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Lecture 15

POL200Y1 Lecture 15: Machiavelli — Chapters 17-26; The Prince's Story of Liberation


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL200Y1
Professor
Janice Stein
Lecture
15

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POL200Y1Lecture15Notes
Ch.17:Cruelty&Compassion
● Machiavellisaysthateveryrulerwantsareputationforcompassion
○ However,withregardstohumannature,therearecomplexitiestobeworkedwith
○ E.g.“You’vegottobecrueltobekind”
■ Bothshouldnotbepursuedtotheirextremes
● Contrastingly,theFlorentines,whocultivatedcompassion,endedupcultivatingdisorderintheir
society
● Newrulerscannotavoidacruelreputation
○ Contrastingly,the4greatsMachiavelliciteddonothaveareputationofcruelty
● MachiavellicitesQueenDaidoasarulerwhoneededcrueltytosurvive
○ Daidoisagreatexampleofmeasuredcruelty;however,herfatalflawwasthatshefellinlove
withAeneas
■ Thepointfromthisanalogyisthatcrueltymustbeusedwellsothatcompassioncanbe
afforded
■ Thisleadstothequestion“Isitbettertobefearedthanloved?”
● Machiavellisaysthatarulershouldstrivetobebothfearedandloved,butifonemustchoose
oneovertheother,thenarulershouldsimplypursuefear
○ Machiavellideterminesthatsubjectsshouldlovetheirrulersbecausetheyarefeared
○ Headvisesthatfearcanbecontrolled,whereaslovecannot;fearistheultimateinstrumentof
power
● RefertoRomanphilosopherCicero,apiousandvirtuousfigure
○ Cicerosaysthatleadersmustcultivatetheloveofhisfollowers
■ Whenthepeoplearetreatedwell,rulerscancountontheirlove,whichisbuiltfortheright
reasons
■ I.e.“Thenatureofthelowerclassescanbeawakenedbythevirtuesofoutstanding
individuals”
● Machiavelliconsideredthelowerclassascapricious,similartotheelites;however,fearof
punishment(particularlythefearofdeath)isnot;whichmakesfearreliable
○ Thismeansthatthesimplefearofpunishment(outsideofthePrince’sjurisdiction)is
inadequateasitisnotdireenough
■ Ultimately,heissayingthatfearcanreducethecapriciousnessofthepeople
● Itisunderstoodthatpeoplearenotstrongenoughtobemartyrs
○ Whileearthlyfearsareuseful,Machiavellielaboratesbysayingthatspiritualfearsmustbe
attackedastocompletelyeradicatethefearof‘eternalpunishment,enablinghimtotakefull
controlofhissubjects
○ Tomaximizetheeffectivenessoffear,earthly(temporal)andspiritualpowermustbeunited
● Usageoffearleadstoapossibleproblem:thatfearmayleadtoincurringthehatredofaruler’s
ownsubjects

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○ Machiavelliadvisesthatfearshouldthereforebeusedonlytotheextentthatitdoesnotcreate
hatred
■ Sincepropertyisvaluedmorethanlife,fearshouldnotconcerntheconfiscationofproperty
■ Usingfearasatoolmeansthatrulersshouldbepreparedtofeartheirownpeople
● Onlyifthe‘bedrock’ofpowerisestablished(i.e.fear)canlovebeenabled
● MachiavellicitesScipioandHannibalasasexamples
○ Scipioiscriticizedforbeingtoolenient,whichallowstheRomantroopsandpeopletobe
corrupted
○ Hannibalispraisedforhissuccessofmaintainingcontroloverhismultinationalarmy,which
resultedfromhisharshandcrueldisciplinarymeasures
■ Fearisthendeterminedtoleadtosuccess
■ Love,inmilitaryandpoliticalsettings,canleadtoblunders
Ch.18:Honesty&Deception
● Peoplegenerallypraisehonesty;however,craftyanddishonestrulersusuallyachieveempirical
victoriesmoreoftenthannot
● Machiavellipraisesthe‘act’(appearance)ofbeinghuman
○ Machiavellithusadvisesthatrulersshouldensurethattheirpeopleperceivethemtobe
benevolentandvirtuousfigures
■ Thismeansthattheyshouldavoidactingwithbrutishforcewheneverpossibleandavoid
deceptivelydependingonthetiming(fortune)becausesuchmethodsare‘tooanimalistic’
● MachiavellicitesChiron,afigurehalfmanandhalfbeast
○ Chironisportrayedasateacherforyoung,potentialprinces;heknowshowtoteachthemto
occasionallyresorttoanimalisticmeasures
■ Chironisthusashaperofyoungminds,butmostimportantlyheisateacherforprinces;he
isnotanadvisor
○ ItispossiblethatMachiavellienvisionshimselfasateacherofaPrinceasopposedtobeinga
mereadvisortoaPrince
● Rulersareadvisedtoadapttheircrueltyandcompassionaccordingtocontext,butshouldalso
bepreparedtodeceive
○ “Dowhatisrightifyoucanbutbepreparedtodowrongwhenitisnecessary”
● Machiavellisuggeststhatstateshaveapreferencetoeithermoralityorimmorality
○ Machiavellireallysuggeststhatthereshouldbeapreferenceforsuccess
● Peoplewanttoberuledbecausetheyareconventional
● Virtuesshouldbeinstrumentalizednodifferentlytoreligion,butonlywhenneeded
Ch.19:HatredandContempt
● Onecanonlybeaviciousruleriftheyavoidconfiscatingpropertyoftheirsubjects,because
suchactsincurhatred
● Cowardiceshouldbeavoidedbecauseitmakesonecontemptible
○ Contemptibilityisalsoshownwhenrulersimpressivelydisplaytheirvirtues
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