The Not So Machiavellian Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer, the Democrat governor of Michigan, is a tyrant seeking new ways to punish the people of Michigan. This governor is ambitious but not very smart. She makes no pretense of persuasion. She is ham-handedly imposing hardship on her people. They have started a recall petition.

“Greater Good” and “The Ends Justify the Means” are synonymous. Whatever results as greater good is hardly ever good (much less greater) nor justifiable in comparison to the means.

“The ends justify the means” is said to embody the philosophy created by Machiavelli (1469-1527, Florence, Italy). But that’s a shallow thing to say.

Machiavelli’s wisdom was that a prince will not succeed by depending solely on the good will of the people. The people respect power more than any “warm and fuzzy” politician.  They act in their own interest and want a powerful leader to protect their interests and to squash their perceived enemies.

They will easily come to view the warm and fuzzy politician as weak, incompetent and essentially worthless. Jimmy Carter was that sort of politician.

The prince must be clever in how he uses his power. It must always appear to the people that the prince is using his power to serve them.  The prince wants to use power for his own benefit, but make it appear that he’s doing it for the people.

An example of a prince acting in a Machiavellian way: The people have become unruly and the prince seeks to punish them for that. He doesn’t do it directly. He hires a thug to do it for him. The thug is presented as an experienced leader who will bring about greater prosperity for the people. The prince hired him because he knows the thug is a thug and will resort to thuggery with the people. After the people have suffered his thuggery for a while the prince realizes that it is time to stop the thug. How does he do it?

One morning shortly thereafter, the hired thug is found in the town square with his body torn apart. His body parts are spread all around the square. [Remember, this is 16th Century Italy] The prince announces that the thug had become a monster and had to be dealt with. The thug would not go quietly and foolishly entered into combat with the Prince’s royal guard.  The guard tried to take him alive but he would not comply and harsher action became necessary.

The people are relieved. They will no longer be subjected to the thuggery. They rejoice in their prince, who saved them from that awful fate.

This is pure Machiavelli. The end of the thug was good but it is not correct to say it justified his slaughter. Machiavelli would not have looked at it in that way. His slaughter was merely necessary to bring the people back into loyalty and appreciation for their prince. They admired his strength. They would have likely murdered their prince [or tried to] if they had detected any weakness. By slaughtering the thug he showed his strength and his loyalty to the people.

Machiavelli counseled further. The Prince need only give the appearance of loyalty to the people. He must understand that they will never return their loyalty to him once they again decide he is not acting in their interest. He must constantly create circumstances that will appear to them that he is acting in their interest. Even though he may or may not be.

Machiavelli was a smart man. He knew how a prince should act to have order in his princedom. Machiavelli wrote The Prince not merely to guide Italian princes. The book was essentially a job application with resume. He had a lost a post in the Florentine government. He wanted it back. He never got it, but he gave us some of the most profound and true philosophy that has ever come out of the Western Tradition.

Machiavelli went on to give us some of the most profound explanations of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. He compared the five main types of government: Monarchy, Aristocracy, Dictatorship, Democracy, and Republic. It was the Republic that Machiavelli found to the best and most stable form of government.

He may not have considered Dictatorship to be deserving of the title government because a Dictatorship is little more than rule by a criminal gang. That must be why Democrats in America have such admiration for Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and other countries under the hold of dictators.

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