Machiavelli – The Prince Machiavelli‟s book “Prince” is like a technical manual for the administrators.
In the book, Machiavelli discussed true nature of politics and how to achieve success in politics both domestic and external. It is specially addressed to Lorenzo II of Medici family and modelled on the life Ceasre Borgia. The book thus gives the realist approach (real politick) about the politics. In the words of Machiavelli, “those who make their policies on the basis of what ought to be rather than what is are bound to face sorrow because we work with those people who are not essentially good”. The whole argument of the Prince is based on the two premises borrowed mainly from Aristotle. One of these is that the State is the highest form of human association and the most indispensable instrument for the promotion of human welfare, and that by merging himself in the state the individual finds his fullest development, that is, his best self. The second premise is that material self is the most potent motive force in individual and public action. Machiavelli almost identifies the state with the ruler. These premises led him to the conclusion that the Prince is the perfect embodiment of shrewdness and self-control who makes capital alike of his virtues and vices. This quality of the Prince makes him worthy of successful seizure of power. Human Nature and Power Politics: In „The Prince‟, Machiavelli analysed human nature in the context of reality of power politics. Machiavelli did not consider self interest or selfregarding behaviour as sinful or bad. From the psychological perspective Machiavelli opined on how people behave as opposed how they ought to behave. Machiavelli advocates two intimate rules that are related to power politics, which a prince should apply it. Firstly, the prince must learn to think about politics in a new way. He must be empirical to his political analysis and eschew all ethical ideals in his analysis. Secondly, the prince must act as logically as he thinks, even if this means violating generally held moral values. In other words, if the prince expects to maintain his power, he cannot himself always behave „ideally‟; he cannot approach his task as if he were conducting a Sunday school. The dictates of power require cold-blooded logic in action no less than in theory. Princely Virtu and Fortuna: The term that best captures Machiavelli's vision of the requirements of power politics is virtu. Machiavelli employs the concept of virtu to refer to the range of personal qualities that the prince will find it necessary to acquire in order to “maintain his state” and to “achieve great things,” the two standard markers of power for him. What is the conceptual link between virtu and the effective exercise of power for Machiavelli? The answer lies with another central Machiavellian concept, Fortuna (usually translated as “fortune”). Machiavelli argued that to have virtu is not to be virtuous in the Christian or classical sense- it is to be a changeling and being virtuous does mean to tell the truth but also able to be devious if necessary. For Machiavelli, riches and glory are the two finest gifts that fortune can bring and certainly important for human happiness.
In other words. according to Machiavelli state actions were not to be judged by individual ethics. moral obligations must in the end be derived from law and government. Even if the prince does not have any personal religious convection. This argument however. In order to overcome Fortuna and corruption. Religious should be a means not an end. Machiavelli remains an important thinker in western political thought because of his following points-
. the force behind the law must be the only power that holds society together. show us the separation of politics and religion and set the tone for one the main theme of modern times. He should be a cool and. In the interest of the state he should be prepared to sin boldly. One of the main argument is that Machiavelli‟s political theory leads to concentration of power in the hands of evil individuals who are cruel and devoid of moral qualms and demand to know how. Strauss characterised him as a teacher of evil. Shakespeare used the name „Machiavel‟ to signify devious characters. The prince must play the fox and act hypocrite to disguise his real motives and inclinations. Thus. Evaluation: Machiavelli was severely criticised after the publication of „The prince‟. Machiavelli was also critics for propagating the doctrine of evil. Sabine saw him as being immoral. Religion as Machiavelli argued is a useful means to regulate the behaviour of the people. he should never portray as irreligious. therefore. He must combine in himself rational as veil as brutal characteristics. Machiavelli‟s opinion is that political efficacy requires the cruelty and violence of the lion and the cunning of the fox. This position on religion has brought opposition from Christianity and scholars of his time. He spoke of the raison d’etat of the state that in politics fair was foul and foul was fair. Civic Virtu and Religion: This position of Machiavelli. according him a sheer political genius a successful ruler had to create a military power to overcome the disorderly cities and principalities and. Another criticism. it was difficult to understand how he could argue that a prince would use his access of concentrations of political power only for the public good and not for his personal generosity. He must be free from emotional disturbances and ready and capable of taking advantage of the emotions of others. as he defended the prince would to be immoral in his conduct. Isaiah Berlin. The two basic means of success for a prince are. calculating opportunist and should oppose evil by evil. namely the secularisation of thought and life. did not have takers. a combination of 'lion' and 'fox'. this can be strategy for the welfare of the community. that is corruption. a prince of virtu would study the means and ends and then act for reasons of state.the judicious use of law and physical force. in his „The Originality of Machiavelli‟ defends Machiavelli and argued that Machiavelli was not contrasting an immoral political realm with a moral political realm rather Machiavelli shows us the conflict between the two moralities – public and private.For Machiavelli. is Machiavelli‟s view on human nature. depending on the circumstances and situations. it is not with only Fortuna a prince has to deal but the other side of it. He prescribes double standard of conduct for statesmen and the private citizens. Nevertheless.
2. inspiring theorists from diverse standpoints like Jean Bodin. national security. territorial integrity as forces to safeguard and further state interest. Rousseau.1.
. Hobbes. Burke. Another important concept of Machiavelli is he attempted a formulate a striking balance between private and public interest. Hegel and De Tocqueville. 4. He was the first to study modern concept of human nature basing upon observation of human behaviour in defining the reality of power politics. militarism. which later became a significant part of political thought. 3. He was also the first to speak of the raison d‟etat of the state that shape the modern nation-state like nationalism. Machiavelli was one of the exponents of civic republicanism.