Sunday, December 14, 2008

Machiavelli and the Prince

There is plenty to chew on when reading through Machiavelli's "The Prince." Most important to remember, however, is just how much Machiavelli is concerned with efficiency and power rather than any kind of ideas regarding "good government." Everything Machiavelli writes about has to do with HOW to run a government, not whether that government will produce anything morally correct.

Machiavelli was born into a world, especially in Europe, that was dominated by kings and queens who ruled without any consideration for the livelihoods of the people. The middle ages weren't exactly kind to the average person, so in some ways, Machiavelli was very much a product of the era in which he lived. Keep that in mind when judging his ideas, as nasty as those ideas really are.

Consider, as well, how this fits into the overall theme of this unit. Whereas Aristotle, Socrates and Confucius are utterly consumed with the idea of "good government," Machiavelli is the opposite. In a way, they complement one another quite well. This is not to say that these historical philosophers would ever agree with one another, however. I'm sure Confucius would not in any way support Machiavelli's ideas. But the question that really arises here, and the one I'd like you to think about, is to what extent does Machiavelli really compliment the other philosophers studied this unit? Can a ruler attempt to reach a "perfect" and virtuous government without using some ideas Machiavelli supports in order to get to a position of power?

We've seen over the last week in the news that our very own governor has used quite a bit of Machiavellian tactics to get to where he got. What do you think Machiavelli would have to say about governor Blagojedsfsdfhsufhsdfsoi?


Keely Mullen said...

I think that Machiavelli would support Governor Blagojevich in striving to get what he wanted out of a position of power. But I think that Machiavelli would look down upon the fact that our Governor completely lost the respect of his people. What Machiavelli emphasizes is that a ruler has to keep their position of power. The governor could only keep up with his schemes for so long and wasn't analyzing long term. Machiavelli talks about how leaders need to keep their power and not have just one peak of power. The Governor abused his power, lost the respect of his people, and then ultimately lost his power.

cindy said...

In all honesty, i believe that Machiavelli would not agree with the actions that our governor had take of had thought that they were the right actions in 'ruling' his people. He (governor) did not gain fear in the minds of his people (perhaps because of his bushy hair) but rather developed a seperation and hatred relationship with the people in which he was governing. Nonetheless, the actions that he took (which have led to the past weeks dilemma) was perhaps not litterally a lie to the people but it is most certain that he knew what he was doing was inconcievably wrong. Whether he questioned if he should or should not be selling Obama's senate seat what he did was, again, wrong and not at all beneficial to other superiors or his people as well. Although Machiavelli is not opposed for princes to be self rewarding, what our governor did would not be fallowing the ideas that the philosopher had in mind.

Madeline P said...

How could anyone support the governor at this point? Machiavelli would have used the example of the governor as how not to be corrupt. While the governor is still at power this point, with Lisa Madigan on his impeachment, it would be long until his out of a job forever. He is hated by everyone, which is what Machiavelli said was most important to avoid. Considering he won't be in power for much longer. As well, Blagojevich's has peaked and is pretty much over, which is something Machavelli also said to not have.

Aubrey Rugo said...

I do not think that Machiavelli would have agreed with our government. Machiavelli was all about being feared, but not hated. Our governor did not achieve that. He didn't make the right decisions. Machiavelli would have thought of a much scheme to get what the governor wanted. The Governor lost the trust in the people, and Machiavelli thought that was very important. The Governor, even if he was "set free" would never be able to govern our state again. THat is because he is no longer feared. How do u get what you want if you are not feared? The governor is know hated and that was Machiavelli's biggest no.