It is my intention to discuss Thucydides' assumptions of war and human na... ... middle of paper ... ...sm, the security dilemma is never fully advanced as an adequate explanation of Athenian imperialism. Thucydides included human impulses such as self-interest and honour, rooted in human nature, as the necessary basis for the law of nature that the strong will dominate the weak. Combined, the expansion of power driven by honour, self-interest and the security dilemma "makes for a much more virulent realism," making the possibility of any common good remote, but not impossible. Thucydides emphasises the importance individual motivations have on political events and decisions; personal ambitions and fears have influence and are a driving force. However, he also highlights that man is morally aware, that he controls his own actions despite the permanent condition of his nature, and that rational action combines morality with expediency, not necessity with expediency.
Each definition has its strengths and weaknesses, but often is the culmination of the writer's broader philosophical positions. For example, the notion that wars only involve states-as Clausewitz implies-belies a strong political theory that assumes politics can only involve states and that war is in some manner or form a reflection of political activity. 'War' defined by Webster's Dictionary is a state of open and declared, hostile armed conflict between states or nations, or a period of such conflict. This captures a particularly political-rationalistic account of war and warfare, i.e., that war needs to be explicitly declared and to be between states to be a war. We find Rousseau arguing this position: "War is constituted by a relation between things, and not between persons…War then is a relation, not between man and man, but between State and State…" (The Social Contract).
Perhaps the most distinct differences between Machiavelli's and Lao-Tzu's are their beliefs in how a government should be run. Whereas Machiavelli writes about the qualities a prince should have while instilling a totalitarian government, Lao-Tzu strongly believes that one cannot have total control, so everything should run its course. Machiavelli believes that a government should be very structured, controlled, and powerful. He makes it known that the only priorities of a prince are war, the institutions, and discipline. His writings describes how it is more important for a prince to be practical than moral.
There is nothing worse than obtaining the detestation of the people, and ultimately losing control of power. When it comes to leadership, one was must be feared, but also gain the respect of those around him. When a ruler is worried about their constituents, this allows vulnerability to seep in and control their thoughts. An individual in power does not need love to oversee and direct others, however, there is nothing wrong with being admired and respected as a leader. Machiavelli’s explanations throughout the book easily sway one into believing that he is supporting violence and aggression as crucial to maintaining power.
Machiavelli approaches the topic of political morality in a completely different way than many of the thinkers that preceded him. Instead of beginning with the way things should be under ideal conditions, he goes straight for reality and observes what he believes to be brutality and savagery being played out in politics. Machiavelli reasons that politics is war, no matter which way you cut it. ?Thus, you must know that there are two kinds of combat: one with laws, the other with force. The first is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first is often not enough, one must have recourse to the second.?
However, if a Prince is such martyr, that would mean a new Prince is in power and could instill far worse conditions upon the people. Therefore, with his subjects as the top priority, morality demands that the Prince must stay alive and allow the people to prosper under his free monarchy. Machiavelli’s Prince is a book in which Machiavelli outlines the actions a Prince must take to hold and maintain power in a principality. Within the context of the book, Machiavelli brings forth the notion that prudent violence must be done in order to maintain the throne. In addition, he strongly expresses the ideology that a Prince can not be both moral and political.
The state is founded on the power of its military. Therefore, a strong military is vital to maintaining the state. Machiavelli believes that men respect power, but they will take advantage of kindness. He believes that when given the opportunity one must destroy completely, because if one does not he will certainly be destroyed. The prince should lead the military, and he has to be intelligent.
Aside from extreme cases, just wars do not have legitimate reasons for reaching beyond this goal, including the replacing of the aggressor’s... ... middle of paper ... ...f becoming aggressors themselves. As Walzer points out, the Kuwait regime that US intervention restored to power was little better for the Kuwait people than their Iraqi invaders. However, the ultimate fate of this regime was placed back in the hands of the Kuwaiti people disregarding our attempt at improvement. Reading this book was both uplifting, in that Walzer does an excellent job of developing a framework to understanding what should and should not be done during wartime, as well as depressing, in realizing that war will only evolve and forever exist. The limits that a ‘just’ war places on the use of aggression between states for both states and individuals, according to Walzer, offers a rational and moral way of perceiving modern warfare.
These themes ranged from human nature to military force and most importantly virtue. Machavelli believed that the state is the highest achievement of man and one should love the state more than his own soul. Being the perfect prince is clearly a difficult task, but if done correctly, it can be very rewarding. Machiavelli also believed that human nature does not change. In general Machiavelli thought people were ungrateful, selfish, and insincere people, who only care about themselves.
A Prince must be strong, use violence and force, and be cunning. Machiavelli made a huge transition from the Platonic idea of the ideal leader when he presented the strong, dominant, conservative leader who valued violence and deceit to win over subjects. "Rulers should be truthful, keep promises, and the like when doing so will not harm the state, and that they should generally appear to have the traditional virtues. But since the goal of the ruler is to conquer and preserve the state, he should not shrink from wrongdoing when the preservation of the state requires this." (Abrams) He also dislike the fact that Plato created theories of what the ideal society should be along with its leader and wanted to focus more on how the world really functioned.