Bring up the subject of UFOs in mixed company and you’re likely get one of the following reactions: sarcastic eye-rolling or a silent, vacant stare. The reality of unidentified flying objects is universally derided in the mainstream media as unworthy of serious consideration.

Very little news coverage regarding UFOs is rational or intelligent, yet the phenomenon has involved thousands, possibly millions of witnesses around the world over the years, including highly-trained commercial airline pilots, law enforcement officials and military personnel. One only has to study the media’s treatment of UFOs to understand that belief in the existence of unexplained, highly advanced technology navigating the skies of the world is simply unacceptable — unless it’s presented as entertainment.

The public is discouraged from taking UFOs seriously, even though official documents released via the Freedom of Information Act prove beyond any doubt that the US government considers the matter vital to national security, and therefore highly classified.

Back in 1950, Robert Sarbacher, a physicist with the DOD Research & Development Board, privately confirmed to Canadian official Wilbert Smith that “The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States government, rating higher even than the H-bomb.” In another declassified memo from the early 60s, former CIA Director Roscoe Hillenkoetter wrote, “Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.”

Reports of strange objects in the sky date back to the beginnings of recorded history, but from the late 1940s to the modern era, military personnel from the U.S. and many other nations have encountered UFOs both visually and on radar — sometimes at close range — on a regular basis.

Yet in 2011 the Obama administration issued a statement claiming that “The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”

This false narrative affirms that full disclosure would be extremely detrimental to the status quo. After all, how can the government admit that UFOs are real after 60 years of continuous denial without compromising the political structures they have relied upon to keep things running so smoothly — especially if the corporate sector connected to the military-industrial complex is reaping enormous profits using secret technologies adapted from sources that supposedly don’t even exist?

Because the subject of UFOs is so widely ridiculed, it is important to understand why it’s worthy of serious discussion. As documented by highly credible researchers and historians like Leslie Kean and Richard Dolan, military encounters with UFOs have involved solid radar returns of objects moving at incomprehensible speeds, performing amazing maneuvers. Sometimes they have violated sensitive airspace, appearing over nuclear missile sites and other top-secret facilities.

On many occasions, aircraft were deployed to intercept the objects. Pilots reported seeing metallic, disc-shaped crafts engaged in what appeared to be intelligently controlled evasive maneuvers. In a few cases, injuries to military personnel and even deaths have resulted in offensive actions taken against unidentified flying objects.

These are highly significant events, and despite official denials they are taken quite seriously by the organizations charged with maintaining our national security. Intelligence-gathering agencies such as the CIA, NSA and NRO have historically received UFO reports. They consider the matter to be of very grave concern. And yet, as Dolan points out, “The military and other branches of government have created the fiction, for public consumption only, that the UFO problem is nothing to be concerned about …”

In her book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record,” investigative reporter Leslie Kean compares the relatively transparent way the subject has been handled in recent years by countries such as France, Belgium, the UK, Brazil, Peru and Mexico with the long history of administrative stonewalling and official ridicule from the U.S. government. Since the closing of Project Blue Book in 1969, the phenomenon doesn’t officially exist in America, even though pilots, military officers and ordinary citizens still encounter it constantly.

Our solar system is relatively young compared to many of those in the trillions of galaxies in the vastness of space. The odds are frankly astronomical that life didn’t evolve somewhere else long before us — and it seems incredibly arrogant and illogical to assume that our primitive, backward society is the height of civilization in the universe. I wouldn’t describe the human race as particularly advanced — unless you consider finding clever new ways to exterminate each other ‘advanced.’

The argument that people from other planets can’t visit us simply because our scientists haven’t figured out how to do it yet is totally without merit.