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Thread: My daughter is reading Machiavelli's "The Prince"

  1. #1
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    My daughter is reading Machiavelli's "The Prince"

    I look forward to some discussions!

    For those who think it's not "gun-related":

    The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms...

    Rome and Sparta stood for many ages armed and free. The Switzers are completely armed and quite free.
    Not that Niccolò was a fan of democracy; but he saw what he saw.

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    I'm reading that right now too. Interesting stuff! I gotta look up a lot of stuff for historical context.

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    One of my favorites. I read it twice when assigned, and several times again in college and for a few years later. My copy disintegrated 20 years ago or more, but I still think of some of the principals he espouses -- as recently as yesterday, in fact, I quoted him in a business meeting.
    Paul
    People have some respect for the complexity of technology. But almost every ignorant fool thinks he understands money and economics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loosedhorse View Post
    I look forward to some discussions!

    For those who think it's not "gun-related":

    Not that Niccolò was a fan of democracy; but he saw what he saw.

    I contend, maintain and accuse that forcing a child to read Machiavelli, Sun Tzu or von Clausewitz is a form of child abuse!!!! Not to mention a direct violation of the "Government Knows Best" act of 2000!

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    Are you familiar with the writings of Xiang Yu?
    Cogito me cogitare; ergo, cogito me esse.

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    No--poetry mostly, isn't it?

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    Sun Tzu is a little difficult for an adolescent, and I think von Clausewitz is almost unreadable in English. I don't read German so I don't know if it's the translation or his writing.

    Machiavelli, not so bad in a good translation. And it's a short book.
    Paul
    People have some respect for the complexity of technology. But almost every ignorant fool thinks he understands money and economics.

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    My understanding is that The Prince was written tongue-in-cheek to anger the Medici's. Machiavelli was a devoted Republican who was imprisoned and tortured by the Medici family. Most of the dirty tricks in the book were written to illustrate how the Medici's maintained power, and not at all as a guide to good government.

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    I've heard that, KB -- I also heard he wrote it to curry favor and avoid further confrontation. Perhaps, both... thinking they may not catch the sarcasm.

    Hundreds of years removed, who knows for sure, but it's entertaining and there is some very practical advice on some things.

    The one that has stuck with me all these years is -- when you have bad news or impose a negative condition, do it all at once. When you have good news or are dispensing favors, spread it out a little at a time. People remember the event more than the size of the good....

    Perhaps the first political spin doctor.
    Paul
    People have some respect for the complexity of technology. But almost every ignorant fool thinks he understands money and economics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmeisel View Post

    Perhaps the first political spin doctor.
    First published spin doctor. History is overloaded with political spin, do you really think the Romans allowed Jesus to be condemned to the cross by the Jews out of some sense of local authority?

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    It is arms-related, though The Prince couldn't be cited for literary support of an individual citizen's self-defense; Of polities united, called to arms, against the Turk or against Charles VIII and successors, it's more like a precursor to the 'well-regulated militia in defense of the State'-component of the RKBA. His heroes, a duke and a bishop, brothers, figuring prominently in the increased militarization of the condotierri (mercenaries) and citizens during wars of and between and amongst the city/papal-polities, and alleged often to have maimed and killed in response to bare insult (even one has been alleged to have murdered the other).

    As far as 'lessons learned', my though is that it may be cited in figures of speech, today, to validate, or indict, behavior, sometimes in the same way as folks cite Darwin, or, in asking, "Who's John Galt?". Expediency? Disbelief and resignation? I'm conflicted. He certainly observed behavior, posed questions, and left 'meaning' susceptible to alternatives, and the literary folks still argue about 'intent' and 'motivation'. 'Republican' may equate to 'anti-imperialism' at the same time that the term implies acceptance of an absolute despot in a city-state. The son of a republican family, living 'under' the authority of Lorenzo aka the Magnificent, a despot of Florence, naturally, would support a Borgia pope, with designs for a church likened to an imperial authority? An indictment? A love letter?

    His work, apparently plagiarized without objection, was published, and banned, some years after his death. Was it censure for the vague and measured personal indictments? Were his heroes simply revisited, and found wanting, or out of fashion? Was it simply one work on a growing list of censures?

    Highly 'informational', nonetheless, and as Pat said, a great point of departure for reading more about 15th-16th century Italian history. He surveys 'forms' of 'governance' against the backdrop of city-state politics and the Italian wars. More 'politics' and 'governance' than 'war'. For 'war', some consulted with Da Vinci.

    The Art of War and On War, by comparison, came from folks for whom 'war was war was war'.

    Sun Tzu's work is a nice read, of a different type. A different rhythm. Makes me feel dumb, reading verses over and over again. Sometimes self-evident stuff is like that.

    Now, Von Clausewitz .... that's straightforward. An encyclopedia. Presumptuous, but straightforward. Haven't read the whole book, but much of it, and, fortunately, General Von Clausewitz provided an efficient table of organization. Never intended as a 'cover-to-cover' read.

    Great writing, all of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl N. Brown View Post
    Are you familiar with the writings of Xiang Yu?
    Sadistic crap legitimized by florid prose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl N. Brown View Post
    Are you familiar with the writings of Xiang Yu?
    Shiny.
    Rule 37: There is no "overkill". There is only "Open fire", and "I need to reload".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl N. Brown View Post
    Are you familiar with the writings of Xiang Yu?

    Actually no, my Dad did take pity on me from time to time.

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    Are you familiar with the writings of Xiang Yu?
    Sun Tzu is a little difficult for an adolescent
    Are Xiang Yu and Sun Tzu somehow related?

    I am familiar with On War and The Art of War, yet these seem far afield from the "civics" chapters of The Prince. I though perhaps Plato's Republic might be closer in many ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl N. Brown View Post
    Are you familiar with the writings of Xiang Yu?
    To really get to know a man you must torture him by making him read Machiavelli, Sun Tzu or von Clausewitz
    Governments don't live together. People live together.

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    To really get to know a man you must torture him by making him read Machiavelli, Sun Tzu or von Clausewitz
    Hmmm. When my son was in high school, he requested for Christmas Sun Tsu's Art of War and Miyamoto Musashi's Go Rin no Sho (Book of Five Rings). I am willing to bet that he has read the others that you mention as well.

    Do you think he might be a masochist?
    “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.”
    — Thomas Sowell

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    Quote Originally Posted by cambeul41 View Post
    Hmmm. When my son was in high school, he requested for Christmas Sun Tsu's Art of War and Miyamoto Musashi's Go Rin no Sho (Book of Five Rings). I am willing to bet that he has read the others that you mention as well.

    Do you think he might be a masochist?
    Just a little on the strange side.

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    Indeed, one of my sons read both while in high school. He didn't have to ask for them as they were on my six foot military history bookshelf. I think they may have affected his career choice.
    Paul
    People have some respect for the complexity of technology. But almost every ignorant fool thinks he understands money and economics.

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    I remember that for a time that The Book of Five Rings was very popular in business schools, for either negotiations or strategy. I wonder if it was popular in gov schools, too.

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    Lest we forget the context of the Asian literature:

    Sun Tzu, challenged by his king to conscript concubines, killed his 'first 2' ladies to ensure discipline in the company, and Xiang Yu was fond of boiling his detractors alive.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Stories_(Firefly)#Plot

    Sadistic crap legitimized by florid prose
    Governments don't live together. People live together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loosedhorse View Post
    I remember that for a time that The Book of Five Rings was very popular in business schools, for either negotiations or strategy. I wonder if it was popular in gov schools, too.
    The howler about this is that its popularity was due to an entirely tongue-in-cheek article in, if I remember right, the Wall Street Journal. Dude said that the japanese were kicking our @$$es in business because they'd all read the Go Rin No Sho. Thousands of businessmen got their legs most thoroughly pulled.
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    Cookie for TallPine, and another for 3fgburner.

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