Machiavelli on “The Prince”

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Machiavelli from Florence was one of the humanists of the 15th and 16th century. He recommended certain qualities and strategies to political leaders in his writing “The Prince”.  It was the most lasting literary work of the Italian renaissance.

“The Prince” was a shift on the political way of thought. It had a great contrast with the medieval works on politics. Having mentioned he was a humanist, he certainly shows it on this work. There is no mention of natural law, and there are no citations of the Bible, or the church fathers. Instead, he writes, “Whatever the state has to do to maintain itself, it has to do.” In other words, no matter how bad or cruel or unrighteous it may seem, if there is no other way to maintain standing, it must be taken to action. He surely confirms this when he writes that the Prince must always “be prepared to act immorally when this becomes necessary,” and “in order to maintain his power” he will often be forced “to act treacherously, ruthlessly, and inhumanly.”  Machiavelli excuses these acts calling them “glorious crimes”.

Not only does he not take into account Christianity, but he believed it was poorly suited to a robust republic. He thought that the gentleness, meekness, etc. made a person weak. With this, he preferred the Roman ethic, in which the safety of the state was the guiding principle. As mentioned before, he believed that the statecraft had to be completely independent of morality.

The famous “the ends justify the means”, could be attributed to Machiavelli’s point of view. Or maybe it was its origin. Whatever the case is, we can be sure that no matter how good or “righteous” the end can seem, the means are not justified at all.

Ezekiel 3:20

Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ezekiel 18:24

But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

Romans 10:5

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

James 1:20

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

1Timothy 6:11

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

1John 3:10

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

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Categories: Western Civilization 1 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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