Machiavelli: The Prince

Discussion Question 1

With the political season finally ending around here in Alaska, what better way to give it a final send off than answer this question. By comparing and contrasting his ideals to the ideals of today’s politics we can see that there is quite a correlation between the two ages of politics. While in his stories he talks of princes we in contrast talk of senators, mayors, congressmen, and presidents. Even though they are so different there are definitely a few ideals of Machiavelli’s that line up just about perfect with the ideals of today’s politicians and I plan on highlighting two of them.

The Prince                      Politics

“How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word and live with integrity rather than by craftiness, everyone understands; yet we see from recent experience that those prices have accomplished most who paid little heed to keeping their promises, but who knew how to manipulate the minds of men craftily,’ (1612). I feel as though this quote describing the way of some princes perfectly describes the way of some politicians in this day and age. I feel that many politicians come in to the political “game’ and probably do have the goal to be honest and keep their promises. As time progresses it seems as though it gets more and more difficult to keep those promises so instead they manipulate people in such a way that it seems as though they will keep them, but down the road things happen and they don’t keep those promises. While I do understand that many things can happen and keep people from upholding their promises, I feel those possible things should be taken into account when promising something.

“As the lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves, you have to be a fox in order to be wary of traps, and a lion to overawe the wolves,’ (1614). This quote kind of falls in line with the last one. When I read this quote what came to mind right away was the political ads and such that we had been seeing on television. Each ad was always attacking their opponent. That part of the campaign could be the part where the politician is the lion. He is trying to “overawe’ the wolves, which I guess the wolves could be us, the viewers. The politician is making his opponent look bad so we attack him too. The fox would seem to be where promises and such come into play with the campaigns. While the politician is attacking his opponent the opponent is being “wary of traps’ in a way by denying those allegations and he is also making his own attacking claims.

This story of The Prince was written in 1513 yet today, in 2014 it still has relevance. As of now it sure doesn’t seem like the way politicians work is ever going to change. I can’t even count the number of political pieces of junk mail I received during this whole election season. They will probably always send things in the mail, have signs, and ads on television. I think that whenever some other technology comes out they will always jump on that too by having ads on it in some way or another. By doing all of those things and more it will continue to uphold the quotes and descriptions in Machiavelli’s The Prince.

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2 thoughts on “Machiavelli: The Prince

  1. amymgauger

    I hear you about the junk mail, seriously. I think I collected enough to fuel the bonfire for a couple of hours, at least. 😉 I agree that even though “The Prince” was written over 500 years ago, it’s still extremely accurate when it comes to addressing the flaws withing our own political times.

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  2. kjs93

    I agree that the political decisions discussed in The Prince are still amazingly accurate at describing current politics! I was interested in your discussion of making promises in campaigns. You seem to think that if there is not a guarantee that the promise can be fulfilled that it should not be made.

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