Machiavelli and the Decay of Western Civilization

Paul Eidelberg, NATIVE

Machiavelli is the father of Modernity and Democracy and the creator of Secular Man par excellence. His deceptively simple book The Prince, so often trivialized, marks the Copernican revolution in politics.1 In that sibylline work Machiavelli undertook the world-historical task of destroying nothing less than the two pillars of Western civilization, classical Greek philosophy and Christianity, whose ethics, whether derived from Nature or nature’s God, derogate from the complete autonomy of human will and desire.

The key to modernity will be found in Chapter 15 of The Prince.2 There Machiavelli lists ten pairs of qualities for which men, especially rulers, are praised or blamed – qualities which a ruler, “if he wishes to maintain himself,” must be able to “use” and “not use” “according to necessity.”3 Some rulers, he declares, “are held liberal, some miserly…[and/or] rapacious; some cruel, others full of pity; the one faithless, the other faithful; the one effeminate and pusillanimous, the other fierce and spirited; the one human, the other proud; the one lascivious, the other chaste; the one open, the other cunning; the one hard, the other easy; the one grave, the other light; the one religious, the other skeptical, and the like.” CONTINUE

June 4, 2007 | Comments Off on Machiavelli and the Decay of Western Civilization

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