Leadership in Thoughts from the Tao-te-Ching and The Qualities of a Prince

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Leadership in Thoughts from the Tao-te-Ching and The Qualities of a Prince

Lao-Tzu’s “Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching” and Machiavelli’s “The Qualities of a Prince” both have the ultimate goal of making better leaders. The tactics that each writer chooses to present as a guide for the leader are almost opposite of each other. Today’s American government would benefit from a combination of the two extreme ideas. Lao-Tzu’s laissez-faire attitude towards the economy, as well as his small scale, home defense military is appealing to a liberal person. Machiavelli’s attitude towards miserliness and lower taxes, while being always prepared for war, would appeal to a conservative person. The writers are in agreement on some issues, such as
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A hated leader would invite a rebellion that would try to remove him from power. On the other hand, a leader should not be loved. Showing too much compassion will make the people think you are weak, and he would permit disorders to continue. Machiavelli urges the leader to always be personally armed, and preparing for war, even in peace time. The leader must continually train his body and mind for combat. He believes that people are fickle and greedy, so they will take whatever you give them. Ultimately, he believes the leader should do and say anything to keep the people happy, but when it comes down to it, what makes them happy may not be best for the state as a whole. An even mixture of both of these theories is the best for America. Something that our leaders in the United States in past years aimed for is middle of the road politics, appealing to both liberals and conservatives. Although I do not believe Machiavelli's honesty policy would go over too well in the United States, I am sure his tactics are used by politicians in creating an appearance that people want to see. A good combination for our government today is for the president to not be personally armed, but have protection. He does not constantly train for war, but has an appointed official dedicated for that purpose. In contrast to both writers, I believe the American people today are neither inherently good nor evil exclusively, but we all want
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