Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”

Hits: 150

Tyrants and despots have never required justification for their actions. In the 17th century, as political philosophers began to reject the classic Catholic doctrines of politics and ethics, The Prince was viewed as more relevant: truths are more important than ideals.

It is probably not an accident that The Prince has been misinterpreted for 300 years. Taken literally, there is no better justification for tyranny, whether political or economic, than the universal misinterpretation of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. This small pamphlet, written in 1513–1514, addressed to the new Medici prince, if taken literally, outlines the best practices to attain and maintain power by using cruelty, fear, lies, deceptions, and the appearance of benevolence to hide the immoral actions required to achieve one’s goals. It names Caesar Borgia as the ideal prince to emulate.

The misunderstood, literal translation of The Prince has been used by philosophers, politicians, dictators, academics and business leaders for hundreds of years as a justification for acquiring and extending power using any immoral, unethical, and illegal means. In a word, it is the doctrine that the end justifies the means—that doing whatever is necessary in order to secure the glory of your country or company is justified.

The literal interpretation of The Prince has crystallized into a permanent political theory, a work that fits any age and will continue to fit any so long as it is not exposed as a fraud.

This misinterpreted pamphlet is loved because it emancipated politics from theology and moral philosophy. In so doing, it created a justification for specious behavior in practically every field of human endeavor. Millions of men and women have been duped into believing “the ends justify the means” and have blindly followed this “modern political philosophy” and its immoral, unethical and illegal principles like a Bible.

The Prince contradicts everything else Machiavelli ever wrote and everything we know about his life, his other books and writings. Based on his positions in government and his lasting friendships, Machiavelli was whole-heartedly a defender of the Republic of Florence. This contradiction and the knowledge of Machiavelli’s opinions provide evidence that most probably The Prince is a satire.

Philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Diderot and Sir Francis Bacon interpreted The Prince as a satire to warn the citizens of Florence about the tactics to expect from their newly installed Medici prince. U. S. Founding Father John Adams viewed Machiavelli as a defender of mixed government.

The neoconservative political movement has deliberately misinterpreted, misquoted, twisted and subverted Machiavelli’s books and in particular,The Prince, to accomplish their political goals.

The neoconservative political movement owes its genesis to Irving Kristol (1920–2009) a journalist, columnist, and writer who is dubbed the “godfather of neo-conservatism.” Irving Kristol took Leo Strauss, PhD (1899–1973) a twentieth-century philosopher, as his philosophical master. “From Strauss’s Persecution and the Art of Writing (1952), Kristol absorbed the message that philosophers needed to conceal their dangerous doctrines from the masses. . . . Philosophers form an intellectual elite, and they rank far superior to those lacking their wisdom.”[i] Kristol also developed a fascination for Machiavelli as did Strauss. Kristol penned the article “Machiavelli: Men and Ideas,” which ran in Encounter, the December 1954 issue. http://www.unz.org/Pub/Encounter-1954dec-00047

 In the article, he calls Machiavelli “master,” but “what he had to teach is far from clear.” Essentially, Kristol treats Machiavelli as a philosopher who needed to conceal his “dangerous doctrines” from the masses. Kristol claims that Machiavelli’s irony and satire were techniques to conceal Machiavelli’s “new element in political thinking.” Quite the opposite is true. Machiavelli wrote The Prince to warn the citizens of Florence about the tactics to expect from their newly installed dictator.

Kristol also writes of Machiavelli’s “hero worship” of Caesar Borgia (the model of an ideal prince). In fact, choosing Cesare Borgia (1475/76–1507) as a “model prince” to emulate can only be seen as satirical. A Medici prince, was being advised to emulate Caesar Borgia, a foreigner, a Spaniard, a bastard, convicted, in the court of public opinion of fratricide, incest, and a long rote of abominable crimes, a man specially hated in Tuscany for treachery and extortion and for the gross misconduct of his troops on neutral Florentine soil, and a man, to boot, who as a prince had been a notorious and spectacular failure. Machiavelli made his distaste for Borgia very clear in many works.

In justifying Machiavelli’s The Prince as “political science” as opposed to rhetoric in the form of satire, Kristol quotes Machiavelli:

“It is a sound maxim that reprehensible actions may be justified by their effects”.

Kristol continues:

“It is nonsensical to say that reprehensible actions are to be justified by their affects, for if they are so justified, they are not “reprehensible”.

This short statement evolved to “the ends justify the means” and summarizes how the literal interpretation of The Prince, a satire, has crystallized into a permanent political theory. It has become the justification for any action whether immoral, unethical, or illegal.

Leo Strauss (1899–1973) was a twentieth-century philosopher who was born in Germany and received his PhD from the University of Hamburg.

In 1937, Strauss moved to the United States. Following a brief fellowship at Columbia University, he held a position at the New School for Social Research from 1938 to 1948. . . . In 1949, Strauss received a professorship at the University of Chicago. The publication of Natural Right and History (1953) brought lasting renown along with intense controversy.<http://contemporarythinkers.org/leo-strauss/biography/>.

His first extensive studies of Plato and Machiavelli were printed in the mid-1940s. Strauss went on to write fifteen books, including Thoughts on Machiavelli. In 1958, Leo Strauss wrote:

Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics, which exists and will continue to exist independently of his influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for achieving its ends—its end being the aggrandizement of one’s country or fatherland—but also using the fatherland in the service of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one’s party.[ii]

Among the other admirers and students of Leo Strauss was Paul Wolfowitz, who served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense for policy from 1989 to 1993 during the administration of George H. W. Bush. Defense Planning Guidance, a document prepared during 1992 by Paul Wolfowitz, is regarded by manyas the “quintessential statement of neoconservative thought.”

C. Bradley Thompson, PhD, coauthor of Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea: argues that neoconservatism’s key philosophical inspiration comes from Irving Kristol, and particularly from Kristol’s engagement with the philosopher Leo Strauss.

In a December 6, 2010, interview with Scott Horton, published in Harper’s,

https://harpers.org/blog/2010/12/the-death-of-neoconservatism-six-questions-for-c-bradley-thompson/,

Thompson argues that under Straussian influence, neoconservatives champion the rule of a philosophically cunning elite over a population that will never be able to understand their intellectual masters. Instead, the populace is steered toward self-sacrifice, war, and nationalism—as well as a set of religious and moral beliefs that the elites in no way share. Such a doctrine, Thompson charges, points disturbingly toward fascism.

The neocons’ “philosophy of governance” is a technique that teaches rulers or potential rulers how to think about politics rather than what to think. It’s about developing pragmatic tactics for getting, keeping, and using power in certain ways. It’s about knowing how to improvise, modify, and adapt one’s principles to changing circumstances. Machiavellian prudence must always trump principle.

In his article “Neoconservatism Unmasked,”

<http://www.cato-unbound.org/2011/03/07/c-bradley-thompson/neoconservatism-unmasked>.

Thompson says:

The neocons’ national-greatness philosophy is also the animating force behind their foreign policy. Indeed, neoconservative foreign policy is a branch of its domestic policy. The grand purpose of national-greatness foreign policy is to inspire the American people to transcend their vulgar, infantilized, and selfish interests for uplifting national projects. The neoconservatives’ policy of benevolent hegemony will, according to William Kristol and Robert Kagan, “relish the opportunity for national engagement, embrace the possibility of national greatness, and restore a sense of the heroic.” In other words, the United States should wage war in order to combat creeping nihilism. In the revealing words of Kristol and Kagan, “The remoralization of America at home ultimately requires the remoralization of American foreign policy.” Going to war, sacrificing both treasure and blood in order to bring “democracy” to strangers—this is a mission worthy of a great nation.

The neocons therefore believe that a muscular foreign policy—one that includes military intervention abroad, war, regime change, and imperial governance—will keep the American people politicized and therefore virtuous. By saving the world from tyranny, America will save herself from her own internal corruption. And there’s more. By keeping America perpetually involved in nation-building around the world, neoconservative rulers will have the opportunity to exercise their statesmanlike virtues. There can be no statesmanship without politics and there can be no truly magnanimous statesmanship without war, so the neocons fear and loathe moral principles that might deny them this outlet. A condition of permanent war, a policy of benevolent hegemony, and the creation of a republican empire means that there will always be a need for politics and statesmanship.

Among the other admirers and students of Leo Strauss was Paul Wolfowitz, who served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense for policy from 1989 to 1993 during the administration of George H. W. Bush. Defense Planning Guidance, a document prepared during 1992 by Paul Wolfowitz, is regarded by manyas the “quintessential statement of neoconservative thought.”

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/iraq/etc/wolf.html>.

Many historians today are seeking to redeem the reputation of Niccolo Machiavelli. They are experts in linguistics, Renaissance rhetorical genres and politics.

References:

[1] David Gordon, “Neoconservatism Taken Down” [Review of Neoconservatism: Obituary for an Idea]. MISIS Daily 16 Sept. 2011.

[2] Leo Strauss, “Niccolo Machiavelli,” History of Political Philosophy, 3d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 297.


Originally published on 2017-05-11

About the author: Francesca de Bardin has studied geo-politics and the global impact of colonialism and globalization for 25 years. Her conclusion is that many key masculine values that have advanced our civilization have now become harmful. The planet is out of balance and women’s values must be incorporated into our organizational structures worldwide. She writes and speaks about feminine values and leadership. For an article analyzing Machiavelli’s life and work, contact the author at: Francesca@FrancescadeBardin.com.

Source: Global Research

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
President Donald Trump Monday, April 3, 2017, welcomed the Egyptian military dictator, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who assumed the title of  Field Marshal after arresting and deposing the democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. After the meeting Trump told the press: “We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.” By “a fantastic job” Trump was apparently referring to the massacre of hundreds of innocent Egyptians in the aftermath of US-endorsed coup ...
READ MORE
The North American Indian Holocaust
Why is the biggest holocaust in all humanity being hidden from history? Is it because it lasted so long that it has become a habit? It’s been well documented that the killing of Indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere since the beginning of colonization has been estimated at 120 million. Yet nobody wants to speak about it. Today historians, anthropologists and archaeologists are revealing that information on this holocaust is being deliberately eliminated from the knowledge base and consciousness of North Americans and the world. A completely false picture is being painted of our people as suffering from social ills of ...
READ MORE
Endless War Is No Honor to America’s Veterans
Veterans Day has passed. The annual ritual never changes. Politicians who didn’t serve in the armed services start unnecessary wars, killing military personnel whose sacrifices are then lauded. Officials say these heroes died defending our freedom. That is almost always a lie. Sometimes Washington must go to war. Not often, however. Despite the endless claims that we live in a dangerous world, America is amazingly safe. No other power could defeat, let alone conquer, the United States. Only Russia has a comparable nuclear arsenal, but it would be destroyed if Moscow targeted America. China and Russia trail U.S. conventional military strength ...
READ MORE
Chile: September 11, 1973
Forward Forty-three years ago on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet, crushed the democratically elected Unidad Popular government of Salvador Allende. The objective was to replace a progressive, democratically elected government by a brutal military dictatorship. The military coup was supported by the CIA. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a direct role in the military plot. (Nixon and Kissinger, image right) For details see: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KOR309A.html  and references below. In the weeks leading up the coup, US Ambassador Nathaniel Davis and members of the CIA held meetings with Chile’s top military brass together with the leaders of the National Party and the ...
READ MORE
Why is NATO in Yugoslavia?
Editor’s Note This paper was presented by the late Sean Gervasi at the Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterrenean, Prague, 13-14 January 1996. It was published on Global Research when the Global Research website was launched on September 9, 2001. The late Sean Gervasi had tremendous foresight. He understood the process of NATO enlargement several years before it actually unfolded into a formidable military force.  He had also predicted the breakup of Yugoslavia as part of a US-NATO project. See also Sean Gervasi’s 1993 video interview Introduction The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large task force into ...
READ MORE
Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights
The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said they’d also be prepared to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, unless they were allowed to veto judgements from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). They won and the plan is going ahead. Included in the Human Rights Act are fundamental rights and freedoms that all individuals within the UK have access to – such as the right to life, the freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to a fair ...
READ MORE
Breaking Yugoslavia: How the US Used NATO as its Battering Ram
November 1991 is a month and year that will forever live in infamy when it comes to one of the most grievous crimes committed under the rubric of Western foreign policy, as it was on this month in this year that the break-up and destruction of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was set in train. The Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia was a body set up in 1991 by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) in response to the conflict that had broken out between separatists in Slovenia and Croatia and the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo History – Fourth Part
The Serbs stepped again onto the historical scene in the years of the European wars that swept the continent from the forests of Ireland to the walls of Constantinople in the late 17th century. The Turks finally withdrew from Hungary and Transylvania when their Ottoman hordes were routed outside Vienna in 1683. The disintegration of Ottoman rule in the southwest limbered up the Serbs, arousing in them hope that the moment was ripe for joint effort to break Turkish dominion in the Balkans. The neighboring Christian powers (Austria and Venice) were the only possible allies. The arrival of the Austrian ...
READ MORE
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation from Washington to London
On October 12 the British media gave prominence to a three-hour foreign affairs debate that had taken place in the House of Commons the previous day. The Commons’ proceedings centred on allegations that Russia had committed war crimes in Syria and there were many insulting and purposefully offensive statements about Russia and its president made by almost all members of parliament who took part.  The final speech was made by the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and can be taken as reflecting the policy of the British government towards Russia. The Guardian newspaper reported that “Making his frontbench debut as foreign secretary ...
READ MORE
Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?
The term Back Door Man has several connotations. In the original blues song written by Willie Dixon, it refers to a man having an affair with a married woman, using the back door to flee before the husband comes home. During the Gerald Ford Presidency, Back Door Man was applied to Dick Cheney as Ford’s White House Chief of Staff and his “skills” at getting what he wanted through opaque means. More and more as Cabinet choices are named, it looks like the entire Trump Presidency project is emerging as Henry A. Kissinger’s “Back Door Man,” in the Cheney meaning of ...
READ MORE
Kurdish Intentions to Join SAA: Secret Deal against the U.S.?
According to Inside Syria Media Center military sources in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), SDF-Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as “Northern Syria Protection units” after the establishment of the federal system in Syria. A Rojava official and the joint chief of defense in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Rezan Gilo stated that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have no problem joining the Syrian army if a federal state is awarded in northern Syria (Kurdish autonomous territories as part of the federal Syria). They are now in process of considering the possibility of joining the SAA. “There is no problem for our ...
READ MORE
Journey to Aleppo: Exposing the Truth Buried under NATO Propaganda
Aleppo has become synonymous with destruction and “Syrian state-generated” violence among those whose perception of the situation in the war-torn nation is contained within the prism of mainstream media narratives. The NATO-aligned media maintains a tight grip on information coming out of this beleaguered city, ensuring that whatever comes out is tailored to meet State Department requirements and advocacy for regime change. The propaganda mill churns out familiar tales of chemical weapons, siege, starvation, and bombs targeting civilians–all of which are attributed to the Syrian government and military, with little variation on this theme. The purpose of this photo essay and my ...
READ MORE
The Myth of European Democracy
It’s an open secret that the “Soros network” has an extensive sphere of influence in the European Parliament and in other European Union institutions. The list of Soros has been made public recently. The document lists 226 MEPs from all sides of political spectrum, including former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt, seven vice-presidents, and a number of committee heads, coordinators, and quaestors. These people promote the ideas of Soros, such as bringing in more migrants, same-sex marriages, integration of Ukraine into the EU, and countering Russia. There are 751 members of the European Parliament. It means ...
READ MORE
From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums
Following the death of President Tito in 1980 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia slid towards chaos. In the 1990s the plunge accelerated into civil war and one of the regions most affected was Kosovo from which Serbia withdrew after a NATO bomb and rocket offensive from 24 March to 11 June 1999. That blitz involved over 1,000 mainly American aircraft conducting some 38,000 airstrikes on Yugoslavia that killed approximately 500 civilians and destroyed much of the economic and social infrastructure of the region.NATO said its air bombardment was essential to halt repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and justified the ...
READ MORE
Nazi Collaborator Greeting Becomes Official Ukraine Army Salute
August 24th, Ukrainian Independence Day, will see a ceremony introducing the country's new official army salute, as prescribed by Ukraine’s Presidential decree: Glory to Ukraine! - Glory to the Heroes! "We have consulted with the Minister of Defense, National Security and Defense Council, Government and I have decided that starting from August 24 these words will be heard for the first time as part of the official military parade ceremony on the Independence Day of Ukraine," Petro Poroshenko was quoted saying on the Ukraine President's official site. Glory to Ukraine! - Glory to the Heroes! is a slogan of the UPA, the ...
READ MORE
Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria
Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. ...
READ MORE
War Crimes Charges for the Hague Tribunal Against NATO Leaders
Accused of War Crimes: The British Prime Minister Tony Blair   WAR CRIMES CHARGES FOR THE HAGUE AGAINST THE NATO LEADERS – ONE OF THE INDICTMENTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA NOTICE OF THE EXISTENCE OF INFORMATION CONCERNING SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE TRIBUNAL; REQUEST THAT THE PROSECUTOR INVESTIGATE NAMED INDIVIDUALS FOR VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND PREPARE INDICTMENTS AGAINST THEM PURSUANT TO ARTICLES 18.1 AND 18.4 OF THE TRIBUNAL STATUTE. TO: Madam Justice Louise Arbour, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Churchillplein 1, 2501 EW, The Hague, Netherlands. AND TO: President William J. ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: The Hidden Growth of Islamic Extremism
The recent arrest of 40 alleged Islamic radicals in Kosovo together with the arrest of one of the Kosovo Imams suspected of being an inspirer of jihad in the region brought serious questions about the radicalisation of Islam and terrorism in Kosovo, in the Balkans and in Europe. Even though the issue of Kosovo Albanian volunteers or mercenaries fighting alongside the anti-Bashar forces in Syria and supporting the radical leadership of the Islamic State (earlier the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has been present in the public debate in Kosovo for at least a year, the debate itself was ...
READ MORE
Libya: Ten Things about Gaddafi They don’t want You to Know
What do you think of when you hear the name Colonel Gaddafi? Tyrant? Dictator? Terrorist? Well, a national citizen of Libya may disagree but we want you to decide. For 41 years until his demise in October 2011, Muammar Gaddafi did some truly amazing things for his country and repeatedly tried to unite and empower the whole of Africa. So despite what you’ve heard on the radio, seen in the media or on the TV, Gaddafi did some powerful things that are not characteristic of a “vicious dictator” as portrayed by the western media. Here are ten things Gaddafi did for Libya that you may not know about… 1. In Libya a home is ...
READ MORE
Zionism is Racism
Hardly any knowledgeable person doubts that Zionist ideology is the purest form of racism. Zionism is Jewish disguised racism as a raison d’etat. Israel comes right after the U. S., as far as racism is concerned. That is why the U. S. donates to this racist regime $ 3.8 bn per year in order to keep this occupation regime going. Should anybody doubt the racism of the Israeli leadership, read the following article.[1] Racism among the Israeli leadership is legendary. It started out with the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, saying: “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it ...
READ MORE
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
The North American Indian Holocaust
Endless War Is No Honor to America’s Veterans
Chile: September 11, 1973
Why is NATO in Yugoslavia?
Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights
Breaking Yugoslavia: How the US Used NATO as its Battering Ram
Kosovo History – Fourth Part
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation from Washington to London
Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?
Kurdish Intentions to Join SAA: Secret Deal against the U.S.?
Journey to Aleppo: Exposing the Truth Buried under NATO Propaganda
The Myth of European Democracy
From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums
Nazi Collaborator Greeting Becomes Official Ukraine Army Salute
Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria
War Crimes Charges for the Hague Tribunal Against NATO Leaders
Kosovo: The Hidden Growth of Islamic Extremism
Libya: Ten Things about Gaddafi They don’t want You to Know
Zionism is Racism
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu