least developed portion of the planet.
For liberals, however, the idea that God decreed prosperity and prominence for the United States smacks of swaggering jingoism, and imperialist arrogance. They are far more likely to see Americas success as the result of good luck, or even rapacity and ruthlessness, rather than the consequence of Providential intervention.
One of the moments most emotional debates centers on the related notion of American exceptionalism: does our country represent a uniquely blessed, beneficial development in human history, or a flawed nation state like many others, displaying a maddening mix of admirable and appalling characteristics? A recent Gallup poll asked respondents whether other nations of the world should follow Americas example: Republicans overwhelming said yes while Democrats split evenly on the proposition.
Conservatives felt outraged when President Obama declared that he believes in American exceptionalism only in the same sense the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. As Sarah Palin sneers in her new book, America By Heart, Which is to say, he doesnt believe in American exceptionalism at all. He seems to think it is just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life.
While neither Obama nor Palin has ever provided definitive discourse on their view of life on other worlds, its easy to imagine the president maintaining a more open attitude than the former Alaska governor. If you believe that the United States is utterly unique in human history, an unprecedented and potently purposeful experiment under higher power protection, then it follows that earth itself enjoys similarly singular status, freakishly favored within a lonely universe. On the other hand, the suspicion that America counts as only the latest in a long succession of rising and falling world powers can easily co-exist with assumptions that our planet joins countless other centers of intelligent life in a teeming cosmos.
A liberal slant in politics or policy doesnt make you an automatic believer in extraterrestrial visitors, any more than a conservative worldview compels the insistence that human beings will never discover other-worldly counterparts. But an impassioned affirmation of American exceptionalism naturally connects to comparable assumptions of earthly exceptionalism, and helps define one of the most significant but least noted divisions defining the current gulf between right and left.
Not only do liberals BELIEVE in fairy tales they ACT on their beliefs and get Conservative taxpayers to pay for whatever the liberal fancies.
I seriously doubt we have been visited by them ...me too. If nothing else than the general vastness of space prevents a simple hop-skip-and a jump over to the nearest planet / star.
nor do I believe we will ever have interactions with them ...me too. IF they're smart enough to overcome the hurdles of distance and time, then I'd imagine they'd not be interested in anything we might have to contribute. For instance, I'd imagine that you've not tried talking to the ants in your driveway anytime recently. I know that I haven't. :-)
Nice to be on the same wavelength as someone. lol!
I really hope there is intelligent life in space... because there sure as hell isn’t any here on Earth!
Funny the people(Democrats) who belive in UFOs being space aliens also belive barack obama is a legitimate natural-born American citizen.
Right now it seems the obama conspiracy is more damaging to the U.S.
Hell, we have a whole UFO-rapture-ready contingent here on FR! (We’re just one more UFO or earthquake away from the rapture!)
I propose another root cause for the difference in the belief in extraterrestrial intelligence and specifically alien visitations. There is likely a better understanding of fundamental principles of math & science on the right as a lot of your lefties were educated in liberal arts colleges where math stops at Algebra II and Intro to Geometry.
As a conservative with an engineering background I think I have a better grasp of the technical problems associated with long-duration space flights. While I allow for the possibility of a great leap in scientific insight that might invalidate my opinion, I think that it's exceedingly unlikely that UFO's represent alien spacecraft visiting our planet. You're average Lefty believes that the oil industry has been hiding technology (at Area 51, no doubt) about an automobile engine that will get 100 mpg on tap water. It is this ignorance that has allowed our energy policies to become badly distorted.
In recent years I’ve arrived at the decision that we’re better off not finding “intelligent” life.
For a race wishing to move beyond their home planet, intelligent life is a horrible find. A planet with intelligent life would be a planet off limits to settlement.
What we need is life we can eat, air we can breathe, and water we can drink.
Yep. Freeman Dyson had much the opinion as yours, except in reverse. Google "Dyson Sphere".
Roughly, his thought was we'd not heard from other lifeforms because they're all buttoned up and hiding from the REALLY big bad guys in the universe.
Not a happy thought, but just as valid as all the others on this thread.
Yes, you are correct on both points, we have a winner.
As you well know all of your statments are true.
So you know I am not a dem? Thanks,
Can you provide a piece of one?
How can anyone look at James Carville and NOT believe in aliens?
I'd not even give them that much credit.
Figure that these are people who tout totally impractical boondoggles such as solar and wind power, with no understanding at all of how electricity is generated, how it gets to their house, or what happens when they turn something on. "The three prong thingie needs to match up with the holes in the wall" is the extent of their understanding.
For instance, I've been looking forward to what California's electric car mandate will do to their already overtaxed-and-prone-to-brownouts grid. Especially, when they're not allowed to add stable sources of power (think coal, gas, nuke...."wind" doesn't count) to the grid to help.
While I do think that this Colorado initiative to create a panel dedicated to greeting extraterrestial life is an absurd waste of tax dollars and I absolutely would of voted against it, I do tend to believe in ‘Ancient Astronaut’ theory.
While I of course do not have all of the answers I find ancient works such as the pyramids and other megalithic works, the Holy Bible and other ancient texts, and other ancient anomolies to lead towards alien visitation as being the most simplistic and logical answer.
Honestly I think that you will find a fairly equal share of conservatives and leftists who believe that this planet was visited by some other life form but you will still find the most kooks on the left by far who will exaggerate their knowledge on the issue.
Stupid question doesn’t deserve an answer, but google ufo washington dc 1952 and read some of the other google terms then decide or hide for yourself.
Here you go moroon.
‘Mile-wide UFO’ spotted by British airline pilot
Last updated at 15:52pm on 22.06.07
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One of the largest UFOs ever seen has been observed by the crew and passengers of an airliner over the Channel Islands.
An official air-miss report on the incident several weeks ago appears in Pilot magazine.
Aurigny Airlines captain Ray Bowyer, 50, flying close to Alderney first spotted the object, described as “a cigar-shaped brilliant white light”.
Aurigny Airlines captain Ray Bowyer, 50, described what he thought to be a UFO as ‘a cigar-shaped brilliant white light’, similar to the image supplied by Dennis Plunket of the British Flying Saucer bureau
As the plane got closer the captain viewed it through binoculars and said: “It was a very sharp, thin yellow object with a green area.
“It was 2,000ft up and stationary. I thought it was about 10 miles away, although I later realised it was approximately 40 miles from us. At first, I thought it was the size of a [Boeing] 737.
“But it must have been much bigger because of how far away it was. It could have been as much as a mile wide.”
Continuing his approach to Guernsey, Bowyer then spied a “second identical object further to the west”.
He said: “It was exactly the same but looked smaller because it was further away. It was closer to Guernsey. I can’t explain it. This was clearly visual for about nine minutes.
“I’m certainly not saying that it was something of another world. All I’m saying is that I have never seen anything like it before in all my years of flying.”
The sightings were confirmed by passengers Kate and John Russell. John, 74, said: “I saw an orange light. It was like an elongated oval.”
The sightings were also confirmed by an unnamed pilot with the Blue Islands airline.
The Civil Aviation Authority safety notice states that a Tri-Lander aircraft flying close to Alderney spotted the object.
“Certain parts of the report have not been published. I cannot say why,” said a senior CAA source.
Earlier this year, however, the MOD declared its intentions to open its UFO files to the public
Regardless of one’s opinions about UFOs, from a quality of writing perspective I have rarely seen a more desperately contrived argument and article... /g