"Nothing more difficult"

Giving My Bones to the Western LandsIf you quote Machiavelli you will place yourself in a difficult and exposed position. People will think that you are inspired of, or worse, practise the suggested techniques. Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian Niccolò Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" almost 500 years ago, which was first published in 1532. He mastered the subject matter. "It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them." The book is controversial and debated. It was written as an instruction guide for new princes and royals. Some argue that it only describes real politics. Others argue that it's a manual in the exercise of power, where the ends always justifies the means. Machiavelli acknowledged that goodness and virtue existed, but these cannot provide any guidelines for governance, at least not in politics. There are two main "Machiavellian" techniques, which are so effective that they have survived into our days. First, a prince, is wise to punish rebels against the realm fiercly even after they have surrendered; not primarly because they deserve that punishment, but rather because when they are seen to be so punished, it will deter others from undertaking similar actions, ultimately securing the stability. A modern example, when a new boss removes a critical subordinate manager to keep the other managers in line. Second, to use proxies and let them act on behalf of the prince for unpleasant deeds; these people whom the prince can later turn on and punish for performing those very deeds. The dirty work of politics should be done by others who later can be blamed for it. A modern example, when a boss keeps a proxy between himself and the problem. When problems arise the proxy can be sacrified like a pawn in a chess game. Contrary to popular belief, people will not suspect that the boss is operating in the shadows. The word "Machiavellian" has become a synonym for evilness. As with almost any bold claim, there are nuances. Things have changed since Machiavelli wrote his book, but not as much as you think. You just have to look for the signs. 

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