For those old enough, there was a film released in 1999 called the Matrix:
It depicts a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality, the Matrix, created by thought-capable machines (artificial beings) to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source.
Humans were an energy source for the machines.
When computer programmer Thomas Anderson, under the hacker alias “Neo“, uncovers the truth, he “is drawn into a rebellion against the machines” along with other people who have been freed from the Matrix.
But was the Matrix movie fiction? Or was it a metaphor? Are citizens (humans) more accurately the energy source for government (machines)?
Most Australians, and until recently TAFKAS, have lived under the impression that, although flawed in ideas and execution, the objective of government was to improve the welfare of the people. Could it however be that we are all operating under a flawed assumption.
Could it be that Albert Nock, writing in 1939 was more right than he realised:
… like all predatory or parasitic institutions, (Government’s) first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity.
Many things become clearer if the operating assumption of government is that its purpose is not the welfare of the people but rather the welfare of itself. Economic growth is important because it generates tax. Jobs are important because they generate tax. Investment is important because it generates tax. Trade is important because it generates tax. And all the efforts of government to promote growth, jobs, investment and trade are to ensure the government’s survival and prosperity.
Perhaps it does not stop with tax. Bureaucratic mismanagement generates more and higher paid bureaucrats to supervise. More regulation necessitates more regulators. More crimes necessitates more courts and jails.
And the people, the citizenry, are the batteries that power the government machine. Not the other way around.