18. Oct, 2017


This is a repeat of an article I wrote three years ago in the early days of the Trump Presidency suggesting the origin of his approach to politics.  Was I right, or was I right?

Born in 1469 and dying in 1527 in Florence, Italy, Niccolo Machivelli was a Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer.
As some of you will have noticed from my diary, I have spent time re-reading his work “The Prince.” Although I do not think a certain allegedly visually- educated President will have done the same , I am totally convinced that his advisors will have done so.
Why not read through the following Macchiavellian maxims and check off the ones you recognise?

It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

Any and all weaknesses can be used against you, and in conflict, will be. As such, weaponise your weaknesses by making them known; hide them in plain sight. Wear your weaknesses like armour, flaunt them, and you deprive your opponents the use of ammunition that would otherwise discredit you.

If weakness is speculated, deny it. If weakness is known, spin it. If it is directly observed, dismiss it. Should it look profitable, leverage it for status in the victimhood hierarchy.
Do not defend against your attackers, attack them; justification is a Machiavellian fallacy. Do not justify, stipulate.

The only difference between the toxic and the unlucky is the unlucky bring you down inadvertently, avoid both.

Everything is war in a different set of clothing. Love, business, politics, wherever there are competing interests there is a battlefield, and wherever there is a battlefield, there is war.

When things fall apart, be ready for total war.

Lust of all kinds begets deceit, desire is good until it isn’t.

Machiavellianism is the art of wielding power, how it’s wielded is determined by the wielder’s morality or lack thereof. Don’t blame the strategy, blame the soul of its employer.

Machiavellianism does not determine one’s morals, one’s morals determine the use of Machiavellianism. He who believes he is too moral for Machiavellianism is no more moral than he is an idiot.

When people don’t like you, their questions are attacks. Sometimes these attacks are disguised as concerns, other times they are blatant. Whenever you’re asked a question, gauge the legitimacy of the question. Insincere questions must be met with insincere answers, if any answer at all.

Do not trust those who overwhelm you with questions. They may simply be very curious, but it is more likely they are searching for dents in your armour. The line between curiosity and interrogation is thin, and people do not wear uniforms.

Doubling down on your position or ignoring the challenge usually beats an apology.
Ignore your ignorer. To ignore your ignorer is to enter a war of most silent attrition. Who will speak first when silence is golden? Whoever speaks first loses. Whoever speaks first admits they need the other more, no matter what plausible deniability they may retroactively invoke to disguise the fact.

Where bullying fails, charm succeeds and where charm fails, bullying succeeds. One should substitute in hard power when soft power fails and vice versa.

People are enticed by the allure of circumvention, operating outside the rules carries its own thrill. People feel good when they get away with things.

Being charming is the result of happiness or success, not of virtue. It is amusing that people oft fail to make this distinction, they conflate charm with virtue. As a matter of prudence, the more charming, the more dangerous.

Whether you realise it or not, the powerful are always testing, always evaluating. They yield milligrams of respect only to those who consistently pass their evaluations; a fluke of success will not earn you their respect, it’ll get you a glance.

People don’t want to be betrayed, but most will betray if it suits them to; the standard of morality people demand of others is higher than that which they demand of themselves. The coldest psychopath will demand the deepest altruism and the most devout loyalty, beware cultishness then.

Interpretation is always perverted to suit the agenda of the interpreter, whoever controls the flow of interpretation dominates.

Trust the average woman as much as you trust your government, occasionally there’s a good candidate, most aren’t worth your vote.

Strong personalities hate the weak and distrust the strong. A man who considers himself a king rarely wants to share the room with another.

There’s a lot of freedom in stupidity, playing dumb is oft profitable.

Appraise a rule by its worth. Do not defy a rule for the sake of defiance. Some rules protect the ruled, others protect rulers – distinguish.

We’re all players in a game. You’re a player or a piece on the board, you move or you’re moved. You play the game, or the game plays you.

You can’t not play the game. You don’t beat the game by denying the game; death’s the only escape from the game. Until then, play well to live well.

Charm beats more aggressive manipulations when dealing with the perceptive. The perceptive like being charmed, their awareness of the seduction does not negate its effect.

Anything you say can be twisted to make you look bad, and it will be, because that’s power. It’s how hearts and minds are won, politicians and the mass media do it for a living – neither is starving.

The secretiveness of privacy drives people mad, even if there is nothing to hide, the reluctance to reveal creates suspicion. To ensure the safety of a secret, the existence of the secret must be kept secret. As soon as somebody becomes aware of a secret they know not the nature of, they will be compelled to unearth it at any cost, thus threatening the secret.

The difference between an interview and an interrogation is merely a matter of perception, all interviews are a collection of shit tests.

When you are being interrogated and don’t realise it, the topic will rapidly change in order to determine what you’re most uncomfortable with. This topic will then be focused on, I call this vulnerability reconnaissance.

You nearly always learn more about somebody in an informal setting than you would a formal one. Paranoia and thus mental defences are greater in formal settings, to truly get to know somebody you must mingle informally. Of course, as much as this opens them up, it opens you up too.

If you want someone to implement your ideas, it’s better to make them think your idea is theirs. Plant the seed, give them credit for your thinking, and they’ll believe their repetition of your idea makes it their creation.

The quickest way to gain people’s trust is to help them.

Liking animals and being religious creates an appearance of uprightness, people of ill-nature wear these appearances to disarm through disguise.

People don’t dislike being tricked, they hate realising they were tricked. Tell lies that cannot or will not be investigated.

Be magnanimous to friends, civil to strangers and ruthless to foes; furthermore, know who’s who.

So of the 38 maxims here quoted, how many apply to the conduct of the latest incumbent of the White House?

Scholars have long been divided over Macchiavelli’s motives. Was he the first political scientist analysing what had happened? Was his work one big satire? Was he offering earnest advice?
“The Prince” is a short book so why not tackle it yourself? It is certainly a searchlight brought to bear on many a dark matter.