Niccolò Machiavelli, Power


 Machiavelli held that the purpose of political power is to maintain itself and to extend itself. It has nothing to do
with the welfare of the people. It has nothing to do with principles or ideology or right and wrong. The welfare of
the people, principles, ideology, right and wrong: these are related to the means to the end, but the goal is
power. Do whatever it takes to keep your power and extend your power. Sabine writes:
 “This is Machiavelli’s most conspicuous quality. He writes almost wholly of the mechanics of government, of
the means by which states may be made strong, of the policies by which they can expand their power, and of
the errors that lead to their decay or overthrow. Political and military measures are almost the sole objects of
his interest, and he divorces these almost wholly from religious, moral, and social considerations, except as
the latter affect political expedients. The purpose of politics is to preserve and increase political power itself,
and the standard by which he judges it is its success in doing this. Whether a policy is cruel or faithless or
lawless he treats for the most part as a matter of indifference, though he is well aware that such qualities may
react upon its political success. He often discusses the advantages of immorality skillfully used to gain a ruler’s
ends, and the most part he is not so much immoral as non-moral. He simply abstracts politics from other
considerations and writes of it as if it were and end in itself.”

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