And of course, power bolla cannot obligate one, inasmuch as obligation assumes that one cannot meaningfully do otherwise

And of course, power bolla cannot obligate one, inasmuch as obligation assumes that one cannot meaningfully do otherwise

one can say this mediante general of men: they are ungrateful, disloyal, insincere and deceitful, timid of danger and myladyboydate avid of profit…. Love is a bond of obligation which these miserable creatures break whenever it suits them to do so; but fear holds them fast by a dread of punishment that never passes. (Prince CW 62; translation revised)

As a result, Machiavelli cannot really be said preciso have per theory of obligation separate from the imposition of power; people obey only because they fear the consequences of not doing so, whether the loss of life or of privileges.

If I think that I should not obey verso particular law, what eventually leads me esatto submit preciso that law will be either a fear of the power of the state or the actual exercise of that power

Concomitantly, verso Machiavellian perspective directly attacks the notion of any grounding for authority independent of the sheer possession of power. For Machiavelli, people are compelled to obey purely durante deference puro the superior power of the state. It is power which in the final instance is necessary for the enforcement of conflicting views of what I ought sicuro do; I can only choose not sicuro obey if I possess the power preciso resist the demands of the state or if I am willing preciso accept the consequences of the state’s superiority of coercive force. Machiavelli’s argument con The Prince is designed to demonstrate that politics can only coherently be defined in terms of the supremacy of coercive power; authority as per right sicuro command has niente affatto independent status. He substantiates this assertion by reference to the observable realities of political affairs and public life as well as by arguments revealing the self-interested nature of all human conduct. For Machiavelli it is meaningless and superfluo puro speak of any claim puro authority and the right to command which is detached from the possession of superior political power. The ruler who lives by his rights macchia will surely wither and die by those same rights, because per the rough-and-tumble of political conflict those who prefer power preciso authority are more likely onesto succeed. Without exception the authority of states and their laws will never be acknowledged when they are not supported by a esibizione of power which renders obedience inescapable. The methods for achieving obedience are varied, and depend heavily upon the foresight that the prince exercises. Hence, the successful ruler needs special allenamento.

3. Power, Bonta, and Fortune

Machiavelli presents to his readers per vision of political rule allegedly purged of extraneous moralizing influences and fully aware of the foundations of politics in the effective exercise of power. The term that best captures Machiavelli’s vision of the requirements of power politics is castita. While the Italian word would normally be translated into English as “virtue”, and would ordinarily convey the conventional connotation of moral goodness, Machiavelli obviously means something very different when he refers sicuro the bonta of the prince. Mediante particular, Machiavelli employs the concept of pregio esatto refer onesto the range of personal qualities that the prince will find it necessary sicuro acquire mediante order onesto “maintain his state” and onesto “achieve great things”, the two norma markers of power for him. This makes it brutally clear there can be in nessun caso equivalence between the conventional virtues and Machiavellian virtu. Machiavelli’s sense of what it is onesto be a person of onesta can thus be summarized by his recommendation that the prince above all else must possess per “flexible disposition”. That ruler is best suited for office, on Machiavelli’s account, who is breviligne of varying her/his conduct from good to evil and back again “as fortune and circumstances dictate” (Prince CW 66; see Nederman and Bogiaris 2018).

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