Difference Between Lao-Tzu And Machiavelli

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Peace or War: Lao-Tzu versus Machiavelli How should leaders approach the ideas of peace and war? This question has fascinated those in positions of power for ages. Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu believes that war should only take place in the direst of situations and should not be considered virtuous (61; sec. 31). On the contrary, Niccolo Machiavelli, a fifteenth-century Italian philosopher, states, “A prince, therefore, must not have any other object nor any other thought, nor must he take anything as his profession but war…” (86). While Lao-Tzu formulates an ideal approach to war and Machiavelli a practical one, neither one of their strategies would be effective in the real world; leaders must conduct their military with a balance of serenity and brutality. Serenity and peacefulness are Lao-Tzu’s focal points throughout “Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching.” By stating, “Violence, even well intentioned, / always rebounds on oneself.” he establishes his belief that war is problematic for everyone involved. (60; sec. 30). War disrupts the nature of peace which goes against everything that Lao-Tzu stands for. While having a country where war and violence are obsolete sounds ideal, it is not realistic. Leaders can only control their own people, and even then, they are at the liberty of what their people are willing to do. Lao-Tzu’s form of government only works if leaders from all around the world abide by the same principles and implement peacefulness among their own
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