Lao-Tzu And Machiavelli's Comparison Of Leadership

1097 Words 5 Pages
Comparison of leaders
Lao-tzu writes “throw away morality and Justice, and people will do the right thing.”; this is Lao-tzu’s core belief that if left to their own devices humans will do the right thing. This notion of human good is in stark comparison to Machiavelli's cynical view of society. Although these texts were written nearly two thousand years apart and in different hemispheres, both authors reflect on common themes such as human nature, leadership, and War. Even though their themes are common these authors come to opposing radically conclusions.
Lao-tzu had a benevolent view of human nature, It is evident throughout his writings. Lao-tzu states “throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier. Throwaway
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He believes that without cultural motives such as laws, holiness, and profit, people have a basic human nature to act virtuously. On the contrary Machiavelli believes that humans have little morality and a malevolent nature. He states “for men forget more quickly the death of their father then than the loss of their patrimony.”(Machiavelli 228) this exemplifies his perceived shallowness of the human mind, and their obsession with wealth and possessions, over their emotions. This is exceedingly evident throughout his writings on governing, he implies the vice of the human race citing the need for many laws and regulations to keep the people's perceived malicious intents in check. Machiavelli and Lao-tzu had very different ideas about what it takes to be a successful leader. Those who believes to be a successful leader one must be trusted and respected by the people they govern. Votes you also believes that government should be limited non-intrusive in his writings Lao-tzu States “ when the master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists” Later in his writing he highlights the importance of a flexible and …show more content…
Lao-tzu is steadfast in his belief that war is not a necessity rather an unnecessary evil. Lao-tzu states “there is no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy.” in this quote Lao-tzu makes clear his belief that fear and war are great evils that lead people to stray from the tao. Not only does Lao-tzu speak negatively of war, he is strictly opposed to the idea that weapons make a country safer. Stating “the more weapons you have, the the less secure people will be”. Machiavelli speaks extensively of the role military and war plays in governing. He sees military leadership as a key attribute to the success of a leader. Machiavelli states “a prince, therefore, must not have any other object nor any other thought, nor must he take anything as his profession but war, its institutions, and its discipline.”(Machiavelli 221) Machiavelli sees the military duty of the leader as the most important aspect of their leadership. In fact, in opposition to Lao-tzu, he believes that the leader must be more focused on war and their military in times of peace. He declares”He [the prince] must, therefore, never raise his thought from this exercise of war, and in peacetime he must train himself more than in time of war;”(Machiavelli 222) he stresses the importance of of the leader being physically prepared for war by partaking in hunting expeditions to prepare their

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