Safer to be feared than loved. XVII. Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved or Feared. Machiavelli, Niccolo. 1909 2019-01-16

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Why is it better to be feared than loved according to Machiavelli?

safer to be feared than loved

For instance, even though he discusses at length the times when violence is a necessary evil, he does not condone wholesale cruelty at all times. Forced to make a choice, it is much better to be feared than loved. He had no use for ignorance, stupidity and laziness, either. It is undoubtedly necessary for the ambassador occasionally to mask his game; but it should be done so as not to awaken suspicion and he ought also to be prepared with an answer in case of discovery. A few sharp examples of well-used cruelty or meanness, as he described in Chapter 8, are all that is necessary; no need to overdo it.

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Chapter 17

safer to be feared than loved

Let me quote another famous passage of The Prince, which speaks about the relation between fortune and virtue: I hold that it could be true that fortune is the arbiter of half of actions, but that she still leaves the other half, or close to it, to be governed by us. The two activities Machiavelli recommends practicing to prepare for war are physical and mental. Campaigns asking for buy-in, asking for compliance are usually just preaching to the converted. They both used military power to overcome the people's rights. He must endeavour only to avoid being hated.

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What can you learn from Machiavelli?

safer to be feared than loved

First of all, it is much easier to become feared that to become loved. Too much fear — set the fines too high, the punishments too strong — and you get resistance and overt disobedience. A prince should command respect through his conduct, because a prince that is highly respected by his people is unlikely to face internal struggles. Acts of war and killing change any situation, if only for the moment, and in another context, what holds supporters in place, of course, is ultimately always coercion. People surrounding you would not gather around without displeasure, but would rather want to mingle with you.

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Connect, Then Lead

safer to be feared than loved

Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you. The Alchemist: What a masterpiece by Paolo Cuehlo. For the friendships which we buy with a price, and do not gain by greatness and nobility of character, though they be fairly earned are not made good, but fail us when we have occasion to use them. This shows that society responds more obediently to fear than to love. These factors change the preference for using fear or love.

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Chapter 17

safer to be feared than loved

In terms of subject matter it overlaps with the much longer , which was written a few years later. We get an unambivalent answer to that question in chapter 17 of The Prince. In contrast, if the subjects fear the ruler, that fear will act as a stronger guarantee of support: a ruler that is feared will be supported out of fear of what lack of support will lead to. After his defeat at , these comments were found in the emperor's coach and taken by the Prussian military. From this arises the changes in their fortunes; for as men desire, some to have more, some in fear of losing their acquisition, there ensues enmity and war, from which results the ruin of that province and the elevation of another. After all, almost everyone has heard it in one way or another.


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The Prince

safer to be feared than loved

The Prince is a sustained attempt to define, in the most realistic terms possible, the sort of virtue that a prince must possess if he wants to succeed in achieving his objectives. Ultimately, the decision should be made by the prince and carried out absolutely. On the contrary, showing compassion puts people in danger of being considered weak and vulnerable. Hence Virgil, through the mouth of Dido, excuses the inhumanity of her reign owing to its being new, saying: Res dura, et regni novitas me talia cogunt Moliri, et late fines custode tueri. She fights against ghosts of what she wishes to be and against what she really is, kicking and screaming all the way.


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Safer to be Feared than Loved in The Prince Essay

safer to be feared than loved

However, being loved can harm the person who is being loved. Prudence consists in knowing how to distinguish the character of troubles, and for choice to take the lesser evil. Ultimately, a philosophy must be judged by its practical consequences. Besides, pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun to live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others; but reasons for taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult to find and sooner lapse. For it may be said of men in general that they are ungrateful, voluble, dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger, and covetous of gain; as long as you benefit them, they are entirely yours; they offer you their blood, their goods, their life, and their children, as I have before said, when the necessity is remote; but when it approaches, they revolt.

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Machiavelli: The Prince: Chapter XVII

safer to be feared than loved

Borgia won over the allegiance of the Orsini brothers' followers with better pay and prestigious government posts. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding, his cruelty reconciled the Romagna, unified it, and restored it to peace and loyalty. Modern philosophy developed in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, starting in the generations after Machiavelli. He argued that mistreatment of people would not win loyalty, trust, or obedience, and these were necessary for the ruler to be successful. Virtually any action that contributes to the overall goal of maintaining control of the state is acceptable to him. In The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli goes into depth about how it is better to be feared than loved. On the other hand, people judged as warm but incompetent tend to elicit pity, which also involves a mix of emotions: Compassion moves us to help those we pity, but our lack of respect leads us ultimately to neglect them think of workers who become marginalized as they near retirement or of an employee with outmoded skills in a rapidly evolving industry.

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