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Thread: Boring list of battles or fascinating textbook?

  1. #1
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    Sep 2009
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Boring list of battles or fascinating textbook?

    The Prince may seem intimidating at first glance and even at the second but has anyone noticed further significance to the work? Why did it exist so long in the international literary eye?

    I would argue that it claims importance due to not how many battles Machiavelli can list off but what it teaches not only on the battlefield and political realm but serves also as a psychology textbook in saying "this is how the masses think and this is how a leader responds in such and such a case." In this context, strange as it may seem, one can apply its principles to the classroom, to family, and the rest, inserting the aspect of love along with stratagem, which Machiavelli of course for the most part leaves out.

    Yours in soul and mind,


  2. #2
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    May 2010
    I agree with Isidro. Prince is a fascinating book. I think Machiavelli is saying that the first and foremost goal of an effective ruler should be to maintain the stability of his state. To achieve this goal, the ruler may have to do things that are not considered to be "virutous" from time to time. But these actions should be rare, executed out of absolute necessity, and only when they directly contribute to the ultimate goal of keeping the state stable. I think he is presenting an honest assessment of what works and what doesn't in politics and war. And since human nature has not changed in the past 500 years, most of Machiavelli's arguments and advice are still valid today.

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