Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”

Hits: 2803

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.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
Winston Churchill: Britain’s “Greatest Briton” Left а Legacy оf Global Conflict аnd Crimes Against Humanity
Sunday January 24th 2016 marks the anniversary of the death of one of the most lionized leaders in the Western world: Sir Winston Churchill.The current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has called Churchill “the greatest ever Prime Minister”, and Britons have recently voted him as the greatest Briton to have ever lived.The story that British schoolbooks tell children about Churchill is of a British Bulldog, with unprecedented moral bravery and patriotism. He, who defeated the Nazis during World War II and spread civilisation to indigenous people from all corners of the globe. Historically, nothing could be further from the truth.To ...
READ MORE
Donald the Animal Stays in Syria
Another chemical weapons at the hands (supposedly) of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The public was bombarded with images of victims of the attack. Where have been the images of Donald Trump’s victims? If the liberal media really is opposed to Trump as they say, why haven’t they been as outraged about Trump’s crimes?Donald Trump went on to call Assad an animal. But what has been Donald Trump’s record in the region? Historically awful. He now is responsible for over three-quarters of the civilian’s deaths in the U.S. war against ISIS. What seemed unspeakable under Barack Obama has proved to be ...
READ MORE
The US is Already an Authoritarian Regime
Or at the very least, an incipient monarchy: the only problem is that the monarch — while having plenty of clothes — has no head. The most famous twentieth century American journalist, Bob Woodward, who together with his buddy Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story that forced President Richard Nixon to resign, has written a book that reveals White House palace intrigues worthy of any European king — although it is the French President, Emanuel Macron, who calls himself Jupiter. Under the ominous title Fear, Woodward quotes high-ranking members of the White House staff as well as the heads of crucial departments ...
READ MORE
Difference between Iran and the USA
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe 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.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
READ MORE
New World Order: Muslims to be Majority in Europe within Two Generations
Within 40 years, given current demographic trends, the white population in France and the rest of old Europe will recede, creating a Muslim majority, a French researcher says.Charles Gave, an economist, fund manager and political commentator, published his conclusions this month on the webpage of his think tank, Institute des Libertes. He writes of the “disappearance of the European populations” as native populations shrink and Muslims continue to exhibit a robust fertility rate.Mr. Gave, president of Gavekal Research, acknowledges that his decidedly unpolitically correct view may bring him scorn and possibly censorship. The political left generally protects Islam from criticism. ...
READ MORE
Israel Supports Islamic Terrorists
Israel claims that it’s in a mortal struggle with Islamic terrorists … But as we reported last year, the Israeli military has admitted to supporting Syrian Islamic jihadists. And see this. Last week, Daily Mail journalists embedded with Israeli troops reported: Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state. *** Analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran. *** Many of the casualties ...
READ MORE
Five, Still Alive US Warmongering Presidents
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. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
The Truth behind Israeli Propaganda on the ‘Expulsion’ of Arab Jews
Israeli propaganda about the “expulsion” of Arab Jews from Arab countries in the late 1940s and early 1950s continues without respite. Earlier this month, Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he “intends to submit a draft resolution requiring the international body to hold an annual commemoration for the hundreds of thousands of Jews exiled from Arab countries due to the creation of the State of Israel”, according to a report in Ynet.Israel’s fabrications about the immigration of Arab Jews to Israel are so outrageous that the country holds a commemoration on 30 November each year. ...
READ MORE
Forgotten “Anniversaries” of U.S. Sponsored Military Coups against Democracy
US-backed forces overthrow Goulart in Brazil (1964) Left-wing nationalist Joao Goulart became the democratically elected president of Brazil in September 1961, setting alarm bells clattering in the liberal Kennedy administration. Goulart began implementing structural reforms in the massive resource-rich South American country, that would help integrate the general population into society. (1) The United States was loathe to sit helplessly by as this movement came within “our hemisphere”, as President John F. Kennedy described it. Goulart, also known as “Jango”, was hostile toward US capitalist democracy that seeks to primarily serve elite powers.Shortly before his death, Kennedy had been preparing the groundwork to oust Goulart, ...
READ MORE
Totalitarian Rule in America
Every day signs are looming larger than life as we know it in the wealthiest nation on earth that it’s about to crash and burn, forever changing not for the better. The latest wake-up call arrived in a Guardian article earlier this week. The story features a secret prison not unlike the CIA torture detention centers all over the world whereby the Chicago police hold rounded up US citizens for hours or days at a time for interrogation. The same internationally illegal roundups of suspected “potential terrorists” (which by latest Gestapo America standards can easily be you or me) that the CIA ...
READ MORE
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
It’s all over but the postmortems. Trump and Clinton are their parties’ presumptive nominees. Choice for voters in November amounts to death by hanging or firing squad. Democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. Trump was the last GOP aspirant left standing after all others dropped out, an unlikely choice, a surprise winner, prevailing despite party bosses opposing him.Democrat power brokers chose Clinton before primary/caucus season began. The race was over before it started.Voters in November get to choose between a dirty business as usual billionaire racist, demagogue and a recklessly dangerous neocon racketeer, war criminal, Wall Street tool she ...
READ MORE
The Balkans today
In the spirit of the New Cold War and following on its success in snuffing out South Stream, the US has prioritized its efforts in obstructing Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline, and for the most part, they’ve regretfully succeeded for the time being. The first challenge came from the May 2015 Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia, which thankfully was repulsed by the country’s patriotic citizenry. Next up on the destabilization agenda was the political turmoil that threatened to take hold of Greece in the run-up and aftermath of the austerity referendum, the idea being that if Tsipras were deposed, then Balkan ...
READ MORE
Erdogan’s Islamic Vehicle to the Balkans: Ottoman Symbolism in Kosovo
A billboard at a construction site, with a photo of an Ottoman-style mosque with four minarets and the flag of Turkey, was erected recently in the center of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. With less than 2 million people, Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, is the home of over 800 mosques. Now the Islamic Community of Kosovo is building the “Central Mosque” at an estimated cost of $35- $40 million. Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is financing the project. The Diyanet also financed the building of a similar mosque on a 10,000-square-meter parcel of land on ...
READ MORE
Berlin’s Newest Drang nach Osten Started in the 1990s With the Serbs
As recounted in the unjustly neglected German television report “It Began with a Lie,” in April 1999, in the midst of NATO’s illegal bombing campaign against what had remained of Yugoslavia, then German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping repeatedly accused the Serbian side of installing a Nazi-style “concentration camp” in the soccer stadium in Pristina, the capital of Serbia’s Kosovo and Metohija province. Pressed by the media for proof, Scharping offered “witness testimony” – which he never subsequently produced.A month earlier, just as the bombing had started, Scharping stated that “we never would have taken military action if there weren’t this ...
READ MORE
BOOK: The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics
On July 11, 1995, the town of Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb army. At the time, I was the highest ranking United Nations civilian official in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In my book, Dubious Mandate,1 I made some comments on that tragedy. Beyond that, I decried the distortions of the international press in their reporting, not only on that event, but on the wars in Yugoslavia (1992-95) in general. I expressed the wish that there could have been, and must be, some balance in telling the story of what actually happened in Srebrenica and in all of former Yugoslavia, if we are ...
READ MORE
What is the Obama Regime?
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.” The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.” The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.” The report does not provide ...
READ MORE
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine
Contents 1. NATO is born from the Bomb2. In the post-Cold War, NATO is renewed3. NATO demolishes the Yugoslav state4. NATO expands eastward to Russia5. US and NATO attack Afghanistan and Iraq6. NATO demolishes the Libyan state7. The US/NATO War to Demolish Syria8. Israel and the Emirates in NATO9. The US/NATO orchestration of the coup in Ukraine10. US/NATO escalation in Europe11.  Italy, the aircraft carrier on the war front12. US and NATO reject the UN treaty and deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe13. US and NATO sink the INF Treaty14. The Western American Empire plays the war card15. The US/NATO planetary war system16. Exiting the war system of NATO1. The operation conducted by the USA and ...
READ MORE
The Killing of Serbian Children in Kosovo: The Story of a Survivor
At the age of 15 on a riverbank he was shot eight times just for being Serbian. He survived and a few days later during the religious holiday of Transfiguration he was out of his coma. But until now he has not received an answer to his question: who shot the children bathing in the river near the Kosovo village of Gorazdevac on August 13, 2003? In his interview to the Voice of Russia Bogdan Bukumiric tells a wonderful story of his rescue.“It is not so scary to die as to be buried alive” – this is the inscription on ...
READ MORE
NATO's destruction of Belgrade in 1999
I travel frequently to the countries which once made up the now defunct Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, satisfying a passion of mine that stems back to my childhood days. For me, the Balkans’ history, its people and its cultures are both enigmatic and magnetic, as they have been, too, for countless others, of many nationalities, over centuries gone by. Accounting for the enchantment of the Balkans, its captivating allure, is a challenge to put into writing. Because no words can truly embellish what is one of the most absorbing parts of the world. To understand and feel what it is ...
READ MORE
Israel is Militarily, Geostrategically and Culturally Tied to the US
During the early 1960s, apartheid South African diplomats were increasingly concerned their country’s plummeting reputation would affect relations with America. In one notorious incident, of March 1960, South African police shot dead 69 black protesters in Sharpeville, a township about 40 miles from Johannesburg.Such atrocities sparked protests against the racist regime on the streets of England, America’s great ally, which surely did not go unnoticed in Washington. Aware of the changing climate, South Africa’s dignitaries pleaded with their American counterparts for continued assistance. They need not have worried that the earth’s dominant power would desert them.As long as the United ...
READ MORE
Winston Churchill: Britain’s “Greatest Briton” Left а Legacy оf Global Conflict аnd Crimes Against Humanity
Donald the Animal Stays in Syria
The US is Already an Authoritarian Regime
Difference between Iran and the USA
New World Order: Muslims to be Majority in Europe within Two Generations
Israel Supports Islamic Terrorists
Five, Still Alive US Warmongering Presidents
The Truth behind Israeli Propaganda on the ‘Expulsion’ of Arab Jews
Forgotten “Anniversaries” of U.S. Sponsored Military Coups against Democracy
Totalitarian Rule in America
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
A Hybrid War to Break the Balkans?
Erdogan’s Islamic Vehicle to the Balkans: Ottoman Symbolism in Kosovo
Berlin’s Newest Drang nach Osten Started in the 1990s With the Serbs
BOOK: The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics
What is the Obama Regime?
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine
The Killing of Serbian Children in Kosovo: The Story of a Survivor
The Balkans: Endurance, Endeavour and the Resistance to Foreign Oppression
Israel is Militarily, Geostrategically and Culturally Tied to the US
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share