Machiavelli vs. George W. Bush
Machiavelli Vs. George W. Bush The Bush Administration was a very controversial topic after the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. While some people said, “It was the right thing to do,” others believed it was an outrage, and blamed Bush’s ideas on former, dictator-like philosophers. Niccolo Machiavelli was a famous political philosopher, who was in my opinion, the most similar to the Bush Administration. Machiavellis’ ideas on civil liberties, what government is supposed to provide and protect against, sovereignty, and how public morality and private interest intersect in deciding who makes policy is very similar to Bush.
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a story, The Prince, which had drastically changed his view in political leadership. After the terrorist attacks Bush also had a drastic change in political views. Bush went from focusing on health care and taxes, to preventing terrorist attacks, going to war, and creating agencies to help the U. S stay safe. Bush took drastic steps to protect the homeland and its interests abroad.
He created a new cabinet-level agency, the Department of Homeland Security; this consolidated 20 agencies under one cabinet umbrella. President Bush believed that “helping to build free and prosperous societies (including Afghanistan and Iraq), the U. S and its allies would succeed in making America more secure and the world more peaceful” (u-s-history. com, 18). Bush also proposed a very controversial Patriot Act, which had given the intelligence and law enforcement communities powerful tools to enhance their anti-terrorism mandate.
Machiavelli believed that “The Prince should have constant readiness for war,” and that “it is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed with obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe among armed servants” (pg. 151, 1c, 2p, Ebenstein). The Patriot Act was controversial manly because the increased surveillance and investigation capabilities seemed to go against some of our guaranteed rights of the Constitution.
Machiavelli had two goals for his story, one, to get back into government work and two, a call for stability of an Italian nation state (free from religious or secular foreign rule). The Bush administration countered that under the threat of terrorist attacks in American cities and against American interests worldwide, previous defensive tactics were inadequate. Offensive action in the form of intelligence gathering and pre-emptive strikes against threatening regimes were deemed appropriate under the circumstances. Machiavelli believed in only two types of governments; monarchies, and republics.
Tyranny is included in monarchy and is a ruler’s virtue to adapting to the situation (lion and fox). The masses are happy with the arrangement because they are either awed or scared by the tyrant. Republics based on law, governed with the interest of most citizens, all classes have a chance of serving in government; conflict between classes- deflect individual ambition. In Machiavelli’s eyes, Bush is portrayed more of a Republican. Machiavelli strongly believed it was safer to be feared rather than loved. Power must be the main positive concept in a Prince.
He urges princes not to help others, be stingy, cruel, deceptive, and to get others to do the dirty work so they can escape blame, yet he doesn’t believe in neither good nor evil. His mindset is very confusing, and very contradictory. Machiavelli strongly followed the story of Cesare Borgia de Orco and how he used violence as a means of attaining individual ends. Right after this Machiavelli reveals that he “condemns those who use violence to destroy governments even as he praises those “founders” who establish strong monarchies and republics.