Clinton And Machiavellianism
By William J. Federer
"A year ago last week, President Bill Clinton gave an interview to several of us from The Washington Post...At the end of the interview, he stood before the fireplace in the Oval Office and recited to us a passage from Machiavelli's "The Prince."` - David Broder, The Washington Post, Monday, May 16, 1994.
Needless to say, I was intrigued when I opened up a 1982 edition of Funk Wagnall's Dictionary and read the definition of Machiavellianism:
"n. The theory and practice of power politics elaborated from Machiavelli's The Prince: envisaging:
( 1 ) seizure, maintenance, and extension of absolute power by the nicely graduated use of guile, fraud, force, and terror;
( 2 ) control by the ruler of all avenues of communication, thus facilitating the deliberate molding of public opinion;
( 3 ) the employment for surveillance and terrorist activities of subordinates who can be disowned and liquidated by the ruler, who thus escapes the blame for their atrocities."
Niccolo Machiavelli lived in Florence, Italy, during the Renaissance of the early 1500's. Living in a tumultuous time, he thought that if one person, namely Lorenzo de' Medici, could be the absolute ruler of all Italy, then order could be restored. In an effort to gain favor with the powerful Medici family, he wrote The Prince as a blueprint justifying the use of any means, no matter how sinister,to gain and keep power.
Simply put, if a prince conquered a city, the people would hate him. But if the prince secretly hired terrorists to create an insurrection, then marched into the city to put down the insurrection, the people would praise him as a hero. Either way he increased his domain over the city, but it would be better for him if the citizens loved him rather than hated him for doing it.
George Washington referred to this practice in his Farewell Address, 1796: "A small but artful and enterprising minority.... are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for the themselves the reins of government;... This leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual... [who] turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.... Ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. - It opens the doors to foreign influence and corruption."
Referring to Washington, President Andrew Jackson gave a similar warning in his Farewell Address, 1837: "Jealous anxiety for the preservation of the Union was earnestly pressed upon his fellow-citizens by the Father of his Country in his Farewell Address.... Washington... seemed to be... the voice of prophecy, foretelling events and warning us of the evil to come.... It is well known that there have always been those amongst us who wish to enlarge the powers of the General Government... to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the constitution.... Government would have passed from the hands of the many to the hands of the few, and this organized money power from its secret conclave would have dictated the choice of your highest officers and compelled you to make peace or war, as best suited their own wishes.... It is from within, among yourselves - from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition and inordinate thirst for power - that factions will be formed and liberty endangered. It is against such designs, whatever disguise the actors may assume, that you have especially to guard yourselves."
President William Henry Harrison admonished in his Inaugural Address,
"The tendency of power to increase itself, particularly when exercised by a single individual... would terminate in virtual monarchy.... The Executive department has become dangerous.... As long as the love of power is a dominant passion of the human bosom... so long will the liberties of a people depend on their constant attention.... The danger to all well-established free governments arises from the unwillingness of the people to believe in the existence... of designing men.... History, ancient and modern, is full of such examples. Caesar became the master of the Roman people and the senate under the pretense of supporting the democratic claims...; Cromwell, in the character of the protector of the liberties of the people, became the dictator of England, and Bolivar possessed himself of unlimited power with the title of his country's liberator.... The tendencies of all such governments in their decline is to monarchy... and, like the false Christs whose coming was foretold by the Savior, seeks to, and were it possible would, impose upon the true and most faithful disciples of liberty. It is in periods like this that it behooves the people to be most watchful of those to whom they have intrusted power."
After reading Machiavelli, and the warning of our forefathers, I can't help but wonder who will end up with more power after these current national and international crisis are over. When emergencies are used as excuses to disregard the Constitution, it concerns me.
The Constitution states in Section 8 that "Congress shall have the declare War," yet it seems suspect that so soon after Congress impeached the President for lying, he took unto himself the power to order acts of war without consulting them. His reason for doing so was that there was no time, yet he had time to consult with UN and NATO leaders!?
And another question, why is he increasing our attacks on other countries while jeopardizing our defense at home? Why did so many high officials, from Clinton to Gore to Gephardt, receive money from John Huang, the Lippo Group and other Communist Chinese operatives, then give them our vital missile technology?
Are we being set up for a crisis on our own soil? Has the "foreign influence" of which George Washington warned already taken place. House Majority Leader Dick Army said last year, "The more you look into this business of the transfer of advanced, sophisticated technology to the Chinese military, which seems to be clearly for campaign contributions, the harder it is to stay away from words like 'treason.'"
It has been almost 500 years since Machiavelli argued that any action is permissible to gain and keep political power; that the end-justifies-the-means; that creating crisis is necessary to concentrate control.
Unfortunately, after reading Machiavelli, I can't watch the news without wondering if there is an enemy behind the enemy?
In baseball there is a saying, "Keep your eye on the ball," in global politics its "Keep your eye on who's ending up with more power!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~Vibrani's One Source~