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To aliens, human wisdom is unbelievable
Tom Purcell
Tom Purcell

Last week a whistleblower testified before Congress, alleging that federal officials have concealed evidence of unidentified flying objects from the public for decades.

I’m not sure why advanced beings would want to talk to us, but if they came today, I imagine their visit might go something like this:

“Take me to your leader!” the small, gray being with a large, lightbulb-shaped head says to me.

“He’s taking a nap,” I say. “We’re not sure he’s really in charge, anyhow.”

“Then take me to who is in charge,” says the alien.

“Nobody’s sure about that, either.”

“But I have important questions about your government and your people,” says the alien. “I wish to gather any wisdom that your people can teach me.”

After I stop laughing, I offer to do my best to help the creature understand human nature.

“Explain to me how your government works,” says the alien.

“I’m not sure anyone can fully explain that,” I say, “but I’ll give it a go.”

The alien nods, genuinely curious, and I continue.

“My country’s founders were very distrustful of government because they feared that some wicked humans would pursue government power to enrich themselves and to oppress their enemies. Such tyranny has been a common problem throughout human history.”

“That is a regrettable human trait?” asks the alien.

“For sure,” I say. “That’s why our founders established three branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — to ensure that no one branch would become too powerful. There are various limits and controls on the powers of each branch, but people in Washington keep trying to get around the concept, anyhow.”

“Can you provide an example?” asks the alien.

“Our president recently tried to use $430 billion in taxpayer funds to relieve college debts held by a key voting bloc. But our Constitution says that only the Congress, not the president, has the ability to appropriate funds. The Supreme Court rightly blocked the president’s scheme.”

“This is a very inefficient form of government,” says the alien.

“It is more inefficient than you can imagine,” I say. “We are a representative republic, which means we the people elect representatives who are supposed to make our government accountable to us.”

“Supposed to?” says the alien.

“Our government has gotten so big, a lot of it doesn’t seem to be accountable to anyone,” I say. “Take the money we spend on our defense. The Washington Examiner says the Pentagon has failed five audits and can only account for 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets.”

“Oh, my,” says the alien.

“It happens all the time,” I say. “Voters may vote for the legislators who write our laws, but once the laws are passed, they are interpreted by bureaucrats who create and impose all kinds of new costly regulations on our country. Nobody regulates the regulators. How’s that for the wisdom you want my people to teach you?”

“Look,” says the alien, glancing at the device strapped onto his wrist, “it’s been really great talking to you. But your galaxy is one of 2 trillion in existence. There surely has to be more-intelligent life out there than what I’m finding here.”

With that the alien jumps into a shiny round cylinder and disappears into the clouds,

“Come back!” I shout. “I didn’t even begin to tell you how much money human beings love to waste on war!”

Purcell, creator of the infotainment site, which features pet advice he’s learning from his beloved Labrador, Thurber, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. Email him