Machiavelli's Ultimate Thesis: Do You Agree?

Is it better for a leader to be feared or loved?


  • Total voters
    21

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,584
Las Vegas, NV USA
#11
Fear and hate are two different emotions but often go together. The trick for an authoritarian ruler is to inspire a healthy respect for his/her authority with a minimum of hatred among the ruled. Perhaps it's better that some people just disappear rather than a public burning.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,489
Australia
#12
While I have never been the leader of a nation, as Chief Petty Officer in the navy I have had some experience with leadership. If a leader rules by fear he will get only the bare minimum cooperation that will keep his subordinates out of trouble and when the chance comes these subordinates will happily make him look bad.

However if a leader treats his people fairly and shows an interest in them beyond seeing them as simply tools to be used he can inspire them to to their utmost to get the job done and they will have your back if things get tough.

The same applies to running a country.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
12,538
#13
First of all a ruler ruling millions or even hundreds of millions would mean that different people would have different opinions ranging from one extreme to the other (i.e. the same leader could be loved by some and hated by others and everything in between)...

Second some leaders managed to be both loved and feared at the same time by the same people (Stalin comes to mind)...

So Machiavelli's statement is rather senselles
 
Aug 2015
2,248
uk
#15
George Orwell would disagree. It is not enough to fear or to obey ; one must believe and love to have ultimate control.

It's easy to make people fear you and much harder to make them love ypu. Not the pretend, fair weather kind of love, but the kind that makes you willing to die for them; and believe that they would do the same for you.

The problem with fear is that you constantly have to wield it; as soon as you give an inch, it will br taken - and more besides. Real love is not conditional , it's not temporary.

Would you rather be married to someone who loved you or who feared you? Would you rather have a personal bodyguard who did the job through love or through fear? As a citizen would you rather have a ruler who you loved or who you feared?

There are many instances of battles being won by a force who are prepared to die for their countries vs mercenaries who will run the minute the money stops coming?
 
Aug 2015
2,248
uk
#16
While I have never been the leader of a nation, as Chief Petty Officer in the navy I have had some experience with leadership. If a leader rules by fear he will get only the bare minimum cooperation that will keep his subordinates out of trouble and when the chance comes these subordinates will happily make him look bad.

However if a leader treats his people fairly and shows an interest in them beyond seeing them as simply tools to be used he can inspire them to to their utmost to get the job done and they will have your back if things get tough.

The same applies to running a country.

Some great points and I agree. As an officer going into battle, I would much rather be surrounded by 500 men who would follow me through affection than in command of a 1000 who hated my guts.
 
Jun 2013
6,340
USA
#17
George Orwell would disagree. It is not enough to fear or to obey ; one must believe and love to have ultimate control.

It's easy to make people fear you and much harder to make them love ypu. Not the pretend, fair weather kind of love, but the kind that makes you willing to die for them; and believe that they would do the same for you.

The problem with fear is that you constantly have to wield it; as soon as you give an inch, it will br taken - and more besides. Real love is not conditional , it's not temporary.

Would you rather be married to someone who loved you or who feared you? Would you rather have a personal bodyguard who did the job through love or through fear? As a citizen would you rather have a ruler who you loved or who you feared?

There are many instances of battles being won by a force who are prepared to die for their countries vs mercenaries who will run the minute the money stops coming?

That's a fair point, but Big Brother had plenty of fear. It's just that fear motivated their love.
 
Sep 2017
109
Pennsylvania
#18
I notice no one has pointed out that a lot of influential political philosophers have characterized The Prince as a work of Satire.

Jean-Jacques Rosseau, Leo Strauss and Harvey Mansfield to name a few.

Given that the book was written almost immediately after Machiavelli spent three weeks being tortured by the Medici I think the individuals who suggest it to be satire have a pretty solid argument.
 

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