Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rereading the Prince

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Since our country has a newly elected president, I thought it would be a good time to reread Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince (1532):

“…whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far, distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”


eks said...

hehehe. nice. but in the case of the president-elect, i honestly don't know if he is someone we can love or fear. he's just there because of his 'fortuna' (and clearly, 'virtu' is inexistent). hayyy...

Angeli said...

one can argue that he acquired his principality not through his own arms or ability, but through good fortune or even heredity. at least it's not through wickedness. hahaha

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