Difference between revisions of "Talk:Niccolò Machiavelli"

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(reply to PAuber)
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::: I just searched the Federalist Papers, the voluminous explanation and defense of our constitutional system by our Founders, and there is not a single reference to Machiavelli or Machiavellian.  As to your list of "conservative intellectual powerhouses," I don't recognize any of them as being Reagan-type conservatives.  Harvey Mansfield may come closest, but I'd be surprised if he were conservative on most leading social issues.--[[User:Aschlafly|Andy Schlafly]] 09:51, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
 
::: I just searched the Federalist Papers, the voluminous explanation and defense of our constitutional system by our Founders, and there is not a single reference to Machiavelli or Machiavellian.  As to your list of "conservative intellectual powerhouses," I don't recognize any of them as being Reagan-type conservatives.  Harvey Mansfield may come closest, but I'd be surprised if he were conservative on most leading social issues.--[[User:Aschlafly|Andy Schlafly]] 09:51, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
 
:::: However, there is also not a single reference to John Locke, who was an enormously large influence, in the Federalist Papers.  As for Ed's question, it's believe it's generally accepted that Machiavelli was writing for the specific circumstances of a fractured Italy, as he desired an enlightened prince to unify it through necessary means and then give control to a new republican body. By the way, can anyone explain why I was blocked for engaging in this discussion? [[User:PAuber|PAuber]] 12:47, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
 
:::: However, there is also not a single reference to John Locke, who was an enormously large influence, in the Federalist Papers.  As for Ed's question, it's believe it's generally accepted that Machiavelli was writing for the specific circumstances of a fractured Italy, as he desired an enlightened prince to unify it through necessary means and then give control to a new republican body. By the way, can anyone explain why I was blocked for engaging in this discussion? [[User:PAuber|PAuber]] 12:47, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
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::::: Well, fine, but there's no doubt that Locke influenced the Founding Fathers.  See, e.g., [http://www.gunstonhall.org/georgemason/timeline/chronology.html]  There is doubt about Machiavelli's influence on them.
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::::: I see no record of your being blocked, but you will be blocked if you continue to delete information from the lectures.--[[User:Aschlafly|Andy Schlafly]] 12:58, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

Revision as of 11:58, 21 March 2009

! Part of this article was copied from Citizendium and Wikipedia but the copied text was originally written by me, RJJensen (under the name Richard Jensen and rjensen) and does not include alterations made by others on that site. Conservlogo.png
RJJensen 06:53, 14 February 2009 (EST)


Influence on Conservatives?

Machiavelli has had ZERO influence on conservatives, or the Founding Fathers, or anything else of great value. Zilch. The reference given is to "Pocock", but it should be to poppycock. This revisionism of someone felt for centuries to be inspired by the devil cannot last here. I wouldn't put it on Citizendium either! Godspeed.--Andy Schlafly 23:04, 20 March 2009 (EDT)
I'm not sure where you get this idea that he had zero influence from. Francis Bacon, the catalyst of the scientific revolution, was deeply fond of Machiavelli's Prince and Discourses on Livy, based his entire approach to the writing and study of history upon the Machiavellian approach, and noted, "We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do." The Discourses had wide impact throughout the centuries on republican thinking, though I can't speak to his influence on the founding fathers, being a British, and not American historian. PaulAuber 01:18, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
Yes Paul is right. The Discourses are cited and reprinted to this day by conservatives. Some argue that The prince is a warning what it's like to have a king who is sovereign as opposed to the much better system that Machiavelli supported of a republic. Better look at Pocock (a cnservative--he and I used to have adjoining offices in the the 1960s) or the dozens of other scholarly studies. Willmore Kendall for example wrote about what was "truly admirable in Machiavelli" (the Discources), which are not at all "Machiavellian" (in the Prince-sense). M. warns that "Principality easily becomes Tyranny." Conservative historian Paul Rahe has an entire book on Machiavelli's Liberal Republican Legacy Another leading conservative using Machiavelli is Harvey C. Mansfield of Harvard. RJJensen 01:52, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
So his influence, I am to infer that his influence, on conservatives, is mainly that they used him to explain his influence on liberal Republicans? It has been a long day, Richard! --₮K/Admin/Talk 03:01, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
"liberal" in the 19th century sense, which is like libertarianism today. The influence on 2009 conservatives was this: Machiavelli's ideas on civic duty and opposition to corruption are deply engrained in America thanks to the idea of republicanism. It's a political philosophy after which the GOP names itself. Jefferson also called his party the "Republican" (or Democratic-Republican) party. RepublicISM means fears of tyranny, fear of corruption, distrust of politicians, and the need to be an active citizen, esp bear arms in wartime and vote in elections. We all share that today and (to a large degree) it comes from Machiavelli (and others too, but he was very important). This "republican" line of Machiavelli's thought is totally different from his line of thought in "The Prince" which advocates tyranny--he argued both black and white! RJJensen 03:39, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

Sounds as if he would today be one of the highest ranking members of Congress......as the prerequisite is being able to argue both sides, while talking out of both sides of your mouth. --₮K/Admin/Talk 05:15, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

Was Machiavelli writing about his ideals, i.e., what the best possible ruler ought to do? Or was he writing for his time and place? I heard that his ideas were meant to apply only to Italy of the early Renaissance era (which figured in several popular Shakespearean plays).
Wasn't he only offering specifically tailored and pragmatic advice rather than timeless "do this everywhere and at all times" principles? Does the idea of lesser of two evils apply?
In other words, did Machiavelli actually recommend that rulers be "Machiavellian", as an ideal of government? I don't think so, any more than Pollyanna (in the book or even the Disney movie) practiced "unreasonable or blind optimism." [1] And Uncle Tom's attitude was never "to curry favor with whites" but was manifestly an expression of his Christian principles. --Ed Poor Talk 07:00, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
Ed raises a very good point. Was M telling tyrants how to do it? or was he warning people "if you don't have a republic you will get a tyrant and here's how he will mistreat you." Scholars have been debating this for years and no one is sure. I incline to the "warning" side because in fact no tyrant needs his advice--they do it naturally, but good citizens do need to be warned. ...speaking of Shakespeare: Macbeth teaches the audience exactly how to be a bad king, but nobody says Shaks. was writing a guidebook for tyrants. RJJensen 07:14, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
Likewise, Hamlet shows how to fulfill the classic Greek ideal of avenging your father's murder, but for me it's a lesson in the unintended consequences. The prince murders his girlfriend's father (which drives her to suicide) - bad start for a poorly thought-out plan. --Ed Poor Talk 07:29, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
We don't even want to go there, Ed....Hamlet, and his issues! Good morning, BTW. :-) -- --₮K/Admin/Talk 07:58, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

RJJensen, I appreciate your clarification, but where do you get your claim that Machiavelli influence any conservatives, or conservative thought? I have never, ever, ever heard a single conservative cite Machiavelli in any way, except perhaps to criticize Machiavellianism (and even that mention is almost non-existent).--Andy Schlafly 09:03, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

not many people these days read Machiavelli's Discourses, but the Founding Fathers all did, and they incorporated his ideas directly and those that came via the English "country party". Ideas like service in the militia, for example, also come from him--and especially the idea that politicians are power-hungry princes that have to be watched at all times. Lots of conservative intellectual powerhouses write about him--for example Leo Strauss and the Straussians (Alan Bloom, Thomas Pangle, Harvey Mansfield) also Willmore Kendall, Paul Rahe, Gordon Wood, and several National review writers. RJJensen 09:15, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
I just searched the Federalist Papers, the voluminous explanation and defense of our constitutional system by our Founders, and there is not a single reference to Machiavelli or Machiavellian. As to your list of "conservative intellectual powerhouses," I don't recognize any of them as being Reagan-type conservatives. Harvey Mansfield may come closest, but I'd be surprised if he were conservative on most leading social issues.--Andy Schlafly 09:51, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
However, there is also not a single reference to John Locke, who was an enormously large influence, in the Federalist Papers. As for Ed's question, it's believe it's generally accepted that Machiavelli was writing for the specific circumstances of a fractured Italy, as he desired an enlightened prince to unify it through necessary means and then give control to a new republican body. By the way, can anyone explain why I was blocked for engaging in this discussion? PAuber 12:47, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
Well, fine, but there's no doubt that Locke influenced the Founding Fathers. See, e.g., [2] There is doubt about Machiavelli's influence on them.
I see no record of your being blocked, but you will be blocked if you continue to delete information from the lectures.--Andy Schlafly 12:58, 21 March 2009 (EDT)