Presentation on theme: "The New Science of Politics Niccolo Machiavelli and the Law of Necessity Or, One Never Seeks to Avoid an Inconvenience without Running into Another. (The."— Presentation transcript:
The New Science of Politics Niccolo Machiavelli and the Law of Necessity Or, One Never Seeks to Avoid an Inconvenience without Running into Another. (The Prince, Ch.21)
Where we left off… Politics is natural to human beings Cities are ordered according to a telos Power is understood as a relationship between the rulers and the ruled Power limited according to the telos ordered for the city Legitimacy depends on the ability of the ruler to order the city towards its proper telos and to govern according to the city’s proper order The Old Science of Politics
Machiavelli Objects! The only important distinctions among cities concern “modes”: (from in quo modo, hence “modern”) How are cities (states) acquired? How are they governed? How are they lost? How does one keep from losing his state? As for other distinctions among cities, “All the states, all the dominions that have had and have imperium over men have been and are either republics or principates.” The Prince, Ch.1 The Telos of a city is the same no matter the city : Continue to exist Preserve and protect itself from ruin.
What about human nature? “It is a thing truly natural and ordinary to desire to acquire” (The Prince, Ch. 3) “One can say this generally of men: that they are ungrateful, fickle, hypocrites and dissemblers, evaders of dangers, lovers of gain” ( Ch. 17) “While you do them good, they are wholly yours, offering you blood, goods, life, and sons when need is far off; but when it approaches you, then they revolt.” (ibid.) For Machiavelli, human nature is everywhere the same. Princes and paupers alike possess the same nature:
Need? The true ruler of men, necessity serves as a constant threat to the preservation of one’s state (lo stato) To anticipate necessity successfully is to overcome necessity, and to free oneself from enslavement to fortune “In my experience there is no such thing as luck” Sir Alec Guinness, as Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars (1977)
Machiavelli on Necessity “He needs must always hurt whose new prince he becomes” (The Prince, Ch. 3) “even if one has the most powerful of armies, one always has need of the favor of the inhabitants of a province to enter it.” (Ch. 3) “in taking a state the occupier ought to reason out all those offenses that are necessary… and do them all at one stroke.” (The Prince, Ch. 8) On Necessity “All the injuries ought to be done all together, for being tasted less, they offend less.” (Ch. 8) “Well used one is able to call cruelties, if one may call the bad good, which are done at one stroke for the necessity of securing oneself.” (Ch. 8)
Necessity as a tool of Statecraft “The principal foundations which all states have, whether new, old, or mixed, are good laws and good arms. There cannot be good laws where there are not good arms, and where there are good arms there needs must be good laws.” (Ch. 12) “A wise prince ought to think of a mode whereby his citizens, always and in every quality of time, have need of the state and of him, and then they will always be faithful to him.” (The Prince, Ch. 9) “It is necessary for a prince, if he wishes to maintain himself, to learn to be able to be not good, and to use it and not use it according to the necessity.” (Ch. 15) “The cities of Germany are free to the highest degree…for they possess the requisite moats and walls, and they have adequate artillery.” (Ch. 10)
Self-reliance: Machiavellian Virtue “He who is the cause of another’s becoming powerful ruins himself” (The Prince Ch. 3) “Those who are private men and become princes only by fortune do so with little toil, but with much do they maintain themselves.” (Ch. 7) “Nothing is so infirm and unstable as the fame of power which does not rest upon one’s own strength” (Tacitus’ Annals: 13.19, qtd in The Prince, Ch. 13) “It is only the spending of what’s yours that hurts you” (Ch. 16)
What about Love? Doesn’t love promote loyalty? “It is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two must be lacking.” (The Prince, Ch. 17) Consider human nature—all men are equally ungrateful, fickle, hypocrites and dissemblers, evaders of dangers, lovers of gain—self-interested (Ch. 17) Love is maintained by a chain of obligation which because of men’s wickedness is broken on every occasion of their own utility. (The Prince, Chapter 17) Fear as a Tool of Statecraft Fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never abandons you. (ibid.)
The Noble Lie Returns! “The vulgar are always taken in by the appearance and the outcome of a thing, and in this world there is none but the vulgar.” (ibid.) Appearances vs.the Effectual Truth One must exercise power through either Force or Fraud “Further, there are two kinds of fighting: one with the laws, and the other with force. The first is proper to man, the second to the beasts…It is necessary…to know how well to use (both) the beast and the man.” (The Prince, Ch. 18) “Men universally judge more by the eyes than by the hands, because it is given to everyone that they see, but to few that they can touch.” (ibid.) “Everyone sees who you seem to be, but few touch what you are.” (ibid.) “With respect to human actions…one looks to the end.” (ibid.)
A Lesson in Government from Cesare Borgia (From The Prince, Ch. 7) The Duke, having taken the Romagna, found it commanded by impotent lords who had been quicker to despoil their subjects than to correct them…as the province was full of robberies, of factional quarrels, and of every other reason for arrogance, he judged it necessary, wishing to reduce it to peace and obedience to give them good government.
Good Government?! So he placed there Messer Remirro de Orco (Ramiro de Lorca), a cruel and expeditious man, to whom he gave the fullest power. That man in a little time and with very great reputation, reduced (the Romagna) to peace and unity.
Good Government and the Law of Necessity The Duke then judged that such excessive authority was not necessary, because he did not doubt that it would arouse hatred; and he set up a civil judiciary, in which every city had its own advocate, with a most excellent president (magistrate) And because he knew that the past severities had generated some hatred, in order to purge the minds of that people and to gain them all to himself, he wished to show that
Good Government and the Law of Necessity If any cruelty had been had been done, it had not been done by him, but by his harsh minister (Lorca) And he found an occasion; he had him (Lorca) placed one morning in the piazza in Cesena in two pieces, with a piece of wood and a bloody knife alongside. The ferocity of that spectacle left the people at the same time satisfied and stupefied.
As for Lady Luck, forget it; You’ll be ruined if you don’t rely on your own “virtue” Everyone wants something: we are all equal. You can’t really trust other people to be anything but selfish Manipulate appearances, i.e. use force and fraud, to anticipate necessity Be cruel only when necessary, not when unnecessary For Machiavelli, Politics deals entirely with the problem of necessity; No man rules but is ruled by need. You must anticipate necessity to hang on to what you have as well as to get more So to Sum it Up: