Machiavelli and Machiavellism

Courtesy Reuters

MACHIAVELLISM is the name given to a doctrine which might be summed up as follows: The supreme law of politics is success. Politics, therefore, cannot recognize any moral law as binding. What is bad in the conduct of individuals can be the most imperative of duties for a statesman if the good of the state so demands. This doctrine is named after its creator, Niccolò Machiavelli, statesman, historian and philosopher, who was born in Florence in 1469 and died in the same city in 1527. The nineteenth century saw in Machiavelli one of the creators of modern thought because he freed politics from slavery to theology. Until his time politics had been either empirical or a branch of theology. With Machiavelli it became a free science depending only on reason.

In all this there is only one inconvenient factor, namely, that one looks in vain for a complete Machiavellian system in the

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