Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, Page 505


On Machiavelli:

“The Prince is concerned to discover, from history and from contemporary events, how principalities are won, how they are held and how they are lost. Fifteenth century Italy afforded a multitude of examples, both great and small.

“Few rulers were legitimate; even the popes, in many cases, secured election by corrupt means. The rules for achieving success were not quite the same as they became when times grew more settled, for no one was shocked by cruelties and treacheries which would have disqualified a man in the eighteenth or the nineteenth century.

“Perhaps our age, again, can better appreciate Machiavelli, for some of the most notable successes of our time have been achieved by methods as base as any employed in Renaissance Italy.

“(Machiavelli) would have applauded, as an artistic connoisseur of statecraft, Hitler’s Reichstag fire, his purge of the party in 1934 and his breach of faith after Munich.”


Filed under: Overheard

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment