Machiavelli, Man of the People

We’ve known our share of allegedly misunderstood literary figures (lookin’ at you, Nietzsche). But is Machiavelli one of them?

In The Prince, Machiavelli argues that leaders shouldn’t be objectively virtuous or truthful, but rather effective at preserving their reign. Hence a just end can excuse a leader’s horrendous acts, or “the ends justify the means.” But in this article, Sam Dresser claims that Machiavelli only appeals to powerful leaders in order to protect the people, since “Satisfying the desire of the people to be secure in their lives, families and property is and ought to be the end or purpose of government.”

Aw, Machiavelli, ya big softy! He was just looking out for the little guy all this time.

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