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Machiavelli still alive and well in the GOP

Updated on October 25, 2012

Machiavelli still alive and well in the GOP

An Italian political philosopher of the Renaissance, Niccolo Machiavelli, who died in 1527, is still alive in the Republican Party. To say that Machiavelli is dead and still alive is oxymoronic, and yet it is true in the sense that his philosophy is alive and strong in the Grand old Party.

To history, Machiavelli is best known for his book, The Prince, in which he skillfully set forth the idea that “a ruler need not trouble himself about the means he uses to accomplish a purpose,” as stated in The World Book Encyclopedia. In his book, he “advises rulers to retain their power through [cunningness] and ruthlessness,” according to The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. “A Machiavellian leader is one who subordinates moral principle to political goals.” This philosophy is perhaps best defined by the terms we use in the classroom, “The end justifies the means.”

During the 2012 presidential election, this philosophy, like never before in American politics, has come to the fore in the Republican Party in such a dramatic way that it staggers the mind and causes students of ethics to tremble in their boots. Mitt Romney and the GOP seem to think that getting elected to the presidency is so right that they are justified in doing or saying anything, however unethical, to achieve that goal, or end. Machiavelli, in a sense, is alive and well in the Republican Party, even in the 21st century.

What the GOP has done and continues to do to get Mitt Romney elected to the presidency is absolutely incredible for the 21st century. Who would have ever though the GOP would become so blatant in its tactics and so overt in its actions? No more are Republicans throwing rocks and hiding their hands; they are throwing rocks and raising their hands high on national television so that the world can see.

If Mitt Romney cannot win the vote fairly, he seems happy to get it by threatening employees. According to The National Memo, In These Times uncovered a leaked recording of Mitt Romney in a conference call with the Nation Federation of Independent Business held on June 6 in which he says, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.” He went on to say “there is nothing illegal about telling your employees what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision…” This is not the only evidence of Romney’s unethical suggestion. Janet Shan at the Hinterland Gazette said, “Romney endorsed voter intimidation pure and simple. He is calling for the kind of threats we are hearing from one of the Koch brothers and two other wealthy business owners.” Who would have ever thought that politicians would stoop that low?

If the GOP, on its merit, cannot get the black, the Latino, and the senior-adult vote, they seem happy to use every means possible to dissuade or hinder them from voting. “Since the start of 2012,” according to Mother Jones, “more than 180 bills have been introduced in 41 states that could make it harder for you to register and vote, prove that you’re eligible to vote, vote early, or vote by mail.” The Center for Justice estimates that at least 5 million voters nationwide could be affected by these bills. The GOP has not tried to hide its purpose for these bills. Republican lawmakers have appeared on national television and made it known that if they can stop the minority vote they can deliver their state to Mitt Romney. That is incredible—even brazen.

Now, with less than two weeks left before the election, Mitt Romney, without a doubt, has been given the green light to dance in public as far to the left as he deems it necessary to get the votes necessary to win the presidency. So, in a sense, he just puts up his finger to see which way the wind (polls) is blowing and goes with it. What he has been saying on the campaign trail for the past year or so does not matter. When he sees the polls showing that 53 percent of Americans are saying they support the new health requirement that private insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, Mitt Romney says me too. When he sees the polls showing overwhelmingly that the country is weary of war, Mitt Romney in a sense says me too. Taking pains to sound like one who is against going to war in the Middle East, he said in the third presidential debate, “We can’t kill our way out of this mess,” and then went on to agree with President Obama’s Iran and Afghanistan policies. When he sees the polls that show women overwhelmingly standing against the GOP’s efforts to turn back Row vs. Wade, he says there is nothing on his agenda about the subject. How hypocritical? For the past year, he has made very clear what his positions are. Now that he has danced as far left as the thinks he needs to dance, he has decided to ride whatever wave he thinks he has until Election Day, without facing the press.

If per chance, Mitt Romney pulls off this unethical endeavor, presidential elections in the United States will never be the same again, and Niccolo Machiavelli will continue to live far into the future in American politics.

But God forbid that this will happen!


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