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Do Aliens Have A 'Non-Interference' Prime Directive?

Why won't anyone talk to us? That's what @TheSETIInstitute has been asking for years. Recently, there has been quite an uptick in the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) - but nothing for certain.

Maybe they've been told to leave us alone.

Long before the Fermi Paradox, which dates from 1950, science fiction authors discussed in their stories the reasons why intelligent, spacefaring civilizations would leave less advanced cultures alone.

In 1947, Jack Williamson contributed in With Folded Hands the first use of the phrase "Prime Directive" made famous by Star Trek in the late 1960's:

But that is impossible under the Prime Directive... Our function is to serve and obey, and guard men from harm. It is no longer necessary for men to care for themselves, because we exist to insure their safety and happiness.
(Read more about prime directive)

In 1944, Clifford Simak wrote in Ogre a description of relations with extraterrestrials:

"Section 17 of the chapter on Relations with Extraterrestrial Life. No employee of this company may employ weapons against or otherwise injure or attempt to injure or threaten with injury any inhabitant of any other planet except in self-defense and then only if every means of escape or settlement has failed."
(Read more about relations with extraterrestrials)

In 1942, A.E. van Vogt wrote in his famous 1942 story Co-Operate or Else about alien self-government:

"I tell you that man would never have gone into Carson's Planet the way he did, if he had known it was inhabited by intelligent beings. There are strict laws that govern even under military necessity..."


('Co-Operate or Else' by A.E. van Vogt)


(Read more about alien self-government)

As far as I know, the earliest reference to the idea can be found in the 1897 story In the Deep of Time by George Parsons Lathrop (writing with Thomas Edison):

“I would have found a way to come,” he said easily, yet with a strange accent; somewhat as though his words were snowflake crystals, cold at first but melting as they fell. “We had not thought it worth while; but you have made so much advance lately that it seemed best to help you. We Kurols move by will-power. It is said many of our people have come to you secretly before. We know a great deal about your life. But until just now it was against the law for our people to visit earth; it lowered them, and always did you harm, and caused wars among you, much against our will and desire. Even now, I fear my coming will make disturbance.”
(Read more about Noninterference with other worlds)

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