How Machiavelli Is A Man Of The Cost Benefit Analysis Essay

2068 Words Sep 30th, 2016 9 Pages
Machiavelli is a man of many labels, but perhaps the most accurate is that he was a main of calculation. For all the talk of evil, cruelty and virtues, he could really be seen as the father of the cost-benefit analysis. In that same light, Machiavelli’s virtù and traditional virtues should not be seen as at odds, but rather as tools that work in tandem. To view them as wholly incompatible by nature is a narrow view at best, and woefully idealistic at worst. Indeed, they appear incompatible only if one contends that a moral man cannot ever commit any act of evil. In this paper, I will argue that Machiavelli’s virtù is comprised of all traits, including conventional moral virtues, and that everything from cruelty to compassion are pieces on a prince’s chess board and that using all pieces is nothing short of essential.
Conventional virtues and virtù are certainly separate concepts. Virtù, for Machiavelli, should best be interpreted as ingenuity or efficacy. To wit, a prince must employ both conventional virtues and their own ingenuity; which may very well extend into cruelty. Machiavelli conveys this unity clearly in referencing the late Carthaginian Hannibal:
Among the admirable actions of Hannibal is numbered this one: that when he had a very large army, mixed with infinite kinds of men, and had led it to fight in alien lands, no dissensions ever arose in it, neither among themselves nor against the prince, in bad as well as in his good fortune. This could not have arisen…

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