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5.0 von 5 Sternen Realpolitik, 21. September 2008
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Machiavelli: The Prince (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) (Taschenbuch)
Taking his work at its merit, Machiavelli did not write something new, and those who pondered about Jonathan Swift would find almost a complete picture of Machiavelli's ruler in Gulliver's travels. But, it was Machiavelli who abstained to mix politics with ethics and had no qualms in defending wrongdoings. Accordingly he was bedeviled.

By careful reading of the Prince, one may modify the own conclusion. It is true, that Machiavelli''s ruler would not retreat from committing a crime to maintain power, but the author repeatedly stressed, that doing so in order to prevent a greater evil should be seen as a common interest of the whole society. He irritated that the ruler must avoid to be hated and despised by his subjects and that he must aim to acquire his strength from his own people--the methods in achieving this goal are irrelevant. To draw some parallels between Machiavelli and Plato, both pointed out that the ruler must seek virtue in his dealings. However, Plato wrote in the Republic that no honest man would go into politics, and Machiavelli, though implicitly, endorsed that and referred that involvement in Politics and Power would demand vice deeds.

Machiavelli's pessimistic views concerning the human nature played a central role in formulating his thoughts. On the question, what is better for the ruler to be loved or to be feared, Machiavelli straightly chose the latter, because he believed that men were neither mature enough to love, nor able to be faithful, and only fear of punishment would hold them together--Hobb later believed that self-preservation was the driving power which stood behind all human actions.

Seen in this light, it is surprising why Machiavelli is conceived by many as agent of the devil when human society is disable to produce and to accept the philosopher-king of Plato. Machiavelli underpinned his arguments with History, and History will not disappoint anybody in providing endless examples. In other words, human society reproduces itself naturally in the same terms, as described by Machiavelli, it has only a pleasant designation; Realpolitik.

Banality of Machiavelli's ideas lie that he did not squander any thought on the caducity of time and life. His ruler is haunted by fear of conspiracies, by looking for methods to undermine his foes, by waging war when the circumstances are suitable and so forth. The question remains open whether it really worths to maintain power, in order to rule, under these conditions.
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Machiavelli: The Prince (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
Machiavelli: The Prince (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) von Quentin Skinner (Taschenbuch - 10. November 1988)
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