In school, we came to know about Niccolo Machiavelli through his extremely popular statement, “The end justifies the means” (Machiavelli n.p.). Due to the unsavory reputation that has hounded Niccolo Machiavelli, the terminology Machiavellian is now utilized to describe a leadership style that is shrewd/cunning, deceiving/to be regarded with suspicion, as well as, ruthless/cold-blooded; a kind of leadership which is actually instituted upon “power politics” (Machiavelli n.p.).
Political Action is an End Itself
Furthermore, for some individuals who have read Machiavelli’s thoughts and ideas, they consider him as a “negative person”, sometimes he is even addressed as “somebody who is upholding evil and sin” (Machiavelli n.p.). In fact, the church considers him as immoral, unethical, and even evil (Machiavelli n.p.). This is because politics for Machiavelli should be taken as something which should not be blended with topics of religion, morality, as well as, ethics since politics he says is instituted upon its own value system (Machiavelli n.p.).
For him, to evaluate political actions basing on religion or ethical standards is actually unwarranted (Machiavelli n.p.). Moreover, Machiavelli states that the end of the state is the acquirement/getting hold of, preservation, as well as, development/growth of authority/political power (Machiavelli n.p.). Comparing it to the other critical thinkers of the Machiavellian world, Machiavelli just do not consider this as “a means to an end” but an end in itself (Machiavelli n.p.). What he is saying is that if an act that’s motivated by politics leads to acquirement/getting hold of, preservation, as well as, development/growth of authority/political power then it is reasonable, understandable, and acceptable as well (Machiavelli n.p.).
Similarities of Machiavelli and Bush
This is where President Bush connects with Niccolo Machiavelli, President Bush believes that by annihilating the ruler, for instance, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, he will be able to strengthen his hold and power and to bring about unity in the state and since that is the case, like Machiavelli, he believes that his action is justifiable (Thompson n.p).
In addition to that, President Bush like Machiavelli feels that since they are the type of rulers who planned to get the better of, and to safeguard the state, then they will be eternally judged to be praiseworthy and be commended by everyone (Machiavelli n.p.).
Last but not least, since Machiavelli believes that a ruler has to be cruel and ruthless if he has to; Bush patterned his attitude on that as well (Thompson n.p). He declared a war against Iraq which annihilated two hundred Americans working for the U.S. Armed Forces (Thompson n.p). Furthermore, his declaration also caused the death of countless Iraqi civilians, of which several are women and children (Thompson n.p).
Added to that is the fact that such a war costs one hundred billion dollars, which if spent back home then will surely benefit more who are starving and are suffering from poverty (Thompson n.p). All of the above-mentioned entails a great deal of cruelty which should not at all occur in the first place (Machiavelli n.p.). However, because, President Bush thinks that all these political actions he took are bound to cause the state to unite, then declaring a war even if it would cause countless deaths is still right and should not be negated or objected upon (Machiavelli n.p.).
Simply put, both President Bush and Machiavelli are similar basically on how they rule; to them, cruelty is justified as long as it will unite their state in the end (Machiavelli n.p.).
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. 1505. n.a. 16 April 2008.
Thompson, Robert. n.d. n.a. 16 April 2008.