Why won’t they just admit it?
It’s a question as old as Ufology itself, stretching all the way back to the alleged 1958 censoring of Donald Keyhoe on CBS.* What is so volatile about the flying saucer phenomenon that the public must be continually kept in the dark?
Immeasurable ink—both literal and, in this day-and-age, figurative in the form of blog and forum posts—has been spilled trying to parse the motivation behind such secrecy. Certainly, the longitudinal aspect of the conspiracy suggests there is a good reason. What other secret has the United States government managed to keep this close to their proverbial chest for this long?
I have no interest in recounting Ufologists’ various reasons why the government is so hesitant to disclose the reality of the UFO phenomenon. All suggestions are naturally filtered through a materialist framework, one that assumes the earthly powers-that-be are as omnipotent as the “extraterrestrials” themselves. Most suggest they fear the political fallout of implicating every sitting President since Truman in the nonconsensual abduction of millions of Americans.
“UFO researchers aren’t telling the government what they know about UFOs.” This little gem is a favorite of mine I learned from Greg Bishop. It may well be true. While I certainly empathize with this witticism over the notion that “The Government” knows “The Truth About Flying Saucers” and doesn’t want “Us” to know “The Secrets,” I think if we’re being completely honest, they must know more than most Ufologists. They have the resources. They have the interest.
At the same time, the lion’s share of unexplained aerial phenomena—after adjusting for misidentifications, unorthodox aircraft tests, and misunderstood natural phenomena—are typically associated with High Strangeness in a way that undermines the materialist Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH). Synchronicities, psi effects, and spiritual revelations—all of which strongly suggest we are not playing in the materialist sandbox—plague witnesses and abductees alike.**
If UFOs are indeed little green scientists in nuts-and-bolts spacecraft, there are plenty of apparent motivations behind the government’s secrecy: treaties with extraterrestrials, restricting access to exotic technology, etc. But if UFOs are metaphysical—more akin to spirit phenomena—then why keep their existence hidden?
Governments are built upon control, and, at the end of the day, the threat of physical violence upon the governed. This is Political Science 101—any violation of the law of the land, extrapolated far enough, will be met with physical consequences. It is the chief means by which government maintains order. Take, for example, something as mundane and harmless as parking tickets. Ignore enough and law enforcement will come to arrest you—resist officers, and certainly will use force to coerce you to come with them. Governments can act with impunity, including the perpetration of violence, should the system decree as much.***
Ergo, it is self-interest, the fear of physical repercussions, which keeps the citizenry in line. Yet the government is sovereign in the physical world only. As Christ said: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God's."
So what would happen if that same government admitted not only that UFOs were real, but their primary reality was non-physical? That they primarily resided in a realm our forefathers would have described as “spiritual”?****
How do you govern by threat of physical violence after admitting there is more to reality than our day-to-day existence? How does one assert sovereignty over the material world after refuting materialism (which, by logical extension, such an admission would)? If reality is composed partially (or mostly) of metaphysical planes of existence, and the governing class possesses no means of asserting metaphysical consequences or punishment to violators of its laws, it is effectively neutered. Our reality would be a sham; therefore, those seeking to control us within it are a sham.
“This world is not our home, so its rulers not our rulers.”
Irrefutable evidence of alternate or expanded realities—a logical conclusion if flying saucers were revealed as metaphysical—would basically concede the right of government to govern, in a philosophical sense. I wonder if (provided the ETH is incorrect) the primary reason behind UFO secrecy is control, about keeping human beings stuck in the mire of our mundane physical reality. *****
BONUS ROUND: BIGFOOT
Okay, since we’re on the subject: if Bigfoot is real, the government must know about that too, right? Setting aside the notion that they are metaphysical—in which case, Bigfoot secrecy shares the same motivation as UFO secrecy—why won’t North American governments come clean about the large, hairy hominids stalking the continent’s forests?
I submit for consideration the appalling, criminal track record North American governments, in particular the United States, has with First Nations people. Debate continues as to whether or not Bigfoot, if the species exists, is a man-like ape or an ape-like man; if the former, some have suggested disclosure of its existence would lead to an economic catastrophe, crippling the logging industry (shades of the 1990 Northern Spotted Owl controversy, where conserving the species’ habitat came into direct conflict with harvesting timber).
There is some merit to this idea, but I prefer a different theory. What if Bigfoot is an ape-like man? In that scenario, the U.S. government has failed to acknowledge a segment of the indigenous population and committed untold atrocities: selling off their land, failing to provide aid, and—if the Bigfoot community is to be believed—managing their population via cold-blooded murder.
Heck with sitting presidents authorizing alien experiments—can you imagine the political fallout from that?
*Aaron Gulyas, in his excellent podcast “The Saucer Life,” illustrated in Encounter 401 that Keyhoe’s censorship was largely exaggerated.
**I argue this point at length in my essay in UFOs: Reframing the Debate. It’s not quite required reading for this blog post, but almost.
***Though some may cry out that it sounds like I’m being a crypto-fascist, I’m not even saying this is a bad thing, really. The buck has to stop somewhere, and if people don’t have a moral imperative to abide by laws, then the government should intervene. In my uninformed opinion the problem is usually in the laws themselves, rather than their enforcement by force.
****Be it astral, interdimensional, quantum… whatever. A rose by any other name….
*****Some folks have suggested similar ideas surrounding the reality of the afterlife: that if the government acknowledged its existence, pandemonium would result from a populace now blasé about their physical existence.