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One utility it does not possess, however, is awakening remorse. And just as there is nothing essay on morals unfashionable as the last, discarded fashion, there is nothing so wrong as the principles of the most recently defeated opponent. Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good. Especially if you hear yourself using them. Within my head I make a point of encouraging the most outrageous thoughts I can imagine. Natural selection, for example, essay on morals.



Put not your trust in Princes. However, both of these views are based on a misconception. Jesus can be a tragic victim of wrong without Caiaphas having been a bad person or done the wrong thing, let alone an anti-Semitic caricature. Caiaphas was in fact doing his duty, as we must construe the duty of a statesman, as opposed to the duty of a private person.

Whatever the institutional self-interest of Caiaphas may have been, what we see in his reasoning is a proper appreciation of his position of political responsibility.

There is a difference because of the characteristic moral dilemma that occurs with political power. The lives of many, the "whole nation," depend on Caiaphas; and if he must truly chose between the innocent lives of many and the innocent life of one, then, however unpleasant, disturbing, or regretable, the trust that the many have placed in him must predominate and he must do what is necessary that "that the whole nation should not perish.

This meant that the Revolt would be a fight to the death, with no compromise sought from the Romans. We must credit Caiaphas with avoiding, for a time, such evils [ note ]. It must be understood, however, that a prince Thus he must be disposed to change according as the winds of fortune and the alternations of circumstance dictate.

As I have aleady said, he must stick to the good so long as he can, but being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of evil [e, come di sopra dissi, non partirsi dal bene, potendo, ma sapere entrare, nel male, necessitato] Walker translation, Penguin Books, p.

This superficially looks like another statement by Machiavelli in the Discourses: However, he was no disciple of Machiavelli just because of those goals. The quote just given is immediately followed by: Only the Bolsheviks were saved, so that they could continue slaughtering the workers and peasants in whose name they had seized power.

He admired republics, especially the Roman Republic ; he admired and revered Marcus Aurelius. He did not admire tyranny; he did not admire, but despised, Caesar. He would have had no difficulty recognizing Lenin and Trotsky, or Hitler and Stalin, for the monsters that they were -- all of whom made "war on virtue, on letters, and on any art that brings advantage and honour to the human race.

A genuine moral dilemma arises when a wrong must be committed, not just for any purpose, but unavoidably for a genuinely good purpose. If the purpose of a prince or leader is simply his own personal or dynastic ambition, regardless of the cost to his country or its citizens, this is not a worthy purpose, and we have an evil, not a dilemma.

Machiavelli does say that "it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion in order to preserve the state," which does seem to say that the state, and not personal or dynastic ambition, is the proper end of statecraft.

Perhaps so, but this also depends on what the state is supposed to be. If the state is an end in itself, then a dilemma does not arise if some individuals must be sacrificed to it. But if the state is not an end or a good in itself, but an instrumental good to some truly moral end, then a genuine dilemma can arise, as the service of the moral end of the state may conflict with the means that become necessary for its pursuit.

The essence of the dilemma for Caiaphas was simply the existence of one in comparison to the existence of many, the "whole nation. If the good of the many, or the common good, could be realized without harm ever occurring to the innocent interests of individuals, that would be wonderful; but life does not always operate that way, which is the problem.

We find the "rational anarchist," libertarian purist Professor Bernardo de la Paz asking our narrator, Manuel: We have a starting point. You know how we are doing it. If they ever catch on, they may eliminate us -- and that I am prepared to face. At least, in stealing, we have not created the villainous precedent of taxation. We see the rationale next: Has it taken you all these years to decide that I am a hypocrite?

But if it makes you feel better to think that I am one, you are welcome to use me as your scapegoat. But I am not a hypocrite to myself because I was aware the day we declared the Revolution that we would need much money and would have to steal it. It did not trouble me because I considered it better than food riots six years hence, cannibalism in eight.

I made my choice and have no regrets. This is Machiavellian in the best sense. These are not means to preserving the state, but means to preserving people. Professor de la Paz is not troubled by the immorality of theft because the preservation of human lives is more important. In these terms, the question would not be whether the state has the right to tax, but whether taxation is necessary to the means effecting the purpose of the state in protecting and preserving the lives of the citizens.

The discussion in Mistress is not about sacrificing individuals against their will, but with his poetic license Heinlein has spared the Professor the travail of facing a case of that. But if he is willing to steal, which he regards as an unambiguous crime against natural rights, to prevent cannibalism, the magnitude of the end will be no different if he is required by necessity to sacrifice some individual, or small number of individuals, to prevent the deaths of many more.

He may be troubled and unhappy, properly, about that, but he has already conceded the principle -- or rather the exceptions to the principle.

Fate, with no poetic license, was not so kind to Caiaphas and the later leaders responsible for the survival of the Jewish nation. The supreme metaphysic of the state as an end in itself is that of Hegel , for whom the state is simply more real and more divine than any individual. The life, growth, and glory of the state thus would have an absolute claim on any individual; and one could even argue that the conquests of Napoleon and Hitler , although ephemeral and vicious, nevertheless accrued memorable and so indisputable glory, of a sort, to their states, with both regimes the continuing objects of study, fascination, literature, and art.

Although few of sound mind would take that "glory" seriously today in regard to Hitler who, unlike Napoleon, may be said to have created a Hell on earth , in fact we face the unsettling threat of the fame of Stalin reasserting itself in Russia and redirecting that unhappy country back into the ways of tyranny. Indeed, in late , the Russian press is so far back under the control of the government as to contribute no more than cheerleading to the Russian reconquest of Chechnya, whose entire population was once deported by Stalin for suspected disloyalty during the brief German occupation of The liberal ideal of Locke, and the basis of morality for Kant, is the individual.

The moral basis of the government of the United States is set out in the Declaration of Independence, where Thomas Jefferson affirms the existence of natural, individual rights and then says, "That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper to carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States Indeed, I do not think that any law has ever been voided for not being "proper.

The danger then became, not that the federal government would do what was necessary, but that it could do anything "calculated to produce the end. In addition to these legal and institutional usurpations of liberty, the attacks on individualism itself by socialism and communism have continued under the guise of " communitarianism ," and trendy thinkers now like to say that only as much freedom as "possible" should be allowed given the fundamental priority of the state, of "society as a collective unit" they know that they will sound like Nazis if they start talking about "the state," so they say "society" instead.

It is not, indeed, that freedom must never be abridged, but it is a very different matter to see this as a choice by necessity in a moral dilemma rather than as an unproblematic pursuit of a fundamental "collective" good. If the abstract entity the "state," "society," or the "collective" has the moral priority, then the even permanent abridgment of any amount of freedom is no moral wrong. What the state giveth, the state taketh away.

Machiavelli could have insensibly gone along with that, or he may have given more thought to what even a Classical state was supposed to accomplish for its citizens. Although not clearly delineated, Machiavelli often does speak as though the worthy and glorious state is the one, not only of secure and substantial dominion, but one where the lives, property, and prosperity of its citizens are secured.

By such methods one may win dominion but not glory. Borgia is contrasted with the previous rulers of Romagna, who were "impotent lords who had been more inclined to despoil than to govern their subjects" [ibid. Elsewhere it is altogether halted. Indeed, it is the hallmark of tyranny in the 20th century that the property, let alone the persons, of citizens is not secure.

But a ruler who is basically a robber, or who uses his power to take women, will come to be hated. Hatred and contempt, says Machiavelli, are the worst things that can happen to a ruler, the former because nothing else be needed to motivate opposition, even assassination, while the latter means that few will fear to act in opposition.

Machiavelli is famous for claiming that it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved by the people cf. A ruler who is loved but not feared may not be obeyed in need, which could spell disaster for all.

A ruler need not be loved to rule well, but he must be feared to the extent that he will be obeyed. Still a prince should make himself feared in such a way that, though he does not gain love, he escapes hatred; for being feared but not hated go readily together.

Such a condition he may always attain if he will not touch the property of his citizens and subjects, nor their women. Shihuangdi died unchallenged in power and dominion, but his son reigned only two years before universal rebellion overthrew the Qin Dynasty. Stalin had achieved similar status, but three years after his death he was denounced by Khrushchev for his crimes the "secret" speech of , and the legitimacy of the Soviet regime was shaken in the minds of many who had been true believers.

One way in which a ruler can avoid hatred is for him to give the citizens some sense that he respects and depends on them. There is no clearer way that this can be done than to trust them with arms. This is an issue that has become increasingly important in modern democracies, where the forms of police state authority that have been increasingly put into place are inherently hostile to armed citizens.

Large segments of the population, not just in European democracies but now even in America, are deceived by this tyrannical program, under the influence of a press and intelligentsia that has long been dominated by statists, who have always sought to deny to citizens the means of resisting the state. There is nothing more necessary for the preservation of the state than the military, which is why Machiavelli says: This may even be the very essence of the dilemma of statecraft, wherein the existence of the state may contradict the freedom of the individual.

How are "necessity" and freedom to be reconciled? Those among them who are suspicious become loyal, while those who are already loyal remain so [diventano fedeli quelli che ti sono sospetti e quelli che erano fedeli si mantengono], and from subjects they are transformed into partisans [e di sudditi si fanno tua partigiani]. In Germany and Russia, the policy was to put the people at the mercy of the government. And when the Nazis wanted to massacre the Jews, or the Soviets their "class enemies," resistance was no longer possible.

Nor were totalitarian governments alone in this. The democracies of Europe and America now pursue their project of dependent and helpless citizens with relentless attacks on the right of citizens to bear arms or defend themselves. As Jefferson wisely said, "they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. Stupified with their "benefits," people now do not appreciate this "Machiavellian" principle:



Hey fiends, Check back here daily when we hit the road for the official Creature Feature tour blog. We’ll be posting updates from our shows, lives photos, tour videos, and all the other strange things we come across as we possess the world one concert at a time. Kant's Groundwork (or Foundations) of the Metaphysics of Morals is probably the single most influential work of philosophical ethics since Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics.

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