Machiavelli’s Advise to the prince about statecraft
Thus from above reasons Machiavelli‟s “The Prince” is in the form of advice given to a ruler on the state craft. Some significant aspects of the advise to the ruler are as follows: 1. Machiavelli elaborates the doctrine of „Raison D ‟Etat‟.
2. End justifies the Means.
3. State is sovereign, autonomus and non-religious.
4. A prince must combine the qualities of a lion and a fox.
5. Use a double standard of morality.
6. Favour despotic rule.
7. Maintain strong army.
8. Human nature is low and ungrateful, so Prince must consider this nature of man.
9. He should win the popularity of his people must not touch the property of the people.
10. A prince must have council of wise men and not of flatterers.
11. Separate politics from religion.
12. Remain free from emotions.
1. Machiavelli elaborates the doctrine of Raison D ‟Etat‟:
It means „Reason of state‟. It implies actions and policies promoting safety and security of the state. Because the state must preserve itself before it promotes the welfare of its people. For preserving and safeguarding itself all means adopted by the state are justified by Machiavelli. According to him in politics, one is guided by the harsh realities of political life which is a struggle for power and survival. The actions of the state must be judged only on the basis of „Raison D „Etat‟. i.e. independent, self-sufficient and well ordered and well maintain state. Machiavelli advised the prince in preserving and safeguarding this type of state all means adopted by the state are justified. Prince should give priority to power.
Morality and ethics have different spheres. It cannot be mingled with the reason of the state. To a prince power of state is of supreme importance. Self sufficiency of the state means the state will have its own army, a strong and unified government, unity and integrity among the people and solid economic foundation.
2. End justifies the Means:
It is a very famous statement of Machiavelli which he justified for the “Reason of state”. He assumed that state is highest form of human association. State is to be worshipped like a deity even by sacrificing the individual. A ruler must remember that whatever brings success and power is virtuous even cunningness, shuredness is justified. Politics is the most precarious game. It can never be played in a decent and orderly manner. The state has some primary objectives and responsibilities like protection of life, maintenance of law and order and looking after wellbeing of its members. Hence state must have adequate means at its disposal.
3. State is sovereign, autonomus and non-religious:
Machiavelli said the state is superior to all associations in the human society. It is sovereign and is autonomous, Moral and religious considerations cannot bind the prince.
He is above and outside the morality. He can use religion to realize his ends. Religion cannot influence politics and the church cannot control the state. In fact sovereign state enjoys absolute power over all individuals and institutions. State is must necessary of all institutions. It stands on a wholly different footing and therefore be judged by different standards. State power is the end and religion is its organ and instrument. Nothing is unearthy in the state, State came into being to satisfy material interests of the people. He divorced politics from theology and government from religion. He did not view the state as having a moral end and purpose but gave importance to man‟s worldly life. He said politics is an independent activity with its own principles and laws.
4. A prince must combine the qualities of a lion and a fox:
Machiavelli advised the prince he should imitate the qualities of fox and lion. The imitation of the fox (cunningness, foresight) will enable him to visualize his goal and means to achieve it. The imitation of the lion will give him necessary strength and force to achieve that goal. A fox might have shrewdness and foresight, but he is powerless without necessary force of a lion. Similarly a lion without shrewdness and prudence of a fox would be reckless. Hence a ruler who wants to be very successful must combine in himself the qualities of both fox and lion.
He must possess bravery of lion and cunningness of fox, physical force is necessary when there is anarchy and indiscipline. But law and morality is essential to check selfishness of people and to generate civic virtues.
5. Use double standard of politics:
One for the ruler and another for his subjects. He said morality is not necessary for the ruler. He is creator of law and morality hence price is above the both. A ruler has primary duty of preserving the state. For this purpose he may use instruments of lie, conspiracy, killings and massacre etc. Because absolute morality is neither possible nor desirable in politics. He insisted that morality is essential for people. Only moral citizens willingly obey laws of the state and sacrifice their lives for their nation. It cultivate civic sense and patriotic spirit. Thus Machiavelli prescribes double standard of morality.
6. Favoured despotic ruler:
Machiavelli did not recommend the republican form of Government, because republican form requires virtuous, honest and patriotic citizens. He also advised the prince to convert his monarchy into a republic. If his heirs are corrupt and misuse their power for evil purposes. According to Machiavelli foundation of Government is the reason of state Government is not created by God to punish men for their sin. Machiavelli says that the government is founded upon the weakness and insufficient capacity of men. If in a society men are corrupt and selfish and the law is powerless, then normal administration is not possible at all. A superior power is essential for bringing the society into order. The government with absolute power stop the excessive desires and control the behaviour of the people.
7. Maintain strong army:
He recommended constant military preparedness for the preservation of the state. Prince should organize a strong army to meet any internal and external threat to his power. Strong and regular army was must for a state for its own defense. The state try to build up its own independent, regular and faithful army. Such an army should consist of its own citizens and be prepared not only to defend its national borders but also to expand. The citizens must be trained for army service and there should be compulsory military training for all able persons.
8. Human nature is low and ungrateful, so prince must consider this nature of man:
According to Machiavelli rational analysis of politics must begin with an account of human nature, Machiavelli viewed the activities of man with special interest and explained human nature. He viewed men to be a compound of weakness, ungradeful, fear, lust for power and assumed all men are bad. Prominent traits of human nature are
(1) there is no limit to human desires. He is selfish and aggressive. Hence there is strife and competition.
(2) The masses are interested in security. They realize that only laws of the state can ensure security hence they co-operate with the state and obey the laws. Hence a ruler who wants to be successful must ensure security of life and protection of people.
(3) People must be restrained by force because force breeds fear. Only force and repression can keep control and check on the evil tendencies in man. Hence the method of government should be force and not persuasion.
(4) By nature every human being is ambitious and remains unsatisfied. No human being in content with his position. He is always after domination. The enmities and wars are the outcome of this desire. Thus human nature is selfish, power hungry, quarrelsome and guided by materialistic considerations. Only fear of punishment is a powerful bond and it never fails.
9. Should try to win popularity of his people:
Prince should try to win popularity, goodwill and affection of his people. He should keep his subjects materially contented by not taxing them. The prince should not interfere in age old customs and traditions of his people because by nature people are conservative. He should not have craving for wealth and women of his own subjects. He should keep a watchful eye on his dissidents.
10. A prince must have council of wise men and not of flatterers:
Powerful government and internal unity were essential for any state. Prince must choose wise men in his council and should give them full liberty to speak the truth to him. He must ask them about everything and hear their opinion and afterwards deliberate by himself in his own way.
11. Separate politics from religion:
Before Machiavelli medieval political philosophers believed that the religion was the basis of the state. But Machiavelli emancipated the state completely from the control of the church. He denied medieval philosophy of religion. He repudiates the theory of Aquinas that man needs the guidance of the divine law. Machiavelli said that only end which man can place before himself is the pursuit of his well being in his material values in life. He did not view the as having a moral end and purpose but gave importance to man‟s worldly life. He believed that politics is an independent activity with its own principles and laws. Moral and religions considerations cannot bind the prince, state is above and outside the religion. Machiavelli does not ignore religion and morality. In the opening chapter of the „Discourses‟ he says princes who want to maintain themselves respect all religions preserve the purity of all religions.
He said religion is useful only as an organ of the state. He gave only an instrumental value to religion. He advised the ruler that religion play important role in the life of a community. According to him religion is necessary for unity and integrity of the people within the state. Common religion creates a sense of unity among people. Religious rites, beliefs establish social harmony. It also cultivate civic sense and patriotic spirit. Decline of respect for religion among the people is a sign of ruin for the state. He said religion cannot influence politics and the church cannot control the state. In fact the sovereign state enjoys absolute power over all individuals and institutions.
As such the church is subordinate to the state. Thus Machiavelli separated religion from politics and paved way for emergence of the secular state. He was not against the religion and morality. He only propose two different standards of morality and placed the sate above morality and religion. According to Machiavelli state is the highest form of social organisation and the most necessary of all institutions. It stands on a wholly different footing and must therefore be judged by different standards. He said politics is an independent activity with its own principles and laws. State is non-religious and secular. It has its own rules of conduct to follow. Machiavelli sanctioned the use of immoral mans by the ruler whenever it was necessary to do so to save the state. Thus the separation of politics from ethics is the essence of Machiavellian.
12. Prince must be free from emotions:
Prince should exploit emotions of his people for the purpose of the state. He should be cool, calculating and opportunist. His suggestion is that a prince must know how to act as a beast.
13. Ordered state:
In “The Prince” Machiavelli advocated absolutism and an effective government. This advocacy of absolutism was due to the fact that he had witnessed anarchy, lawlessness, corruption and misrule that prevailed in Italy of his times. He had witnessed how king Charles VIII of France had captured Florence without being offered resistance. Therefore Machiavelli advocated a well-organised, ordered and militarily strong state. Without a strong state, any country had no hope of survival in international politics. He believed that an ordered state was the only security against forces of external aggression and internal chaos.