- "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
- "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,
- ( 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
- 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
- The Constitution states in Section 8
that "Congress shall have the power...to 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
- 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
- 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~