Niccolo Machiavelli (Machiavellian) Political ViewJune 27, 2021
Born in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli is one of the important names of Renaissance humanism and one of the founders of modern political science. In addition to being a philosopher, writer, diplomat, musician and playwright, he was one of the important statesmen of the Florentine State of his time.
He was one of the leading figures of modern political philosophy. He brought together his political writings in Conversations, and examined advanced war tactics in The Art of War. He owes his enduring fame to his masterpiece The Prince. Because of this work of 1513, its name has become synonymous with the term machiavellianism, which is a way of doing politics that includes the use of deceptive tactics in politics.
This is partly unfair, since Machiavelli’s aim was not to affirm the bad and ugly ways of making politics, but to show how politics works in reality. In The Prince, how a principality will be established, how it will be governed, how it will be lost is explained in historical and experiential ways. He defended a strong state administration due to the political turmoil of the period he lived in, and the need for absolute monarchy is revealed with its conditions and tools. With this feature, the work made a great contribution to the radical distinction between political realism and political idealism.
Machiavelli made a major contribution to the distinction between political realism and political idealism.
However, Machiavelli defended the superiority of the republican government in his work titled Interviews, based on the experiences of past city-states such as Sparta, Rome and Venice. It is true, though, that he wrote this work much later, when Italian cities were achieving political stability. At the time he wrote The Prince, however, the Italian city-states were in turmoil. Administrative weakness, social stagnation, moral decline had reached such proportions that sensitive patriots were concerned. The relations of the Church with the state and the individual were adding salt and pepper to the situation. Machiavelli, above all, was directed towards the realization of Italian unification. He thought that this aim could be achieved by first strengthening and stabilizing the existing city-states. His primary desire was to stabilize the city-state of Florence, of which he was a citizen. For this reason, he advocated absolute monarchy and wrote the Prince to guide the rulers.
Defending the virtues of the republican regime in the Conversations he wrote after the Prince, Machiavelli was influenced by the political turmoil of Florence at the time he wrote the Prince, and on the contrary, preferred absolute monarchy in this work.
In the work, he reveals the secret measures and tactics that the manager must implement in order to maintain control in the domain of sovereignty. Especially a prince who has just seized power will have to apply these tactics because his first task is to fix the power he has acquired in order to build a solid political structure. The prince, who should also be a public figure, a man of the people, has to do all kinds of unethical actions when necessary for the survival of the state. For the well-being of the state, sometimes deceiving the citizen may be inevitable. Machiavelli claims to have proven with historical data that successful managers in history did the same. He emphasizes that the prince does not have to conform to Christian ethics in order to achieve his political goals. This type of ethics advises people to simply obey and avoid war and quarrel. They will not be of any use to the powerful ruler. The work, then, seems to redefine morality politically; accordingly, a course of action, which can be expressed as acceptable brutal action in relation to the ruler, seems to have been put forward as a criterion: an action that meets this criterion must be swift, effective and short-lived. “Machiavelli was undoubtedly aware of the irony that good results come from bad actions.” But there was no other way for him to be the absolute ruler. Thus, it was emphasized that the important thing is the goal, and it doesn’t matter whether the means to the goal is good or bad.
In The Prince, where morality is redefined politically, it is emphasized that the important thing is the goal, and it does not matter whether the means to the end are good or bad.
Machiavelli accepted the institution of religion in terms of social benefit and believed that religion would facilitate domination over people. But he preferred an old Roman-style religion that emphasizes patriotic feelings instead of Christian morality, which makes people passive and alienated from political consciousness, and he turned to religion not for its own value and sake, but for the social benefit it would provide. His main ideal was a united, independent and free Italian nation. It was the complete independence of the nation from the domination of the Church in terms of politics, science and religion (Thilly, 2007: 20). All the arguments in The Prince are made to serve this purpose. While the power demand of the ruler is not welcomed in the ideal social orders of Plato and Aristotle, Machiavelli states that brute force is sometimes a necessary method for maintaining order,