Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”

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!
An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
If Pentagon chief James Mattis was seeking to reassure the world of American restraint in the North Korea crisis, he clumsily did the opposite. The US Defense Secretary was speaking after intense discussions with President Trump and other senior military officials in the White House Situation Room following the sixth nuclear test carried out by North Korea on Sunday. Mattis emerged from the meeting to say that any threat from North Korea to the United States and its allies would be met with an «overwhelming military response». He then added – with a weirdly presumed ethical tone – that the US «was not looking to ...
READ MORE
US Serbs, Angry about Being Bombed by Bill, May Have Cost Hillary the Election
The reason Hillary Clinton was crushed in the electoral college during this election is because she lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania . The reason behind the unprecedented loss can be summed up in two sentences. We will not forget. We will not forgive. These three states are home to the Serbian-American community. For most of them, their traditionally Democratic ticket vote turning Republican was a clear repudiation of Hillary Clinton's role in the Balkan genocide. "An American Serb generally doesn't vote FOR anyone, but AGAINST a Biden, a Clinton, a McCain, against whoever Madeleine Albright supports, against whoever bombed Serbia, recognized Kosovo... Wait, was Dubya a ...
READ MORE
Warning! Neocons are Close to Starting a Nuclear War with Russia
We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy ...
READ MORE
The Most Dangerous Weapon
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
How US Criminal Politicians are Turned into Saints
The week-long deification of the late John McCain was quite the deep-state performance:  Three “state funerals”(in Phoenix, D.C., and Annapolis) accompanied by the constant clucking of the “mainstream” media about how the epitome of a deep-state insider — son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals, mass murderer of Vietnamese peasants, “Keating Five” criminal conspirator, friend of “the right kind” of Middle East terrorists, lifelong government employee whose senate office was ground zero for defense industry lobbyists for the past several decades — is somehow an anti-establishment “maverick.” The televised sobbing of the very appropriately named Senator Jeff Flake was rich, ...
READ MORE
Political Succession and “The Bush-Clinton Nexus”: Permanent Criminal State
At a spring 2016 Republican debate attended by the Bushes, George H.W. “Poppy” Bush, looked directly at Donald Trump and gave him the “throat slit” gesture.   The Bushes want the Clintons back in the White House.  “Poppy” trusted them with Arkansas in the 1980s, and with the White House in the 1990s, and he can trust them with the marching orders again.  A Hillary Clinton presidency guarantees that all the things that the New World Order wants done will continue to get done. The Clintons and Bushes have been criminal partners for more than 30 years.  They and their colleagues have ...
READ MORE
The Anti-Russian Warmongering
I graduated from the exact same PHD Program at Harvard that produced Kissinger and Brzezinski before me. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. I also went through the exact same Soviet/Russian Studies Program at Harvard that produced Brzezinski before me, and passed my PHD Oral/General Examinations in Soviet Politics and Russian History under Adam Ulam and Ned Keenan, respectively. R.I.P. Obama was behind me at Harvard Law School. Brzezinski has been Obama’s mentor and foreign policy guru since Obama’s student days at Columbia. Zbig ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on foreign affairs and defense, and ...
READ MORE
US Had a ‘Pretty Supportive Attitude’ Toward Fascism in 1930s
While the typical narrative of American history positions the United States as a supporter of democracy and opponent of fascism which helped to defeat the Nazis, key figures in Washington also supported dangerous dictators in Italy and Germany in their early days of power. Noam Chomsky, the renowned political philosopher, historian and scholar, examined the flip side of U.S. opposition to dictatorship in a conversation with Zain Raza, a senior editor at the independent media outlet acTVism Munich. An excerpt from the conversation was published Sept. 30 as part of acTVism Munich’s “Reexamining History” series. Speaking to Raza about Italian dictator Benito ...
READ MORE
The Ultimate War Crime: America’s “Global War on Terrorism”
The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.   Al Qaeda Affiliated Entities are “Intelligence Assets. Instruments of US Intelligence. The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”. Introduction The Obama administration has embarked upon the ultimate war crime, a Worldwide military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity.  The Pentagon’s global military design is ...
READ MORE
Why Albanians Fled Kosovo During the 1999 NATO Bombing
Interview with Čedomir Prlinčević Formerly the Chief Archivist of Kosovo and President of the Jewish Community of Priština; driven from Kosovo by KLA terrorists in 1999 Interviewer: Jared Israel Translator: Petar Makara [Posted 3, December 2000 * New introduction, 4 April 2006] ======================================== Introduction This is the second Emperor’s Clothes interview with Čedomir Prlinčević (pronounced Ched-o-meer Pra-linch-eh-vich). Mr. Prlinčević, an historian, was chief archivist in Priština, capital of Kosovo, and head of the Jewish community there until, as he explained in his first Emperor’s Clothes interview, the terrorist KLA drove him and his family and thousands of others from their homes. Heavily armed British NATO forces stood by, ...
READ MORE
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
Dechani monastery in Metochia - one of the most important shrines of Serbian Orthodox Church (14th century) The region of Kosovo & Metohija was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of ...
READ MORE
The US Military Project for the World
In May 2017, Thierry Meyssan appeared on Russia Today and explained where the South American elites were going wrong in their fight against US imperialism. He insisted that there has been a sea-change in the way the US now wages armed conflicts and we now need to radically rethink how we should defend our homeland. The operation to destabilize Venezuela continues. The first phase: violent gangs demonstrating against the government killed passers by, as if citizenship created no bonds between them. The second phase: the major food suppliers organized food shortages in the supermarkets. Then some members of the forces ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: America’s Mafia State
The unilateral independence of Kosovo was declared in February 2008. Kosovo is a member of  The Bretton Woods institutions. Kosovo seeks membership of NATO, the EU and now Interpol. The Interpol Executive Committee has decided that the application of Kosovo for membership in Interpol would be put on the agenda of the General Assembly to be held in Beijing, China, from 26 to 29 September 2017, Government of Kosovo stated Monday. In a bitter irony, Kosovo president Hashim Thaci is still on the list of Interpol in relation to his links to organized crimes and the drug trade. Last February president Thaci requested the secretary-general ...
READ MORE
Africa, Russia, United States Imperialism and the Bankruptcy of the International Criminal Court
As defections continue from the Rome Statute the Netherlands-based group says Washington may have engaged in torture A recent article published in the New York Times appears to suggest that the United States will be investigated by the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for committing torture against captives in Afghanistan. Surprisingly enough the ICC has almost exclusively focused its attention on alleged war crimes and acts of genocide taking place in Africa. Many of the cases have in effect served the interests of U.S. imperialism where governments which are targets for destabilization and regime-change are indicted by the prosecutorial institution in order ...
READ MORE
Trump is the New Gaddafi
I was trying to think a few hours ago – after his shameful, outrageous, insane breaking of a solemn international treaty – just who Donald Trump reminded me of. I used to think about the boastful, gung-ho racist Theodore Roosevelt, the ‘Rough Rider’ who enjoyed war (and threats). But Theodore Roosevelt actually did win the Nobel Peace Prize. And then I realised. The political leader who most resembles Trump is the late Colonel Gaddafi of Libya. The parallels are quite creepy. Gaddafi was crackers, he was a vain, capricious peacock of a man, he was obsessed with women, he even had a ghost writer invent a ‘Green Book’ ...
READ MORE
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
Over the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted.  The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States.  Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power.  The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism”in the past to “anti-terrorism”today. Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy ...
READ MORE
The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine
The massacre of almost 50 Maidan protesters on February 20, 2014 was a turning point in Ukrainian politics and a tipping point in the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. This mass killing of the protesters and the mass shooting of the police that preceded it led to the overthrow of the government of Viktor Yanukovych and gave a start to a civil war in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine, Russian military intervention in Crimea and an international conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. A conclusion promoted by the post-Yanukovych governments and the media in Ukraine that ...
READ MORE
UN Anti-Nazi Resolution 10 Year Anniversary: Syria, Israel and North Korea Support It, US Adamantly Opposes It
Throughout the past decade, the UN General Assembly Third Committee has adopted the resolution: “Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” Every year the resolution is adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN member states, while the European Union, which, as the battleground of Nazism should have supported the resolution, merely abstains, and their fence-straddling raises disturbing questions about their actual tendencies. Japan’s abstention raises equally disturbing questions. The United States has consistently, and shockingly, opposed this resolution. The resolution is sponsored by the Russian Federation, which ...
READ MORE
Why the West can Never Defeat or “Forgive” Russia
Historically and intuitively, Russia has fought for the survival of humanity. Of course, things are not always pronounced or defined in such terms. However, already on several occasions, this enormous country has stood up against the most mighty and evil forces that have threatened the very survival of our Planet. During the Second World War, the Soviet people, mainly Russians, sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children, in the end defeating Nazism. No other country in modern history has undergone more. Right after that victory, Russia, alongside China and later Cuba, embarked on the most awesome and noble project of ...
READ MORE
An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
US Serbs, Angry about Being Bombed by Bill, May Have Cost Hillary the Election
Warning! Neocons are Close to Starting a Nuclear War with Russia
The Most Dangerous Weapon
How US Criminal Politicians are Turned into Saints
Political Succession and “The Bush-Clinton Nexus”: Permanent Criminal State
Europe in 2050: Projected Population Change
The Anti-Russian Warmongering
US Had a ‘Pretty Supportive Attitude’ Toward Fascism in 1930s
The Ultimate War Crime: America’s “Global War on Terrorism”
Why Albanians Fled Kosovo During the 1999 NATO Bombing
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
The US Military Project for the World
Kosovo: America’s Mafia State
Africa, Russia, United States Imperialism and the Bankruptcy of the International Criminal Court
Trump is the New Gaddafi
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine
UN Anti-Nazi Resolution 10 Year Anniversary: Syria, Israel and North Korea Support It, US Adamantly Opposes It
Why the West can Never Defeat or “Forgive” Russia
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