Lao-Tzu vs. Machiavelli

1606 Words Apr 15th, 2011 7 Pages
Lao-tzu vs. Machiavelli Government is the essential authority of a country or state, which is directly, affects society because it provides key securities. Two of history’s greatest thinkers Lao-tzu, authors of the Tao-te Ching, and Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince have similar but very contrasting ideas of government, and how people should be governed. Lao-tzu was born in the Chinese state of Ch’u. He spent most of his life working in the library of the Chou dynasty. Once he decided to leave a gate keeper convinced him he would write down his thoughts, Thus creating the Tao-te Ching. Lao-tzu’s view of government is the master should not have optimal power over the people. He feels as though people should be ignorant of …show more content…
To avoid such a catastrophe he must come across as a “miser.” Eventually he will prove he is not as greedy as eh was thought to be. Once this is evident he can protect himself and wage war without raising taxes and stressing his subjects. Therefore, it is actually better for him to be miserly than generous. Machiavelli thinks it is better for the prince to be feared than loved. For a prince who is loved will be compassionate towards others, mainly his soldiers. When danger is at bay his men will hold him in the highest regard. Should an attack occur they will very quickly turn their backs on him. He may be viewed as weak and untrustworthy, thus easier to overtake. As he explains, “And men are less hesitant about harming someone who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared because love is held together by a chain of obligation which, since men are a sorry lot, is broken on every occasion in which their own self-interest is concerned: but fear is held together by dread of punishment which will never abandon you” (p.46). If he is loved rather than hated he can never keep an army of soldiers under his command. However, he must not be so feared to the point he is hated to do so he must not take what does not belong to him, and keep his hands off the wives of his subjects. According to Machiavelli, as wise Prince will not keep his word if the circumstances for which he made that promise are no longer relevant.
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