. Consequently, he would have to burden his people by incrementing taxes and taking away resources. This in turn would make him a miser to the eyes of his people rather than generous. “This will begin to make him [the prince] hateful to his subjects… as a consequence of his generosity, having offended many and rewarded a few, he will feel the effects of any slight unrest… recognizing this and wishing to alter his policies, he immediately runs the risk of being reproached as a miser” (225).
In other words, private citizens would only recognize their prince lavishing them and granting all their wishes, only to become blind with hate if he can no longer continue doing so. Machiavelli advises his prince that “it is wiser to live with the reputation of a miser, which produces reproach without hatred, than to be forced to incur the reputation of rapacity, which produces reproach along with hatred, because you want to be considered as generous” (227). I believe Machiavelli advice on generosity can be a valuable tool to our government, towards how generous they are with resources.
Many people may disagree, however our government is formed in that a single person can make more money a year on state aid than a high school teacher. We live in the era of materialistic things and much like the people in Machiavelli’s time we are blinded by what we are not given rather than the excessive amount that is. Our government is proof of the consequences Machiavelli warned his prince. Generosity and miserliness overlaps with Machiavelli’s advise on whether it is best to be loved/merciful or cruel/feared. Much like the consequences with generosity being loved and merciful can end up being disasterous for a prince.
A prince who is loved, places himself in a dangerous situation as Machiavelli points out, “men are less hesitant about harming someone who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared” (228). Machiavelli contends that a prince should indeed wish to be merciful and loved, however it is better to be cruel and feared than loved. To help illustrate, Cesare Borgia (1476-1507), was considered a cruel and stick leader; however, his cruelty brought unity and peace to his subjects in Romagna. A prince who is merciful will be hated for the disorder he allows to squander under his rule.
In efforts to get his statement across, Machiavelli expressed”… they are ungrateful, fickle, simulators, and deceivers, avoiders of danger… and while you work for their good they are completely yours… when danger is far away; but when it comes nearer they turn away” (228). Although Machiavelli states its best to be feared, he cautions his prince to be feared but not hated. Both combined can create an uprise or a conspiray against him. It is possible to be feared and not hated by straying away from mans property and women. Machiavelli alerts his prince that “… e should avoid the property of others; for men forget quickly the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony” (228). Nonetheless, being feared comes as an advantage when it concerns his troops; they will always be united and trained for any situation, with a prince who is strict and feared by others. Machiavelli makes excellent points that could be reasonable in todays time, if our country was not already divided by hatred and mistrust. The trust in our government has been on a decline since 1958 (Public Trust in Government: 1958-2014).
The President of the United States, cannot choose whether to be loved or feared as a prince would in 1513. This is because people have become more opinionated that it wouldn’t matter what the President did, they will still love and hate him. There is no in between. Thus I would not say that Machiavelli’s view would not be reasonable today. Along with being feared or loved Machiavelli informs his prince on keeping his word to his subjects. If the world were a perfect place than perhaps everyone can make promises without breaking them. However, its never that simple. Although we would like to keep our word, it’s never a sure thing.
Obstacles get in the way or we may have chewed off more than we can handle. Machiavelli understands these circumstances and notes them in his advice to his prince on not keeping his word. “… one sees from the experience of our times that the princes who have accomplished great deeds are those who have cared little for keeping their promises and who have known how to manipulate the minds of men by shrewdness… ” (229). Much like todays politicians, Machiavelli suggests for his prince to never keep his word because there are many circumstances in which he will have to break them for the better.
Nonetheless, breaking a promise without disturbing the peace takes great skill that a prince should learn. For example, Alexander VI, religiously broke his promises; however, he mastered the aspects of man and how to deceive them without causing chaos. Machiavelli uses an analogy to bring his point to perspective by using the two alpha beasts, the fox and lion. “… a prince must know how to use wisely the nature of the beast… it is necessary to be a fox in order to recognize the traps and a lion in order to frighten the wolves. Those who play only the lion do not understand matters” (230).
Learning to be slick is important so that a prince will always be liked even if he is feared. However, Machiavelli warns his prince to use this skill wisely and on occasions, but not all the time so to not raise any questions and make him hated amongst his subjects. Hatred is the most powerful emotion, a prince who is despised and hated should be concerned for more than just his position on the throne. Machiavelli did not fail to emphasize the crisis of being hated in the issues of military matters, generosity, being loved or feared, being praised or blamed, and on a prince’s word.
Machiavelli’s advice on avoiding hatred is the most valuable of all, which is why he continually reiterated it. According to Machiavelli the best way to avoid hatred is to refrain from a mans property and woman, as stated in the third paragraph. A prince who is hated will lose the security of his own home. He will lose all protection and risk the chance of conspiracies. “A prince must have two fears: one, internal, concerning his subjects; the other, external, concerning foreign powers. From the latter he can defend himself by his good troops and friends… (Machiavelli 232). The prince can have all of the above qualities but be intelligent to not stir up hatred.
He can be both cruel and not hated or feared and respected. Machiavelli concluded that a prince will never have to worry of conspiracies because: “… [a] conspirator is nothing but fear, jealousy, and the thought of punishment that terrifies him; but on the part of the prince there is the majesty of the principality, the laws, the defenses of friends and the state to protect him… ith the good will of the people added to these things, it is impossible for anyone to be so rash as to plot against him… he must be afraid, having the people as an enemy” (233) In other word’s, a man would be a fool to conspire against a prince who is well respected. The leaders in todays era are highly guarded to prevent any assasination’s. However, our leaders should still be cautious of Machiavelli’s advice. To a certain extent, this may be reasonable today but again our leaders today do not have a choice on whether to be loved or hated.
Thus, they must be able to protect themselves. In retrospect, Machiavelli offers admirable advice to his prince. All of the qualities are those of a great leader; unfortunately, not all of his advice can be followed in todays time. We are far more advanced in politics than in 1513; however, our leaders should be well versed in the techniques of war and avoid being generous. I say this because its too of the main problems concerning our country today.