Dear Mr. Xernon,

Forgive me, is ’Mister’ the right salutation to use with an extraterrestrial? I’m afraid it’s merely my Earth-centric view talking. At any rate, I wish to thank you for taking such an interest in Earth’s affairs that you thought to warn us of your interstellar empire’s plans. Apparently, your planet has a great deal of respect for free enterprise, and I sympathize completely with that view. Therefore, I hope I shall be the first to say that I bear your weapons producers no ill will for the incipient siege of Earth, though I do have to say that your government functions nothing like that which we know on Earth. Allow me to explain the differences, so that when we have all died, you can become a professor of “Earth Studies” and preserve our culture from beyond the grave.

The only similarity I note is that, apparently, both your planet and ours recognize the notion of mutually assured destruction, since your government apparently also knows not to rest on its laurels and take its weapons supply for granted. Smart move.

What puzzles me is why your government chose Earth to attack. Until your Wespeak, we weren’t aware of your planet’s existence, and we didn’t presume to challenge your dominance. We certainly didn’t do something foolish like refuse to obey conditions set by your planet after stopping a brutal war 11 years ago, or allow our craven earthling dictator to occupy a small planet regardless of your warnings. Hell, I wasn’t even aware we had an earthling dictator!

What also puzzles me is why your planet engages in vicious destruction purely for its own sake. Here on Earth, we have something called geopolitics, which stops us from using violence unless it’s absolutely politically necessary. Your planet, by contrast, appears to have no such constraints. I’m sorry to hear that you enjoy wreaking havoc in the Milky Way so much—or are we really that big of a threat?

Of course, you’re entirely correct when you note that your weapons companies aren’t complicit in the effort. Here on Earth, we have much the same issue. For instance, there’s a group called the Animal Liberation Front, which tends to buy gasoline and Styrofoam in large quantities in order to make an explosive we call Napalm. However, our police force has not yet indicted the gas and Styrofoam companies for murder, and I’m pleased to see that your planet doesn’t take such a dim view of enterprise, either.

However, I’m also quite puzzled that your weapons companies behave like fashion companies. Here on Earth, they operate completely differently—for instance, our pop stars don’t release perfumes titled “Ice Nine” (so sexy it’ll freeze your date right in his tracks!). I also have yet to see Britney Spears film a music video in the presence of an ICMB. Though, if your weapons companies use spokesmodels, hey, maybe we should look into it, too.

I’m also surprised that your government members were only invested in one stock—namely, that of the weapons companies. Your economy must work very differently. Here on Earth, we would consider that blind financial stupidity. Lobbying, contrary to your assertion that it has no effect, must have been much easier for their companies—after all, your government members couldn’t hedge their portfolios. Also, didn’t you say that your government bought weapons in peacetime, too? I would think that the stock would stay at roughly the same price. Still, no hard feelings. Since you’re such a free enterpriser, you know that lobbying works much the same way as advertising to one very wealthy customer, and I presume your government hasn’t outlawed that.

I’m also surprised that one college on your planet divested purely because they “don’t like violence.” Here on Earth, we require religious prohibitions before such foolishness occurs. Furthermore, I’m sorry to report that I don’t have a full answer to your question of who defines whether war or homosexuality is good. Here on Earth, we don’t have clear answers to those questions, either. We also don’t make moral judgments about what our companies do unless they’re promoting universally recognizable evils like genocide because we believe in odd concepts like the right to make up your own mind about what is moral. It seems that your planet believes in the same thing. Maybe we aren’t so different after all?

However, this is all water under the bridge. I don’t resent what your college did about its weapons companies. I will ask you one thing, though—unless you’re the most amoral being in the universe (literally), why didn’t you stop attending a college that you clearly think was subsidizing violence? Moreover, why didn’t you try to stop your government from attacking us if you thought it was so wrong that you need to apologize for it?

Truly, Mr. Xernon—or should I say Mr. Jacobs—you are from another planet.

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