The Prince
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The Prince
Niccolò Machiavelli
Philosophy & Religion
Jul 29, 2018
Published five years after its author’s death, The Prince advanced a revolutionary theory of statecraft. The traditional view of governance held that a ruler earned the respect and obedience of his subjects by ruling virtuously. But the principle at the heart of The Prince is that virtue as such has no place in politics. Moral strictures and ethical commandments, Machiavelli argued, must never tie a prince’s hands; his only concern is to get and keep power. In other words, when it comes to governing, the end justifies the means. It is a notion for which Machiavelli was condemned for centuries (some contemporaries called him an agent of the devil), but seldom by those in a position to understand his perception’s utility. Today we call Machiavelli’s devilish pragmatism “realpolitik.” By combining his firsthand experience of cutthroat political turbulence with extensive research into historical precedents and a keen sense of how self-interest shapes human behavior, Machiavelli composed a Renaissance textbook on power that has never gone out of date, and that remains both readable and stylish in its urbane attention to political imperatives.
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Dec 2, 2018
You might think Trump read this, if he read books.
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Mar 29, 2019
Before House of Cards, before 21st century politics, was The Prince. A delightfully cynical guide for ascending to power by hook or by crook.
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