Tuesday, 10 November 2009
‘If a prince wants to maintain his rule, he must learn how not to be virtuous, and how to make the best use if this or not according to need’*
This is one of Machiavelli’s statements that have led to his notoriety. For him, being virtuous, or not, is merely a means to an end. In this respect there is no virtue.
But, is there a modern and ethical message here? This statement could be interpreted as ‘be deliberate in how you act – you should always be focused on what you are trying to achieve’
Or am I being too charitable to Machiavelli? How would you interpret this statement?
(*Excerpt from * Machiavelli “The Prince” – translated by George Bull – Penguin 1961)