Saturday, September 24, 2005

Machiavelli: From world politics to grading

From "They're Not Going To Like Us", by David Ignatius (WaPo, Sep 22, 2005):
Realists are always quoting Machiavelli's admonition that it is better to be feared than loved, but that advice never seems to resonate very well with American presidents. They want to be feared and loved. Perhaps under our system, politicians become addicted to love. But in a world where we are the only superpower, the reality is that we will be unpopular. Nobody is going to root for Goliath -- even a nice, democratic Goliath.

An uncharitable world expects America to act in its own interests, and so we should. We promote democracy and anti-terrorism not because these are universal ideals, but because they serve America's need for a more stable world. We will never convince the rest of the world that we aren't acting selfishly, no matter what we say.
From "Loved or Feared?" by Christopher C. Hull (, Apr 22, 2003):
Feared or loved, which is better? As Prof. Harvey C. (minus) Mansfield of Harvard teaches, the challenge is that if a professor gives out A's, then students will love him - but if he then gives a student a C, that student will hate him. If, however, the professor gives out C's, then students will fear him, and if he gives out more C's, students will simply continue to fear him. But any A's he scatters about will cause those students to fear AND love him. (Note: He wasn't kidding.)
(Footnote: Professor Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, teaches political philosophy at Harvard. He is a translator and scholar of Machiavelli.)

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home