Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Niccolo Machiavelli’s work, “The Prince” is a testament to how many people in power view the world around them. It is perhaps the most power hungry thing I have ever read as well as the scariest realization of human deception and manipulation. Arthur Herman’s view that Machiavelli could be rehabilitated as a friend and defender of “free societies” is absurd.
The entire principle of Machiavelli’s work is on the accumulation of power. No one that gathers power without morality has any interest in defending or perpetuating a free society.  A free society is one that people exchange power of government by choice, as in a public vote. However, Machiavelli’s works would argue that giving people the power to vote would give them the chance not to vote for you, and therefor is ill advised. He would argue I think that giving people the illusion of voting would be very valuable to someone trying to gain power. An excellent example would be modern Russia, where Putin is the President with no term limit. You can vote, but only for his party that he controls.

            It is possible that a person could use the information and advice contained in the Prince to defend a free society, but I contend that a person who is interested in absorbing the information and opinions Machiavelli has is not someone who would be interested in a free society. Moreover, the entire premise behind The Prince is that everyone is trying to play these courtesan games to derive in power, even if the person is unaware that the games are going on. The very mindset of a person who wrote the Prince is one of a man who has no faith in a free society in the first place.


  1. To give the devil his due, we have to notice that Machiavelli's Italy didn't offer much of a prospect of anything we'd recognize as a free society. But I agree that those (like M.) who've already tossed in the towel and decided that truly free societies are self-destructive and doomed are not freedom's friends.

  2. I haven't read The Prince, but I did check it out from the MTSU library yesterday and it includes his book on The Discourses which included the editor's note that The Discourses are less well known than The Prince, they nevertheless contain many of of Machiavelli's most original ideas and reflect the author's republican stance, a position which would subsequently puzzle many later critics and scholars intent upon branding Machiavelli as an authoritarian thinker and an enemy of republican liberty." I plan to read them both. I wonder which one I should read first. Any suggestions?
    P.S. After his experience seeing his teacher tortured and then torched and being tortured himself, I am not sure how I would view life and any government.