The 16th Century’s version of the Colbert Report

27 Jan

“A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.”
Niccolo Machiavelli


I’ve made a lot of assumptions in my life, like thinking a rich man can get into heaven. Then I do something as simple as reading the Bible and learn he can’t.

Another assumption of mine was that Niccolo Machiavelli, author of “The Prince,” was a heartless cutthroat who would do anything to get ahead. “The ends justify the means” is how high school teachers summarize the book’s message. I recently read it (way too late) and don’t think that’s in there. To me, Machiavelli is a man whose spirit is wounded and disappointed by humanity’s inability to be human.

He recommends extreme harshness as a way to attain and keep power, but this comes across as a combination of satire and sarcasm. Machiavelli was the Colbert Report of his day, but no one seems to have gotten the joke.

At the end of “The Prince” the writing turns true and the author sadly pleads, begs even, for a savior who can unite and free Italy from foreign rule. Tears practically drip off the page.

I would love to hear from one other person who sees this great man as I. Without some small affirmation I’ll have to assume I am wrong.

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