Machiavelli and Hobbes

1493 Words6 Pages
Machiavelli and Hobbes To be successful, one must have the appearance of virtuousness, but not necessarily be virtuous. At least, this appears to be true according to Niccolo Machiavelli's works. Machiavelli's idea of the virtuous republican citizen may be compared to Hobbes' idea of a person who properly understands the nature and basis of sovereign political power. Hobbes' ideas seem to suggest that most anyone can claim rightful authority as there is a belief in God, and one can under Hobbes, claim legitimate authority rather easily. There are few proofs. Machiavelli, on the other hand, takes a strong position and suggests specific criteria in terms of power. With Machiavelli, there is a sense of righteousness and fairness and while…show more content…
This is an important point and to some extent divides the ideas of Hobbes and Machiavelli. It is difficult to imagine making law without God at the center. The two men seem to passionately disagree and have a grossly different outlook in terms of who is running the show. The embrace of God, or the rejection of God, is important in terms of how one views man. Machiavelli believes that good Princes make good law because there is an intrinsic right and wrong, but Hobbes really puts God at the center of the issue asserting that what is good is of God. There are several other differences one can note when comparing and contrasting Hobbes and Machiavelli. Machiavelli conveys the message that leaders must change with the times while it would seem that Hobbes would not support such a notion as God's dictums are timeless. In many ways, the convictions that underlie Hobbes' ideas are stronger. There was an incompatibility of religious ideas and a humanity that seems to be more equated with selfishness than with generosity. According to Machiavelli, one must have the appearance of virtuousness, but not necessarily be virtuous. That seems to be a contradiction and Hobbes would not likely support such an idea. At the same time, Machiavelli's ends justifying the means hypothesis is not all that terrible. Those who would criticize the position would be comforted to know that the author fully expects a leader to look at every possible option and
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