With the almost daily discovery of new exoplanets pushing the probability that extraterrestrial intelligence exists inexorably toward certainty, not only do we bleeding-heart liberal geeks with a scientific inclination have to worry about social injustice here on Earth, but we must now worry about injustice throughout a universe possibly teeming with life as well. The thought that at this very moment, somewhere in the universe, nuclear war is destroying a civilization is difficult to shake. Reconciling the Jews and Arabs here at home will be cake compared to ensuring peace and happiness reigns throughout the spacetime encompassing 100 billion galaxies and 14 billion years.
But will human-style compassion be extended to the extraterrestrial should contact be made? Here on Earth the entire biological kingdom has been subjugated to human interests. We've even tricked those big-brained dolphins into becoming bomb-toting torpedoes for God's sake. And despite the invention of 'human rights,' slavery, capitalism and communism have managed to subjugate most of mankind as well. So what chance has the extra-terrestrial?
The Pope's astronomer, possibly sensing another income stream, says he would indeed baptize an alien. The only requirement for baptismal eligibility being the possession of a soul, which in turn is characterized by intelligence, free will, and the ability to love. Presumably that bit about love extricates the church from many an inconvenient ecclesiastical jam.
The United Nations is openly discussing the dangers an alien encounter may bring. Should we advertise our presence like a horny peacock on spring break and accept the dangers therein, or, like a diffident turtle, should we remain safely, but comfortably, out of sight?
In reality, spacetime is so vast that even if alien civilizations do exist, the vanishing small chances of a meaningful encounter are so minute that we will remain forever alone, suspended on our pale blue dot, in a cold uncaring space, with only ourselves for company.