Order In A Civic Society Is Kept By A Great Many Agents

1733 WordsMar 8, 20177 Pages
Order in a civic society is kept by a great many agents; its political and cultural institutions, popular recognition of a sovereign authority, and security from foreign or domestic attack. Yet, the pursuit of one’s self-interest is not among the most traditionally cited examples. Its effect is indeed ambiguous; will it cause officials serving the people to corrupt the State or preserve it all the same? The political theorists Niccolò Machiavelli in The Discourses on Livy and Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan offer contrasting conclusions; the former believed obeying selfish motivation disastrous whereas the latter thought it fundamental towards maintaining the solvency of the country. The origin of their differing conclusions is found in their…show more content…
By this same method, Machiavelli asserts that the city-state could also become corrupted by a corruption of the intentions of its people, particularly the nobility. A republican form of government requires all its citizenry to act for the “common good” and any deviation from acting for the whole to the self, in the context of governance, constitutes a corruption of the republic (Machiavelli, 201). The prioritization of the public over the private is essential. This is also the primary characterization Machiavelli applies when defining a tyrant; a singular person with unilateral power acting illegally only to benefit his interests. There is an important distinction Machiavelli insists between a tyrant and a dictator. The dictator is a lawfully designated position — originating in the Roman Republic — in which a person that is granted temporary unilateral power may act illegally solely in the interests of the republic and the public good. He goes so far in praising the office in saying that “the dictatorship deserves our special admiration, and to be linked with the chief causes of [Roman] greatness” (Machiavelli, 244). Therefore, Machiavelli marks the fine line between oppressor and savior solely based upon the premier’s motivations: either for the self or for the whole. More generally, the end of a republic is to liberate its citizenry by allowing them a voice in their own

More about Order In A Civic Society Is Kept By A Great Many Agents

Open Document