Machiavelli Essay On How Not To Be Good

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The natural inability for a leader to simultaneously act in a morally pure manner and preside over successful governance leads Machiavelli to advise that the Prince must embody duplicity and deviousness in order to triumph. Machiavelli vehemently states that incorruptible leaders who exclusively promote righteousness leave themselves vulnerable to subversion by cunning forces, which is against the interests of the ruler and the state. Importantly, Machiavelli states that the ability for leaders to achieve glory and virtù is enhanced if leaders are unshackled from commitments of upholding moral values. In arguing that the Prince should learn how ‘not to be good’, Machiavelli is not insisting that it is acceptable for a leader to be reprehensibly …show more content…
By making a clear distinction between being a ‘good person’ and a ‘good leader’, Machiavelli contends that effective rulers must occasionally commit morally loathsome acts to ensure the stability of their rule and kingdom. Central to this argument is the notion that is justifiable for leaders to engage in ‘carefully calibrated uses of force in the short-term’ if it is motivated by a desire to prevent worse alternatives in the long-term such as political turmoil or civil war. Furthermore, by condemning human nature as being inherently wicked and devious, Machiavelli is ultimately led to a belief that ‘only the coercive power of the state could repress humanity’s worst instincts’. To demonstrate this phenomenon, Machiavelli in his magnum opus ‘The Prince’ refers to the onetime ruler of Florence, Girolamo Savonarola, to illustrate that tender hearted governance is often counterproductive towards achieving prosperity and freedom for society. Savonarola, who incorporated Christian values of equality and altruism into his political agenda in an attempt to purge Florence of its moral transgressions, was quickly deposed and executed after a short reign of less than four years by the ruthless Pope Alexander VI who viewed Savonarola as a dangerous rival. In Machiavelli’s opinion, the naivety of Savonarola’s approach to leadership is a clear case that shows the inability for ‘unarmed prophets’ to ‘keep steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe’. Through stressing the significance of stability, Machiavelli rejects that morally pure leadership is desirable by claiming that sinister actors will exploit the vulnerabilities of benevolent leaders to inevitably

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