Machiavelli: Realism over Idealism Essay

1084 Words Nov 19th, 2012 5 Pages
Luke Pelagio
Due 5/27/2011
Period 4
Machiavelli: Realism Over Idealism Nicolo Machiavelli is known as being an archetypical realist; in other words, he was someone who originated the idea that we should not try to figure out how people should be, but rather accept and deal with the world as it literally is. Unlike Machiavelli, Plato posited an idealist view of a philosopher king reigning through virtue. To Machiavelli, this is an extremely dangerous delusion for it ignores what he considers the reality of the human condition: humans are brutal, selfish, and fickle (Machiavelli and Power Politics). You don’t need a philosopher king to secure off enemies and reinforce order/stability; on the other hand, you need a prince or a leader
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A prince must learn not to be limited to morality when unavoidable; a leader has to be able to use lies, force and deception if required in the world. Whether it is better to be feared or loved clearly addresses the reason for this. You can’t trust people, for they will turn on you. It is inevitable. Human nature means that doing what you must do at all costs according to any moral code simply puts you at a disadvantage. In addition, humans are generally under agreement to throw out such moral concerns if it is to their advantage. “Men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails,” (Machiavelli, The Prince). This quote perfectly demonstrates Machiavellian realism. First, it is a very opposing and adverse view on human nature. Second, it is realistic and logical. If, by any chance, you are a prince or a leader, and you do not understand the atrocious inherent in
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men, you will fail. Those who are most ruthless will have power; this is just reality. “For my part I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her; and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous
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