Considering how completely inefficient the government is at doing anything, I had a couple of odd thoughts the other day.
First off, it is common knowledge how government, while loving to have their hands in everything, tends to mishandle it all, including power. It steals everything it can from the private sector and then proceeds to dig ditches with nuclear powered shovels, only to fill the ditches back up again.
While this means that government may with difficulty put a man into space, a walk on the moon, and a flying brick into the air (space shuttle), I think that any real progress to the stars will be caused by enthusiastic portions from the private sector. Government can only allow real space travel if it can control all aspects of it, which then causes the defaults of stagnation and death.
Otherwise, it will have to be a free, anarchistic mankind that will reach out of the Sol System. That being said, it would seems that the same conditions would also apply to any other species in our universe.
So for us to be contacted by an alien race, it would have to individualist and anarchic. Being such an elevated people, I highly doubt they’d want to dirty their appendages by dealing with the governments of the world.
Who knows, maybe we have had a few flybys. Who knows? Maybe the would have stopped and said hello if we could quit dragging and clubbing each other to and from the courts, caves and cathedrals. We would scratch our behinds a lot less if we’d just look up more often.