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Machiavelli and Politicians
Why Things Happen As They Do
In full knowledge that only about three people might perhaps be interested in reading about how Political Strategic Thought is derived at, I feel that it is the Christian thing to demonstrate to those who are ruled, how the rulers think of them and the basis of the rulers’ opinion of the ruled. If that makes any sense.
In every MilitaryAcademy of the world, from the USA through Russia to Surinam, their students are taught the strategies of Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Genghis Khan and other great generals, PLUS the theories of the same three basic authors. One of them is the Italian Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527), the other is the Chinese General Sun Tzu (6th Century BC) and the third is the creator of modern military theory, General Carl Von Clausewitz (July 1, 1780 – November 16, 1831).
You have all heard of the genius whose political thought has ruled international politics for hundreds of years and whose writing in fact was the reason that the term “Machiavellian” was coined.
In fact, according to Wikipedia, he is “considered one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, musician, and a playwright, but foremost, he was a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. In June of 1498, after the ouster and execution of Girolamo Savonarola, the Great Council elected Machiavelli as Secretary to the second Chancery of the Republic of Florence”
Now hold on to your hats because I am about to shock you. The only thing true in Wikipedia’s claim is that he was a civil servant. Otherwise, because someone plays the banjo, it does not make him a musician. Because he wrote two terrible plays that failed dismally, does not make him a playwright and because I am writing this, I am not a political philosopher.
There are geniuses who contribute to the advancement of humanity with ethical thought which raises us above the beasts, there are geniuses who invent the wheel or similar, there are evil geniuses who want to rule the world and there are geniuses who are simply arseholes. Machiavelli belongs to the latter category, despite the voluminous theories which come out of the mouths of ignoramuses who have actually read him without bothering to research the man and politicians who may have read him but have no real idea of what he is talking about and why he is saying what he is.
If you ask any politician in the world to list his/her favourite books, you can safely bet the farm that Machiavelli’s “The Prince” will be on that list. Do the same politicians understand the motives behind Machiavelli’s work? Not a chance in a million. And for a change politicians are not alone in their fathomless ignorance. Even Wikipedia, when it talks of Machiavelli, it talks through its hat.
Simply look at the facts and judge for yourself, so you are not a slave to anyone’s personal opinion, including mine:
The Republic of Florence was founded in 1115 but in 1434 the Medici family took control, until 1494 (Machiavelli was 25 years old here) when it reverted to being a Republic once more through French military intervention.
The Medici re-conquered the republic in 1512 (Machiavelli was 43 years old here),lost it again to the Republicans in 1527 (just before Machiavelli’s death) and finally the Medici re-assumed their rule in 1531, after an 11-month siege of the city. Please note the dates.
Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), was the son of a lawyer of moderate means, essentially middle class, whose main contribution to his son was to educate him well. Even then, despite this good education, Machiavelli the so called “philosopher” never learned Greek, which was the language of the student of philosophy and of philosophers of the time, so this says much as to his philosophical leanings and/or inclinations. Are you following, Wikipedia?
Now, anyone with a good education was GUARANTEED employment by the State, albeit a low paid one. So why did Machiavelli accept the position of a low paid clerk? He needed the money as was the case throughout his whole life. In other words, he NEVER had any money because he never had positions important enough which might have facilitated the creation of wealth!
It was in 1498 that Machiavelli eventually managed to get appointed as a secretary and Second Chancellor becoming a senior civil servant at last. For fourteen years he had mainly diplomatic responsibilities serving executive committees of government, with no authority to act on his own initiative.
In 1512 the Medici defeated the Republicans and returned to power so Machiavelli, a DEDICATED REPUBLICAN found himself out of work. In fact, in 1513 he was tortured by the Medici, on suspicion of treason, but was eventually allowed to retire to his family property just outside Florence.
His correspondence with third parties shows that he was desperate to get back into employment and to that end, he needed to get on the good books of the Medici. It was at this time, in 1513, that he wrote The Prince which he dedicated first to Giuliano de’ Medici and later changed the dedication to Lorenzo de’ Medici. He eventually slowly managed to be introduced to the Medici family.
His elastic loyalties speak volumes as to his motives, especially when a short time previously he published a pro Republican document, roughly saying approximately the opposite of what he was saying in The Prince.
This little weasel was, indeed, very intelligent and was probably a genius. But his genius was in managing to turn arse kissing into a science by putting on paper in a comprehensive manner the ACTUAL practices he had observed while a servant of the State, as opposed to the theoretical practices the politicians were purporting to operate by.
For example, Machiavelli claims that there is bad cruelty and good cruelty. Bad cruelty is when The Prince (the ruler) selectively slaughters his opposition over a long period of time. Good cruelty is when the same people are slaughtered over the very short term, without wasting time.
The theory is certainly based on logic. When you slaughter over a protracted period of time those you “have” to slaughter, you create terror in the survivors who will not know if and when their turn will come. In other words, you daily create new enemies in the relatives of those you slaughter and even worse, you create a visible threat to the lives of the survivors, who can never be sure when they will be next, with the strong possibility of causing them to decide to die fighting rather than to quietly await their turn to die.
In the case of good cruelty, when you slaughter all the candidates at once, you clear the air. The message goes out that you have had your fill and you do not intent to continue slaughtering. In such a case, the relatives of the departed will take a deep breath of relief and forget at some stage. The descendants prosper and get used to the status quo and as a result they become less willing to risk their prosperity, their well being, their very lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Now, after all this effort on the part of Machiavelli, the Medici began to think that anyone who was willing to kiss ass so enthusiastically as Machiavelli, might become a useful lackey, but just then, in 1527, they were kicked out once more and the Republicans returned.
At this time, the Republican in Machiavelli could no longer be denied and he came forth to claim his rightful place as a sufferer for the cause in the hands of the Medici. Regrettably, the Republicans knew how to read and they had read The Prince, so they told him to shove off. That’s when Machiavelli decided it was not worth it and he died.
Naturally, the ignoramuses that rule us translate Machiavelli’s theories to suit their purposes at will and it is usually the strong that tend to implement the theories of this “Great Diplomat and Political Scientist”.
Our only revenge on these morons is to have a good laugh at them every time they mention Machiavelli, because you and I now know that they really have no idea of what they are talking about and they are simply making a horse’s arse of themselves.
So, Your Magnificence, take this little gift in the spirit in which I send it; and if you read and consider it diligently, you will discover in it my urgent wish that you reach the eminence that fortune and your other qualities promise you. And if, from your lofty peak, Your Magnificence will sometimes glance down to these low-lying regions, you will realize the extent to which, undeservedly, I have to endure the great and unremitting malice of fortune.
Part of Machiavelli's letter accompanying the book, when Machiavelli sent 'The Prince' to Lorenzo de Medici