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Lecture 15

POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Stupefied, Tyrant, Mississippi Highway 4


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL200Y1
Professor
Ryan Balot
Lecture
15

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Machiavelli final
Ch17: cruelty and compassion
oEvery ruler should want a reputation for compassion
oUsing cruelty well leads to security and maybe even prosperity while damaging only a
few
oCompassion can lead to disorder and thus human suffering
oM recommends controlled violence as a way to avoid escalation of violence
Especially new rulers, they need a reputation for cruelty
oThe greatest rulers do not have a reputation for cruelty (M's 4)
oM uses a woman to show that you don't have to be manly to be a ruler, you just have to
use cruelty well so that you can afford to be compassionate
oBetter to be loved or feared?
Perhaps you should be loved because you are feared, despite it being safer to be
feared
oM's contrast between the two is a specific rejection of the discussion on the topic by
Cicero
oCicero discussed the love that could be cultivated between a leader and his followers,
advised leaders to do so
M and C view ordinary citizens very differently
oThe people can feel gratitude, M says, but they will neglect that attitude when it is in
their interests to do so
Fear as the ultimate instrument of power
oFear, used for clearly specified aims, makes people behave well
You can rely on people's fear of dying if nothing else
oMost Christians are not strong enough to be martyrs despite heaven so earthly fear is
useful for them, but it is especially useful for people who don't believe in God
For this reason, it is essential for M to attack Christian beliefs
oReligious fear must be controlled by the politician authority for a state to be stable
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oCicero to all of this would respond that a tyrant cannot withstand the hatred of the
people
This argument explains why M says it is perfectly possible to be feared but not
hated
Just don't take away their property
oCicero says that fear may be an effective tool but if men wish to be feared, they must
inevitably fear their own people
To this, M would say fine, people should fear their own people, conspiracy in
particular
oLove may be possible only when there is fear and thus obedience
oM compares Scipio to Hannibal: S was affable, kind, generous to his soldiers, learned
this from a history of Cyrus
M says S read Cyrus the wrong way, became overly lenient and this led to the
corruption of the Roman troops in his guidance
By contrast, H was harsh and cruel and could thus lead an army, just like the real
Cyrus
oCruelty well used leads to good, love and all to bad
oCruelty doesn't guarantee success; Romans kept control despite S, H relied on
mercenaries and thus lost
Ch18: honesty and deception
oHonesty is praised in rulers, but if you really do the empirical work, dishonest rulers
without integrity tend to win over honest rulers
oDeceit and force are utterly alien to human beings - Cicero
oBy contrast, M says that the ruler has to be taught how to act like an animal and when
to do that and when to be human
Act - it is all an act after all
oThe tutor of Achilles - Chiron
Story originally showed how A was taught to be just and all by the just centaur
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M says that since C is half man half beast, he taught A how to be animal half the
time and human half the time - like the ideal ruler
C is the only teacher in the work of aspiring princes, M takes his advice, perhaps
M sees himself in the same light as a teacher, shaper of minds
oMachiavelli says that those who simply act like a lion all the time do not understand
their business
oMilitary power is crucial but deception is more often useful
The ruler has to be flexible, cruel sometimes but also ready to deceive
Should prefer to be just and generous, but needs to be able to be a bad person
Some people take that to mean M is giving a moral judgement
But really, M is about images - you should be just and generous first to give the
impression that you are, nothing else
oThe people must be shaped from above by a prince according to M, they are fickle,
simple, and don't know what's good for them
oHis thing about morals is offensive to the classical tradition, you shouldn't be using
virtue, you should have it for its own sake
oM yells us that there is a big ideology of virtue from classicals and Christians, use it.
Don't follow, don't admire, just use for your purposes and for the purpose of making the
state prosperous
Ch19: Hatred and contempt
oHow do you avoid hatred and contempt?
oYou can have a reputation for vice, but you cannot steal property or other men's
women, which lead to hatred
Also, do not be a coward that's just contemptible
oThe ruler ought to fear his people, particularly because of conspiracies
Keep the people loyal, you must do this with an impression of virtue and with
fear
oM says that the Roman army became greedy and wanted property
oMost of the emperor's loved virtue and hated greed, wanted to be just and shit
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