Click to Subscribe
Search
Interview with an Extraterrestrial Anthropologist
On Foreign Affairs and American Residency
In this piece, the transcript of a conversation with a young man from five years ago, I said, offhand, that the U.S. would want to stay in Afghanistan in order to control the heroin trade. Last year a returning veteran told me that this drug was being shipped into Maryland and Delaware from "The Stan." This is not much to go on. But with our recent apocalyptic levels of heroin addiction in Baltimore, with nearly 2,000 unclaimed bodies a year left unclaimed after overdoses, I asked a friend in the know to look into it. His article should appear later this week.
The following is the reprint of a blog piece I did this past fall in 2012. Being aggressively interviewed by a teenager was an unexpected exprience that I rushed right home and documented. It was this conversation that first convinced me that it was time I admitted to my alien nature.
The Innerpost of Empire
Today I was approached by a teenager who sees himself as being at odds with the world. He knows me to be a writer and decided to pick my brain about a wide variety of issues. At the end of our conversation, after he had declared me to be surprisingly moderate on religion and culture, and frighteningly obtuse musically, he finally turned to what concerns his father, international affairs. I prefaced this final stage of our conversation with, “You are about to understand why my family and friends are uncomfortable with my worldview, which might ultimately be the reason I write.”
“So, what do you think we should do in Iraq?”
“We? I am not in Iraq. We are not in Iraq thank God.”
“As a Citizen of the United States do you think we should pull out of Iraq by Twenty-fourteen?”
“I regard the affairs of Iraq as none of my business.”
“You mean you do not consider yourself a citizen of this country?”
“I was born on the portion of this continent ruled by the U.S. By birth I am a slave to this nation. The government taxes me and does what it will with the take. I am an ‘owned’ asset of the U.S. It is against the law for me to end my own life. I can abide by its laws, or I can abide by the laws of some other, even more intrusive, nation, or I can abide by the laws of some penal institution. I choose the path of least resistance, and so abide by the laws of this nation and municipalities therein.”
“That is astounding. I no longer think of myself as a radical. You view life like an inmate and you’re okay with that?”
“I do not imagine myself fighting a revolution, or thinking I could change things through politics. I can’t get my sister to see things my way. What sense would it be for me to expect the rest of the people in this country to agree with me?”
“So you don’t think we should use the government to make things better?”
“I consider it immoral to impose my will on another person outside of a sporting or imminent survival context. Most people are fearful, greedy and stupid. Therefore fear, greed and stupidity are the cornerstones of political life. Why do I want to get all mixed up in that process as a vested protagonist?”
“Okay, as a human being what do you think about the current U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan?”
“I am glad the most powerful military machine in human history is elsewhere.”
“Okay then"—laughter—"as a student of history what do you think of current U.S. military involvement overseas?”
“I am really interested how the Afghan situation will pan out. Will the U.S. do any better than the Soviets, or the Brits? Now Iraq is the excretion cleft of the Middle East, so I don’t expect long term peace there. From the U.S. perspective Afghanistan makes sense if you control the heroin production and distribution, and then use military force to open third world nations for importation of the product.”
“That is disgusting. What kind of sick country would do that?”
“The Brits did, and the U.S. helped them, in the nineteen-hundreds.”
"Okay, I think I can guess this one. What do you think of the police, of their arrogant demeanor, their nice white cars, their guns, the fact that they think they are better than you and me?”
“I think it is justified. Every police officer is, by the standards of society at large, better than I am. They make more money than me. They are permitted to impose their will on others in the name of the rest of us, and they have nice white cars and guns.”
“Really, doesn’t it bother you that they are so arrogant, that they jack us up for just walking down this street?”
“No. They should be arrogant. Their job is to impose social will. That requires a skill set that begs for arrogance as a personality trait, and the job description will most likely cultivate it in those where it is not preexisting. They are, after all, ‘my master’s loyal slaves’, the men with the whips in their hands! I would be deluded to expect them to treat me as an equal. I’m the outsider on the inside.”
“You write sci-fi. So what about space travel or intergalactic intelligence?”
“We are a bunch of chimps bashing each other’s heads in with coconuts on an island. If any aliens have discovered us they’ve sped by us like New Yorkers making sure not to stop in Camden.”
“Do you consider yourself to be highly intelligent?”
“I hope I am not among the brightest. If I am, then we’re going to be stuck here on Chimp Island forever, hitting each other with coconuts.”
“How about if I put my coconut on the end of a stick?”
“Now you’re getting it kid.”
Under the God of Things
prev:  Slavery in Maryland, 1838     ‹  blog  ›     next:  Welcome to Our Site
eBook
thunderbird
eBook
pillagers of time
eBook
the first boxers
eBook
by this axe!
eBook
book of nightmares
Add a new comment below:
NAME  
EMAIL  
MSG