Socrates And Machiavelli

Decent Essays
The works of Socrates and Machiavelli are as polarized as the phrases “the unexamined life is not worth living” and “the ends justify the means.” The Prince by Machiavelli and The Last Days of Socrates by Plato are both crucial texts to the discussion of what makes a good political leader. Well, what makes a good political leader? Socrates would disagree with Machiavelli’s ideation of the Prince because of the immorality that he allows this model to have in the public sphere. However, Socrates would find that Machiavelli’s Prince would lead to a political system that he would favor, because it would be one ruled by a qualified and expert leader, unlike in a democracy. At the core of their political philosophies, Machiavelli and Socrates…show more content…
Socrates believed that to have a constant obligation as an individual to act ethically, and then pick and choose in which situations to act as such is morally reprehensible. He argued that true morality means that one does not act one way in a certain context and another way in another situation. Socrates asked “Do we say that there is no way that one must ever willingly commit injustice, or does it depend upon circumstance? Is it true, as we have often agreed before, that there is no sense in which an act of injustice is good or honorable?” (88). Although Socrates does not assert his opinion in anything but a question, it is clear that he believes that it would not make sense to know that one should live morally, and then choose in which circumstances to abide by that knowledge. He believes so strongly that individuals should act morally in every aspect of their lives that he spends a lot of time questioning the morality of public figures. Socrates says of these authorities, “I shall question him and examine him and put him to the test; and if it appears that in spite of his profession he has made no real progress towards goodness, I shall reprove him for neglecting what is of extreme importance, and giving his attention to trivialities” (56). Socrates would not approve of a leader who did not act ethically as a leader, as well as an individual. Machiavelli would not be so apt to hold political leaders
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