L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 288, September 12, 2004
"We don't trust our own government"
The Truth is Out There
Special to TLE
Because I have a very busy schedule, I attend very few events outside of those related to my job or politics. I do, however, make exceptions for things I think I might really enjoy. For example, a few weeks ago, I went to an Alice Cooper concert (for the record, yes, I had a great time, and yes, even in his mid-50's, Alice still rocks). More recently, I was in the audience for a talk on UFO's. Now, I know these things are a little odd, but such things entertain me and that was the sole reason for my attendance at both of these venues.
Despite my best knowledge at the time, it's turned out that both of these things were beyond entertaining; they both ended up having a significant relationship to politics as well. In the case of the Alice Cooper concert, most of you have doubtless seen Mr. Cooper's recently publicized comments concerning rock stars and politics. I confess to being both amused and delighted by his words. Meanwhile, the politics involved in the UFO talk were more subtle, but the implications far broader. When I reflected on those implications further, I also found them to be quite a bit scarier than Alice Cooper, even in full make-up.
The man who spoke about the UFO's is well educated and from a science-based organization (the Center for UFO Studies). He himself doesn't claim to have ever witnessed a UFO, but he talked of the anecdotal evidence as well as presented a brief video clip of an engineer making claims about what he himself had seen some years ago. He told the audience that "we are not alone," and that many UFO's are, indeed, of extraterrestrial origin. To that point, his talk was much as I had expected it to be. I was both intrigued and entertained.
I looked around the room to gauge the reaction of others to the speech. While everyone appeared attentive, some people looked amused. Others looked utterly fascinated. The audience seemed to me to be split right along the lines one might see in any random segment of the general public when queried on the topic of UFO's: a group apparently divided into skeptics, believers, and those who'd really like to believe but who hadn't seen enough evidence yet to feel comfortable doing so.
Then the speaker told of meeting a man who had worked for the federal government in connection with UFO's. The man claimed his job had been that of "disinformation," and he advised he had worked in an official capacity to discredit any witnesses or such evidence as might be found. When this kind of job description is joined to the military and other authoritative cover-ups that have been alleged for years, it's apparent we can only assume a conspiracy of significant proportion underwritten by the federal government itself.
I looked around the room again. And whether anyone thought that little green men had visited earth or not, it was obvious that just about everyone there did believe that the government would pay people to discredit and misinform the American public. I saw people in the audience actually nodding when the speaker talked about that government employee being paid to hide the truth even at the expense of ruining reputations.
There are, of course, plenty of conspiracies to go around. Those connected with UFO's are merely some of the more widespread. Was the CIA involved in the assassination of President John F. Kenndy? Some people think so. I've personally received e-mails from people asking what I know about chemtrails and what I think of them. There are those who believe that Timothy McVeigh was a government agent whose actions in Okalahoma City were ordered; there are reputable people who think that McVeigh was guilty but that there was also an extensive government cover-up as to accomplices and foreknowledge of the bombing. The US Navy's low frequency active sonar project - LFAS - was alleged to be damaging to marine life prior to its testing and deployment. Many now say that's been shown to be the case despite earlier dismissals of such conspiracy theories, and that merely lends credence to other conspiracy theories out there. After all, if one can be ridiculed and turn out to be the truth, then couldn't the same be the case with others?
Personally, I think that definitive proof that UFO's are of extra-terrestrial origin would be such a major discovery that it would be almost impossible to quash. Such a discovery could be declared as "Top Secret" as officialdom might wish, and word would still get out. The more people who knew about such a thing, the sooner the revelation would occur. And to date, the conspiracy theorists have it that many, many people - particularly those in the military as well as high-ranking government officials - do know. So I have a difficult time imagining that the stories would be kept secret for long let alone for upwards of fifty years. In short, while I have no problem believing that the government might try a cover-up in connection with such evidence, I can't imagine it would be successful over the long term.
I explained that opinion to another member of the UFO audience after the presentation was over. He agreed that such a cover-up wouldn't be successful, but pointed out that it hasn't been. After all, the rumors of Area 51 and its reverse-engineering projects on "flying saucers" won't go away despite government denials and ridicule (a former employee there has come forward only to be accused of lying, exaggeration, and worse; his story, despite the damage it's caused him personally, hasn't changed and many believe him). More and more witnesses to the incidents in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico have gone public to say they were threatened by the military to keep quiet. And people like the man from CUFOS are keeping very, very busy schedules these days.
I can't say that government cover-ups, whichever of them do exist, don't matter. They do. And I can't dismiss all of the so-called conspiracy theories out of hand, though I readily admit some strain credulity with or without the help of "disinformation officers." But there's a phenomenon here that I think government officialdom should worry about a whole lot more than any conspiracy theory real or imagined, and that is this: whether there is an active disinformation effort ongoing in any given instance or not; whether there are lies and cover-ups being created and upheld or not; and whether American citizens are being killed or threatened in connection with such matters or not; the salient point is that a significant majority of us believe that such is the case. In a nutshell, we don't trust our own government, and we trust our individual politicians and military authorities even less.
Harry Truman said, "Secrecy and a free, democratic government don't mix." And while there's no doubt that Mr. Truman understood the idea of secrecy in connection with specific military matters, his maxim brings a valid point to the fore. Whatever our politics may be, and whatever conspiracies we may personally find believable, it can be no secret that there's some clean-up needed in Washington. Whether it's individual politicians or policies that need to be swept away, the most important thing is that we recognize the dirt for what it is and that we apply ourselves to removing it as quickly as we can.
But sadly, perhaps the ultimate cover-up is our own. We lament that things are the way they are, yet we repeat the same motions that brought us our current circumstances. We should all be asking ourselves why it is that we acknowledge "all politicians lie," yet we repeatedly vote for the same professional politicians when the time comes. Government denials may be something we know about and even expect; how is it that we've also come to accept them? And far worse than that, how is it that we repeatedly excuse our own denials of truth?
If we truly want to take our freedom back, and if we ever want to have respect and trust for our politicians and government again, we must not only acknowledge the facts; we must act on them. Though there are conspiracy theories now popping up on the Internet that voting itself could soon be denied us, for the moment those are just more unbelievable accusations. They'll stay that way if we take action for real change while we still can.
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