POLITICAL THEORY – Niccolò Machiavelli

POLITICAL THEORY – Niccolò Machiavelli


We’re often appalled by how sly and dishonest many politicians are, but we shouldn’t be. In moods like this we need to remember and read the works of Niccolo Machiavelli. A late 15th century political advisor and political theorist who argued that we shouldn’t think that politicians are imoral and simply bad for lying and dissembling and maneuvering. A good politician, in Machiavelli’s remarkable view, isn’t one who’s friendly and honest and kind. It’s someone, however occasionally dark and underhand they might be, who knows how to defend, enrich and bring honor to the state, which is also an extremely important goal. Being nice may well be a virtue in general, but what citizens most need from their rulers is effectiveness, which may well call upon some darker arts. Once we understand this basic requirement, we stand to be less disappointed and clearer about what we want from our politicians. Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence in 1469. His father was a lawyer And so Machiavelli received an extensive formal education and got his first job as secretary for the city of florence But, soon after his appointment Florence exploded politically And expelled the Medici family who’d ruled it for 60 years And suffered decades of political instability and turmoil As a consequence, Machiavelli experienced a series of carrier reversals. Over just a few decades, he went from being an important diplomat to a semi-successful general, to an enemy of the state – tortured and then exiled when he Medici returned to power. Although Machiavelli was rather a failed politician, he can be remembered as a truly great man because of the two works – THE PRINCE, and THE DISCOURSES. In them he addressed a central problem of politics: it is almost impossible to be both a good politician and a good person in a traditional christian sense. Machiavelli proposed that the overwhelming responsibility of a good prince is to defend the state from external and internal threats. To stable governance. This means, he must know how to fight but more importantly he must know about the reputation and the management of those around him. People should neither think he is soft and easy to disobey. Nor should they find him so cruel that he disgust his society. He should seem unapproachably strict ,but reasonable. When Machiavelli turned to the question of whether is was better for a Prince to be loved or feared? He wrote that while it ‘ll be theoretically wonderful for a leader to be both loved and obeyed. a Prince should always err on the side of inspiring terror. For this is ultimately what keeps people in check. Machiavelli christian contemporaries had suggested that princes should be merciful, peaceful, generous, and tolerant. They thought that being a good politician was. in short, the same as being a good christian. But Machiavelli argued differently. He asked his readers to dwell on the incompatibility between Christian ethics and good governance And particularly referred to the case of Girolamo Savonorola. Savonorola was a dominican friar , a fervent idealistic christian, who’d briefly come to be the ruler of Florence in 1494. He’d come to power promising the city of God on earth.He preached against the excesses and tyranny of Medici government. and even managed to rule Florence as a peaceful, democratic, and relatively honest state. However, Savonorola success couldn’t last because,in Machiavelli’s view, itwas based on the weakness that always attends being good in a christian sense. it was not long before his regime became threat to the corrupt Pope Alexander. whose henchman captured and tortured Savonarola. Hung him in the center of Florence and burnt the body before the eyes of a vengeful citizenry. This, in Machiavelli eyes, is what tends to happen to the nice guys in politics. Rather than follow this unfortunate christian example, Machiavelli suggested that a leader would do well to make judicious use of what the called virtu (VIRTUE). Machiavelli concept of virtu for politicians involves wisdom, strategy, strength, bravery, and when necessary, ruthlessness. In fact at one point Machiavelli uses the deliciously paradoxical phrase ‘ Criminal Virtue’ to describe the necessary ability of leaders to be cruel in the name of the state , and yet, still good as leaders. Machiavelli provided some criteria for what constitutes the right occasion for bit of criminal virtue. Any violence must be strictly necessary for the security of the state. ; it must be done swiftly, often at night – counsel Machiavelli, and it should be repeated too often lest the reputation for mindless brutality builds up. Machiavelli gave the example of his contemporary, Cesare Borgia, Whom he admired as someone who knew how to be tough, but not too tough that we might question the criteria Machiavelli used. when Cesare conquered the city of Cesena, he ordered one of his mercenary, ramirida okow, to bring order to the region which ramiro did through swift and brutal ways – Men were beheaded in front of their wives and children; property was ceased; traitors were castrated. Cesare then turned onto okow himself and had him sliced in half and placed in public square. just to remind the town’s people who the true boss was. but then, as Machiavelli approvingly noted, that was enough blood shed. Cesare moved on to cut taxes,imported cheap grain, build a theater, and organized a series of beautiful festival to keep people from dwelling on unfortunate memories. The catholic church banned Machiavelli work for 200 years because of the force with which he had argued that being a good christian was was incompatible with being a good leader. but even for atheist and those of us not politicians, Machiavelli’s insights are important he writes that we can’t be good at (or for) all things Not only because of our limited ability and resources but also because of conflicts within moral codes. some of the fields we choose; if not politics then perhaps business or, family life may require what we evasively called ‘difficult decisions’. By which we really mean ‘ethical trade-offs’. we may have to sacrifice neo-christian visions of kindness for the sake of practical effectiveness. We may have to lie in order to keep or relationship afloat. We may have to ignore the feeling of certain employees to keep a business going. And that, insists Machiavelli, is the price of dealing with the world as it is, and not as we feel it should be. The world has continued to love and hate Machiavelli in equal measure for insisting on focusing our attention on the uncomfortable tension between two things we love and always want to have together but perhaps can’t – effectiveness and kindness. And Niceness.

100 Replies to “POLITICAL THEORY – Niccolò Machiavelli”

  1. when we look at history, we see that merciless, immoral, lying leaders were winners, so this actually proves M to be right… However the problem is that most of these leaders tend to put their own interests before their countries

  2. Donald Trump is the prime example of a world leader we need. Unscrupulous and unafraid to say what needs to be said.

  3. The reason the mad cesre Borgia cut taxes imported grain and built a theatre was to distract pacify the masses, and take the attention off him because he continued with his murderous torturous killing sprees fxxking evil Borgias

  4. So trump!
    Regardless if you like him or not you have to respect the guy. He is the least likely candidate but he is proven to be strong, brutally honest and doesn't take shit. He has no fear and defends our borders. Say what you will but he's doing all the right things from the Prince. Most respect him…look how much CNN talks about him. They are threatened.

  5. You really jump right in your deference to machiovelli, somewhat undermining the reception of any objective facts.

  6. The difference is that some people lie for the benefit of the state. But most politicians lie for the benefit of themselves

  7. Consequently, the conflict between political and religious dividing, is also delinquency the human faith.
    However, the political and religious composition with dividing issues, principles the behavior of human morality and important human rights is also human dignity, nevertheless a good political system need to consider compliance with this issue.

    A) ) Is keeping your goals alive, fight to win the heart and mind of the people.
    B) monitor, observer and check between control, power and abuse of power.
    C) Ruthlessness is necessary in the battle fighting with enemy to win. However, respect human dignity and forgiveness is necessary to make peace with enemies in long-term solution…

    Consequently, the conflict between political and religious dividing, is also delinquency the human faith.
    However, the political and religious composition with dividing issues, principles the behavior of human morality and important human rights is also human dignity, nevertheless a good political system need to consider compliance with this issue.

    A) ) Is keeping your goals alive, fight to win the heart and mind of the people.
    B) monitor, observer and check between control, power and abuse of power.
    C) Ruthlessness is necessary in the battle fighting with enemy to win. However, respect human dignity and forgiveness is necessary to make peace with enemies in long-term solution…

    Watch videos: 
    1) "Machiavelli – A Deep Scrutiny of his Philosophy and Tactics"
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sP9VKJaqiN8

    2) "Machiavelli: Biography, Quotes, The Prince, Human Nature, Beliefs, Facts (2000)" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-UCkmldnk

    3) Machiavelli – The Prince
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=TYLMS2Sh1aM

  8. Consequently, the conflict between political and religious dividing, is also delinquency the human faith.
    However, the political and religious composition with dividing issues, principles the behavior of human morality and important human rights is also human dignity, nevertheless a good political system need to consider compliance with this issue.

    A) ) Is keeping your goals alive, fight to win the heart and mind of the people.
    B) monitor, observer and check between control, power and abuse of power.
    C) Ruthlessness is necessary in the battle fighting with enemy to win. However, respect human dignity and forgiveness is necessary to make peace with enemies in long-term solution…

    Watch videos: 
    1) "Machiavelli – A Deep Scrutiny of his Philosophy and Tactics"
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sP9VKJaqiN8

    2) "Machiavelli: Biography, Quotes, The Prince, Human Nature, Beliefs, Facts (2000)" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-UCkmldnk

    3) Machiavelli – The Prince
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=TYLMS2Sh1aM

  9. Machiavelli was right: Authority must always come from above. Now that more and more citizens are waking up to the fraud that is Judeo-Christianity, authority must come from well trained, and well educated sources, based in rational science, and not in VooDoo. The new globally connected media, that shares gigabites of information, world-wide within seconds, has empowered the masses like nothing previous in history. Tomorrows leaders must be the masters of all forms of media exchange, all forms of advanced technology.

  10. Churchill is suppose to be a good leader? Have you heard his opinion of Hitler and Mussolini before WW2? He was supporting them, look it up.

  11. This perfectly explains Christians overwhelmingly voting for Trump. Although he isn’t a moral man, he is effective and balanced.

  12. I now am sure that Machiavelli was the best non-divine human on Earth and will always be……thanks Machiavelli very much.

  13. The narrator is presenting his case on the premis that niceness is the same thing thing as genuine morality. He stated at the end that life is wrought with "difficult decisions", which he says are usually ethical tradeoffs, and as an example he said that it may be necessary to offend an employee in order to maintain a company… as jf that is somehow Machiavellian. That kind of thing can't be compared to legitiment ethical tradeoffs and moral decisions that involve, say, "husbands being beheaded in front of their wives". Of course Machiavellian philosophy would be justified if the only thing that was being sacrificed was "niceness" and political leaders simply needed to be pragmatically "unkind". That's totally reasonable because leaders can't keep from offending people. But Machiavelli called for bloody brutality, for goodness sakes. It's not the same thing. The narrator is doing the whole discourse a disservice by watering down Machiavelli's real political philosophy and changing the premise of his theories from subversion and brutality to simple "unkindness" and a lack of consideration for people's feelings.

  14. Check out CGP Grey's Rulers for Rulers and the book it's based on (Dictator's Handbook) for a modern work with the same sort of vibe as Machiavelli.

  15. Piss on Machiavelli. Piss on him memory, piss on his grave. The only thing a "ruler" needs to do is empower his people enough so that they have the ability to rise up and kill said ruler in case the ruler pisses the people off.

  16. You cannot create a utopia with a corrupt government. That is a dystopia. Theres a silver lining between utopia and dystopia. In order to have peace by means of a government, the government must control all action. But in that instance youre in a dystopia, where the government becomes a weapon against people we choose not to tolerate. Peace is not created thru control, its created thru tolerance by everyone. The root of government is latin. Meaning to control the mind. Politicians govern. Therefore, politicians control the mind. John locke said, "the government(control of mind) is derived from the consent of the people". As noted in the declaration of independence by Thomas Jefferson. The moment we withdraw consent or, deny the government exists, the moment it no longer does. The moment there is no control, we fall into anarchy. Which is not the same as chaos but rather peace if paired with tolerance and respect. a government is not necessary. We put our trust in the hands of untrustworthy people who are bribed by capitalist who have capitalized off our wants and use that money to buy out the officials we elect thru lobbying to control us. If there was ever a time to stand together, it is now. On this.

  17. Once more I'm reminded of the analogy of the Doctor and the Sweet Shop Owner. The Doctor is often viewed as an antagonist. He prescribes bitter tasting medicines, performs painful surgeries, and often forbids you from eating, drinking, smoking, etc. In the eyes of an uneducated people, he is the bad guy, but what they do not realize is the Doctor does such to cure and prevent what ails them. However, the Doctor must understand that he in the long term is merely human and must know his limitations when it comes to his practice. The Sweet Shop Owner on the other hand offers to the people nothing but sumptuous feasts of delicious confectionery, which while exciting and sweet at first will have dire consequences in the long run. Too much sweets often lead to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, heart complications, in short, poor health. The people unfortunately do not believe in such consequences until it is too late. Often, they do not take the blame for electing a buffoon, but instead lash out at him in violent retribution. To summarize, while the Doctor is considered cruel, his methods in the long run are beneficial to the health and longevity of the people.

  18. The second the political classes knew, the masses were easily led, fed, and entertained, their Machiavellian tendencies were pushed to the fore. We now suffer from the last throws of a hi-jacked
    pretend democracy.

  19. Sabotaging Politician: "Have him(andor her)/favor him(andor her)/gift him (andor her) with a "job" at the DEA and then have him have this "heartburn" you speak of, and then eat the chalky tabs, and well, he may be "sensed" by the "sensors" in another time (some: "The true detectives"), and we "will have our Reign"".

    Not necessary, and all sabotaging.

    Words truly, don't change anything.

  20. The sabotaging done, of the "storied history" aka "privileged facts" that are exclusively "alluded to" among "officers" of "officer-not officer "militaries"" when the "military-armed forces" divide is the true "class separation".

  21. I this this person actually read this book and really understood it period . Read again please , or maybe you read the modern edition this of book "with a current with public relations ! "

  22. Is important to remember that he wrote this in the contest of a dictatorship, not a democracy. If you need the votes, better be loved than feared.

  23. I'm sorry to say that Savonarola was'nt at all "a nice guy" he actually created caos and burned everything in Florence (every kind of art) was profane at that time, just because of the purity of Christianity. Your concept is quite right about his actions, but very summarized. I understand that time runs faster and there is less time to explain things in detail, but I just hope that this short videos will not create any false informations.

  24. Centuries later; I'm sure Niccolo would be disappointed with the recent (last half century) cast of characters…The men of Substance, the men with that, Je ne sais quoi  quality, are seemingly long dead. These preening self absorbed nincompoop criminal dullards are the poorest examples of manhood, much less leaders…Wet paper tigers all…
    That's not to say there are great leaders in industry, worldwide, who are "Doers" …They're making it happen…Politicians are now Criminals or Babysitters for the cry babies…It's pathetic.

  25. I feel like this guy gets such a bad rap, but honestly he’s honest. At the end of the day being right when it’s important is more important than being loved.

  26. People who just learned about Macchiavelli should check out the movie called A Bronx Tale,the antagonist Sonny is like the reincarnation of Macchiavelli

  27. This is a brilliant video that voices the thoughts that run through many of us. It truly represents Machiavelli and the thought that upholds his work. Thank you, The School of Life!

  28. Lie dissembling Manoeuvre
    Effectiveness
    Prince and discources
    Reputation and management of subordinates
    Strict but reasonable
    Incompatibility between religion and good governance

    Judicious use
    Virtu…Criminal Virtue..wisdom strategy strength bravery Ruthlessness
    Cruel in the name of the state still good and reasonable

    Difficult decision
    Is rather than ought to be

  29. I was an idealistic guy as the Christian ruler example not as good I guess but one thing I learned the hard 'TRAUMATIC' way is that ideology and utopia can tie a string around your neck and hang you like the example. What I get from this great man's philosophy is the wisdom that has been around all along i.e. a leader must master both the YING and YANG not just one i.e. good or bad.

    Lastly, those 'traumatic' events were caused by people with the facade of the 'good' but behind that mask lies a true Machiavellian…and if you "touch" most leaders and successful people nowadays they all have this element in them.

  30. Interestingly enough Jesus in the bible says: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV). The NIV says, “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

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