Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To be Loved or to be Feared? Novice in Politics Must Read Machievalli

Novice in politics must read "The Prince" by Machiavelli. So does seasoned politicians who sometimes grapple with their own moments of doubt.

Machiavelli writes about whether it is better to be loved or feared. He concludes that it is best to be both.

But since usually one can only have one of those qualities, it is best to be feared, but not hated. This conclusion sounds very unethical, but Machiavelli defends it, saying:

"...a prince must not care about the infamy of cruelty in order to keep his subjects UNITED and FAITHFUL; because with very few examples he will be more merciful than those who, because of too much mercy, allow disorders to go on, from which spring killings or depredations: because these normally offend a whole collectivity, while those executions which come from the prince offend an individual".

I am not a fan of Machiavelli. But so far no one dares to say that he was wrong.

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