Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Who's afraid of Machiavelli? Watch this documentary and find out.

Niccolò Machiavelli is only peripherally the subject of this informative documentary. Rather, it's largely about that famous book he wrote. You know the one.

Imagine: Who's Afraid of Machiavelli? (BBC One; Winter 2013)

Famous for lines like 'It is better to be feared than loved', The Prince has been a manual for tyrants from Napoleon to Stalin. But how relevant is The Prince today, and who are the 21st century Machiavellians? Alan Yentob talks to contributors including Colonel Tim Collins, who kept a copy of The Prince with him in Iraq; plus Hilary Devey, Alastair Campbell and Game of Thrones writer George RR Martin.

2013 was the 500th anniversary of the writing of The Prince (it wasn't published until after Machiavelli's death).

Machiavelli Was Right, by Michael Ignatieff (The Atlantic)

The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care.

... The Prince’s blunt candor has been a scandal for 500 years. The book was placed on the Papal Index of banned books in 1559, and its author was denounced on the Elizabethan stages of London as the “Evil Machiavel.” The outrage has not dimmed with time. The greatest modern conservative political theorist, Leo Strauss, taught his students at the University of Chicago in the 1950s to regard Machiavelli as “a teacher of evil.” Machiavelli’s enduring provocation is to baldly maintain that in politics, evil deeds cease to be evil if urgent public interest makes them necessary.

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