Any research report on the planet Earth would come to some grim conclusions. Can you imagine it?
“The beautiful green and blue planet is unfortunately overrun with a particularly destructive form of vermin, a mammal known indigenously as Humankind. While highly advanced cognitively, this species is unable to live in harmony with the diverse special that once inhabited the planet. The only species that thrive are those bred to serve the comforts of humans, and these are kept well until they are killed for food or fabrics. Thousands of other species are made extinct every year. Humans seem intent on destroying their own planet even as they live in it”.
This excellent research study would consider the forms of organisation of the human pests, including the land-grabbing, resource-wasting propensities of the species, and would note some interesting features of government.
“While humans in many nations live under a system of government known as democracy, in theory giving a free vote to each person, this system is so corrupted by greed, vice and avarice, jealousy and hatred, that good choices are rarely made”.
“To take one example, the citizens of the most powerful country in the world have recently elected as President a person driven entirely by corporate greed, a lascivious attitude towards women, the need to win, low impulse control, an apparent absence of emotional intelligence and a lack of ability to tell the truth. Recent assessments have questioned both his mental health and his fitness for office.
“It could be argued that people who voted for him – mainly males with a disposition not to trust organised government – are getting from Mr Trump exactly what they voted for”.
Finally, the report would undoubtedly comment on the propensity for humans to destroy themselves and their planet through war:
“For a short period in their history, the humans have held the capacity to destroy their whole planet with large thermo-nuclear explosive devices. For around 70 years use of these weapons was largely prevented by a balanced geo-politics known as ‘MAD’, or mutually assured destruction. However, Mr Trump evidently is quite taken with the idea of using such weapons against a tinpot dictator known as Kim Jong-un in a country in the Asian region. A recent exchange between these two unchecked leaders, where each boasted of the large size of the nuclear buttons on their desks, verged on the insane. A follow-up to this initial report may not be necessary if the human vermin manage to destroy themselves”.
The planet Earth research report would also, no doubt, comment on gender relationships. It would note the high level of oppression of women in some parts of the world, the propensity for men to be violent towards their partners, the lack of monogamy underneath the pretence of it and various other features. It may comment on various women’s liberation movements:
“For several hundred years, women have been demanding equality of treatment in the world, including access to education, employment, wealth and representation. The movements are collectively known as ‘feminism’ and several waves of it can be identified. Unfortunately, the wins of certain waves are not always sustained and there are few areas where any kind of equality has been achieved. One of these, in some parts of the world, is education, but while women are far more likely than men to get the highest levels of qualification, they unfortunately still are paid less than men”.
Finally, the report would consider current sexual politics:
“One contemporary issue noted by researchers has been a fightback by women over sexual harassment. After the revelation that males in high places were sexually abusing women in large numbers, then pressuring their victims to keep quiet about it, a new movement of women has emerged. Known as #MeToo, and using social media via a relatively crude model of global internet, individuals have been telling their stories in public and naming the perpetrators. White interesting, it is hard to see that this movement will transform gender relationships”.
I am sure our alien researchers would have a lot more to say about the world, including the rape of our ecosystems, the killing of the oceans and land, the loss of habitat, poverty amongst plenty, inequality and mass overpopulation. I do not have time to report on this right now, however, as through the magic of Amazon my e-book of Fire and Fury has just dropped into my inbox, and I have some serious reading to do. Goodbye for now.
Dr Liz Gordon began her working life as a university lecturer at Massey and the Canterbury universities. She spent six years as an Alliance MP, before starting her own research company, Pukeko Research. Her work is in the fields of justice, law, education and sociology (poverty and inequality). She is the president of Pillars, a charity that works for the children of prisoners, a prison volunteer, and is on the board of several other organisations. Her mission is to see New Zealand freed from the shackles of neo-liberalism before she dies (hopefully well before!).