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Article :: Supporting Evidence

Machiavailli Reconsidered

The Prince

by Nicolo Machiavelli


Concerning Hereditary Principalities

I WILL leave out all discussion on republics, inasmuch as in another place I have written of them at length, 1 and will address myself only to principalities. In doing so I will keep to the order indicated above, and discuss how such principalities are to be ruled and preserved.

I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding hereditary states, and those long accustomed to the family of their prince, than new ones; for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of his ancestors, and to deal prudently with circumstances as they arise, for a prince of average powers to maintain himself in his state, unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force; and if he should be so deprived of it, whenever anything sinister happens to the usurper, he will regain it.[1]

We have in Italy, for example, the Duke of Ferrara, who could not have withstood the attacks of the Venetians in '84, nor those of Pope Julius in '10, unless he had been long established in his dominions. For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend [2]; hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated[3], it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him; and in the antiquity and duration of his rule the memories and motives that make for change are lost, for one change always leaves the toothing for another.

1. Discourses.

  • Argues that it is easier to hold on to principalities that are used to being ruled so long as traditions are maintained and problems handled prudently, than new acquisitions. A resourceful prince will not lose his hereditary principality unless he faces extreme circumstances of extraordinary force.
  • If the usurper is unable to maintain rule, the people will be well disposed to return of the long established prince.
  • A long established prince has the advantage of the people being adapted to rule and tribute, with no need for offense (change) on his or, demands for change on the people's part.
  • A long established prince can still lose rule if extraordinarey vice and the costs it imposes on the people cause them to hate him.

[1] States the obvious truth that people are creatures of habit and, once long accustomed to a stable state of affairs, even if not ideal, the majority are too lazy to seek change (fight for / adapt to something better). Conversely, people value their habitual "comfort zones" and, if threatened, they will rally to support the ruler from those who risk change and adaptation to the "new boss". Further states that, if by some extraordinary event, change is forced and the factors which forced change are no longer able to impose it, people will be well disposed to go back to the former status quo, their habitual "comfort zone", creating easy opportunity for deposed rulers to return, should the usurper fail and opportunity arise. Displays great insight into the basic attributes of mankind as explained in The Attributes of Man.

[2]People under long established rulers have become adapted to subservience, which has become their habitual "comfort zone". They will fight to resist change because they interpret change as a survival threat.

[3]Conversly, when a ruler becomes greedy, arrogant with as Machiavailli states "extraordinary vices", these impose changes and costs (at a minimum rocks the people's comfort zones) with costs such as predatory taxation, criminals run amok, official corruption or, consuming all the virgins. Then, the people are forced, by perceived survival threats to revise their "cost / benefit analysis" of their rulers and, choose the maximal survival course which inevitably means "off with ruler heads".

[4]Not explicitly stated, but implied by Machiavailli: a desired state of affairs for rulers is to become long established, with the people adapted to their predations, reluctant to change. Since the majority of people resist any rapid change, good, or bad, new rulers must go slow, by incremental means "increasing the temperature slowly, lest the frog jump out of the pot while it is still able". This is consistent with the authors basic conclusion: Our slavers have embarked, more than a century ago to slowly adapt all of mankind to servitude by "Environmentral Control, 101" by subverting education, media, democracy, government, law, manipulating our perceptions, destroying the ability of the average person To Think and therefore destroyed our collective ability to make the correct choices required To Survive. Our "rulers" misjudged, in their arrogance, they believed their own lies of omnipotence and forgot the basic fact that they are parasites and will perish with the host. Whether we like it, or not, major change (course correction) ahead.

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