Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”

Hits: 2716

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!
Mainstream Media: Fake News Through Lying by Omission
Fake news is simply a new, Trump-popularized descriptive for media lying that occurs in 2 basic forms, lying by omission and lying by commission. Lying by omission is far, far worse than lying by commission because the latter can at least admit refutation and public debate. Western Mainstream media impose a huge burden of fake news on Western societies through entrenched and pervasive lying by omission. Indeed the most egregious and pervasive Mainstream media lie of omission is suppression of reportage of such lying by omission. The unimpeded, remorseless, corporate-dominated Mainstream media, politicians and pliant intellectuals are now going further, and ...
READ MORE
The Birkenstock Bomber: When Bernie did Serbia
The most useful parable about progressives is that offered by Bernard Sanders, self-styled “socialist-progressive-independent” rep from Vermont. Sanders owes his political career to rage against the Vietnam War among radicals, many of whom moved into the state in the early 1970s. They forthwith planned a long-term, carefully organized, assault on Vermont’s two-party structure. Sanders linked his political ambitions to this effort to organize a third force, the Progressive Alliance. He became mayor of Burlington and, later, congressman.At a rapid clip the emphasis moved from party-building to Sanders-building. By 1994, it was apparent that the only movement B. Sanders was interested in ...
READ MORE
POLICRATICUS
Read more about the magazine at:IMPRESSUMPublish and AdvertisePublish your articles on global politics online & advertise your website for a moderate fee on our website.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.Join the debate on our Twitter feed: @Ovsishte[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
As the U.S. and NATO casualties rise from the war in Afghanistan, with 2010 being the deadliest year of the nine-year war for the U.S., the question needs to be asked of how we got involved in that interminable and unwinnable conflict? The Afghan war has been dubbed Barack Obama’s War but its origins go back much earlier. Is the U.S. military disaster in Afghanistan an instance of blowback? What is the standard definition of “blowback”? The U.S. intervenes illegally in a volatile and unstable scenario and over time the consequences of that criminality come back to reek havoc on U.S. ...
READ MORE
Incompetent Espionage and Wikileaks
The entire sand-castle (a product of Obama CIA Director John Brennan’s imagination) the “Russians hacked the election” is finally washing away with an incoming tide. How this plays out is anyone’s guess. The open question is, how the new information will be leveraged, if it were to actually break into the open widely, with the bad boy Trump essentially captured by the surreal evil that surrounds him. Other than pure evil (e.g. Mike Pence), only a narcissist or a fool would ever desire to be president of this particular USA republic. In ‘The Donald’, we have both. 1 August 2017 an audio ...
READ MORE
The Fall of the Unipower
Dear Readers and Friends:The distinguished and knowledgeable international commentator William Engdahl, in a superb statement, has expressed the view I gave you that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 28 at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations changed the balance of power in the world. Until Putin’s speech the world was intimidated by the Washington Bully. Resistance to Washington brought swift retribution. In the Middle East and Africa it brought economic sanctions and military invasions that destroyed entire countries. In France and other US vassal states it brought multi-billion dollar confiscations of bank net worth as the price ...
READ MORE
Lithuanians under Police State Attack and the World under Washington’s Attack
According to news reports and to this appeal by Kristoferis Voishka, the pro-American government installed in Lithuania is persecuting Lithuanians who dissent from the anti-Russian propaganda that is driving Washington’s NATO puppets to war with Russia. Unlike their puppet government, Lithuanians understand that war with Russia means that Lithuania on the front line will be utterly destroyed, a result that would not bother Washington in the least, just as Washington is undisturbed when its forces obliterate weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games. What is Lithuania? To Washington it is a nothing. Kristoferis Voiska runs an alternative Internet news site in LIthuania. Not ...
READ MORE
Videos on Ex-Yugoslavia: Reverse Side of the Truth
Documentary films about ex-Yugoslavia not seen on global corporate mass-media news. For instance: US documentary movie "RETLINES" with English subtitle from 1991 about Vatican smuggling Croat Nazi Ustashi to South America in 1945 Ratlines were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile. Other destinations included the United States and perhaps Canada and the Middle East. There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany ...
READ MORE
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
Albanian terror in Kosovo against the Serbs from June 1999 up to the end of 2000 The current problems in Libya and Ivory Coast are complex and clearly the opposition has different aspirations.  After all, both sides are involved in a bloody conflict and the use of violence is being used by each faction in these divided nations.  Therefore, it appears that the “new democratic warriors” of peace and freedom carry guns and kill their enemies, just like their enemies would kill them. This article is not about defending the leaders of either nations and clearly the leader of Libya is known ...
READ MORE
Hagia Sophia: Religion As Politics
Sultan Abdul Hamid II, in the face of a rising secular nationalism in the late 1800s, that culminated in the Young Turk movement, tried to restore the influence of the Ottoman Empire among Islamic nations and the Empire’s many peoples by stressing the importance of Islam and the Ottoman Caliphate, of the role of the Ottomans as the protectors of Islam and, in the modern world, a bulwark against western colonialism.Over a hundred years after he left power, after the Empire was broken up by the western powers after the First World War, after the Turkish nationalists under Mustafa Kemal, ...
READ MORE
German Documentary Film on NATO’s War Against Yugoslavia in 1999 (English Subtitle)
VIDEO: German documentary film about the false pretext and German propaganda used to exert and sustain public support for illegal NATO aggression against Serbia and Montenegro.  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
Israeli Blockade of Gaza: The Only Solution is the Establishment of an Independent Palestinian State
Antisemitism needs an excuse and Netanyahu sadly provides it every day on the Israeli- Gaza border.  His heavily armed snipers have gratuitously killed over 200 unarmed Palestinians at the March of Return protest and injured over 10,000 at the border since 30 March 2018 in a sickening exhibition of state sponsored violence that has brought death and disability to those actively, and largely legitimately, demonstrating for return of their land and property. You cannot deprive 2m of their human rights, enshrined in international law, without consequences. Israel is not an island in the sky and the dispossessed Palestinian people are very ...
READ MORE
Why the US Supports Kosovo Independence?
BELGRADE – Amnesty of crimes during NATO aggression, bilateral legalization of Camp Bondsteel in a friendly milieu, settling the Islamic world with support to their communities in the Balkans and forcing Russia out of that same Balkans, are four reasons the US supports the independence of Kosovo, writes “Sputnik”.On Christmas (according to Gregorian calendar) Michael Kirby shows up. Outgoing US Ambassador congratulates Serbia upcoming New Year. “The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina implies Kosovo’s membership in the UN,” was the content of the “greeting card”.Apart from some kind of formalization, Kirby’s statement is not new for the local public ...
READ MORE
Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Serbian Christian Culture was Demolished by Muslim Albanians
Serbia organized an exhibition of cultural and historical heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in Paris, the headquarters of UNESCO, to serve as a reminder to the West of how they let it be destroyed since the 2000s.There is a lot of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. Now, Kosovo is an independent state, partially recognized by Western countries. But the world was shocked by anti-Serbian riots organized by Albanians during the Kosovo unrest in 2004. Many Serbian monuments were damaged in the chaos.Albanian extremists living in Kosovo, since the 2000s, have continued to raid and damage Serbian cultural heritage ...
READ MORE
Chomsky: NATO is a U.S.-Run Intervention Force
How did Russia and the West slip back into what seems like the Cold War all over again? How dangerous is the current confrontation? Should the world be ready to face a nuclear war? We ask somebody who’s renowned for his insights. World-famous academic, linguist, philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky is on Sophie&Co today. Follow @SophieCo_RT Sophie Shevardnadze: World-renowned academic Noam Chomsky, Professor Noam Chomsky, welcome to the show, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us today. Now, today U.S.-Russia relations are at a Cold War low. Rhetoric resembles what we heard in the 80-s. What is the worst-case ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and Crimea: What’s the Difference?
The only discussion of principle emerging from the debates over Kosovar and Crimean independence is that initiated by Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War One, about whether national minorities have the right to self-determination. Can a smaller group be compelled to be part of a larger state, or should they be permitted to secede? To what extent do minority rights amount to a freedom to determine one’s own sovereignty? In June 1999 an international military force led by the United States annexed Kosovo, then a province in southern Serbia with a population of perhaps 1.6 million people. Virtually all ...
READ MORE
If this Haitian was Superstitious Like the Clintons
“malè ou swete bèlmè, se manman ou li frape” – the evil you wish upon your mother-in-law strikes your mother, Haitian wisdomThe other day, I saw a video excerpt of an October 2012 speech in which Bill Clinton was telling an audience in New-York how his wife, Hillary, possesses the extraordinary psychic ability to speak regularly with the dead, in particular, with the spirit of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.*Today, some U.S. citizens who are still stunned by the election of Donald Trump may be seeking extra insights to help answer many troubling questions. However, I doubt the dead are in any way equipped to help them understand what is  happening in the so-called “land of the free and home ...
READ MORE
Vietnam War Atrocities Committed by the US Army
Atrocities and war crimes are subjectively defined as acts of violence that exceed military necessity. All war includes atrocities. The stress of combat includes a build up of emotion during action that leads to vicious attacks on the enemy when the opportunity arises. American military units are trained and indoctrinated to avoid inhuman treatment of enemy combatants. Soldiers who violate the norms are prosecuted. This reduces but does not eliminate the problem. Photo of Vietnamese civilians killed by an American unit  Atrocities During the Vietnam War The actions of armies in war have seldom been as humane as the modern American military -- ...
READ MORE
The 2001 War on Afghanistan is a Profit Driven “Resource War”
Author’s Note US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan more than 16 years ago in October 2001. It’s has been a continuous war marked by US military occupation. The justification is “counterterrorism”.  Afghanistan is defined as a state sponsor of terrorism, allegedly responsible for attacking America on September 11, 2001.  The war on Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a war of retribution in response to the 9/11 attacks. US troops are still present and deployed in Afghanistan. The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under “the doctrine of collective security” was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an ...
READ MORE
‘Humanitarian’ Concerns Increase Wars, Benefit only Arms-Producers
Unlike a regular corporation, the corporations that manufacture and sell weapons to their government are virtually 100% dependent upon their government and its military allies, for their own success; their markets are only those governments, not individuals (such as is the case for normal corporations). Consequently, either their government will control them, and those firms won’t have any effective control over their own markets, or else those firms will, themselves, control their government, and thereby effectively control their markets, via the government’s foreign policies — not only via expanding its military alliances (those firms’ foreign markets), but via its designating ...
READ MORE
Mainstream Media: Fake News Through Lying by Omission
The Birkenstock Bomber: When Bernie did Serbia
POLICRATICUS
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
Incompetent Espionage and Wikileaks
The Fall of the Unipower
Lithuanians under Police State Attack and the World under Washington’s Attack
Videos on Ex-Yugoslavia: Reverse Side of the Truth
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
Hagia Sophia: Religion As Politics
German Documentary Film on NATO’s War Against Yugoslavia in 1999 (English Subtitle)
Israeli Blockade of Gaza: The Only Solution is the Establishment of an Independent Palestinian State
Why the US Supports Kosovo Independence?
Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Serbian Christian Culture was Demolished by Muslim Albanians
Chomsky: NATO is a U.S.-Run Intervention Force
Kosovo and Crimea: What’s the Difference?
If this Haitian was Superstitious Like the Clintons
Vietnam War Atrocities Committed by the US Army
The 2001 War on Afghanistan is a Profit Driven “Resource War”
‘Humanitarian’ Concerns Increase Wars, Benefit only Arms-Producers

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

One comment to “Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince””

Comments are closed.