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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Niccolo Machiavelli and The Prince


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Santi di Tito


Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian philosopher best known for his contributions to political theory. Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty said,


"Machiavelli is the complete contrary of a Machiavellian, since he describes the tricks of power and 'gives the whole show away'. The seducer and the politician, who live in the dialectic and have a feeling and instinct for it, try their best to keep it hidden." (In Praise of Philosophy, 1963)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Machiavelli.


Fear and love


" ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be waning." (The Prince, 1513)


"Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge." (The Prince, 1513)


"Well-ordered states and wise princes have taken every care not to drive the nobles to desperation, and to keep the people satisfied and contented, for this is one of the most important objects a prince can have." (The Prince, 1513)


"I say that every prince must desire to be considered merciful and not cruel. He must however, take care not to misuse this mercifulness." (The Prince, 1513)




"The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws." (The Prince, 1513)


" is necessary to whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity..."(Discourses on Livy, 1517)


"You must know, then, that there are two methods of fighting, the one by law, the other by force: the first method is that of men, the second of beasts; but as the first method is often insufficient, one must have recourse to the second." (The Prince, 1513)