The Tao-te Ching by Lao-Tzu and The Prince by Machiavelli Essay

1760 Words 8 Pages
“The Tao-te Ching” by Lao-Tzu and “The Prince” by Machiavelli

Throughout history, it can be argued that at the core of the majority of successful societies has stood an effective allocation of leadership. Accordingly, in their respective works “The Tao-te Ching” and “The Prince”, Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli have sought to reach a more complete understanding of this relationship. The theme of political leaders and their intricate relationship with society indeed manifests itself within both texts, however, both Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli approach this issue from almost entirely opposite positions. Lao-Tzu appears to focus the majority of his attention on letting problems or situations take their course and allowing good to prevail. On the
…show more content…
Perhaps in his time Lao-Tzu viewed that his interpretation of human nature was entirely possible, but as far as the twenty-first century is involved, the idea that if societies are left unattended we are able to “Trust them” (§ 75, 59) is absurd. It can be argued legitimately that Lao-Tzu’s concepts have been applied and in fact have proven to be extremely effective. For example, a capitalistic, laissez-faire approach to governing, particularly the form advocated by American Republicans. However, cases of removing regulations and adopting the leadership standards Lao-Tzu advises have been strictly applied to market economics, not to each and every facet of government.

Refraining from absolute negativity about Lao-Tzu’s work, the Tao does have many redeemable qualities. The emphasis Lao-Tzu places on the attainment of individual happiness is extremely honorable, however this doesn’t detract from the ineffectiveness Lao-Tzu encounters, as he is unable to come to well-grounded conclusion on the means for effective leadership. His advice to politicians is to only interfere when it is an absolute necessity; yet he takes this to a radical extreme advising leaders to pretty much do nothing. His ideas are taken to an extent where if human nature falters, which it
Open Document