by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Prince Lies and Deceit; Manipulation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Those best at playing the fox have done better than the others. But you have to know how to disguise your slyness, how to pretend one thing and cover up another. (18.3)
The most important part of lying is making sure that no one knows that you lied. You have to be as slick as a fox.
There's a certain king today—I'd better not call him by name—who never stops preaching peace and trust and is actually sworn enemy to both; and if he had ever practised either he would have lost his authority or his kingdom many times over. (18.6)
This almost sounds like a roast, where you praise someone by saying how horrible he is. We all know that the "certain king" is Ferdinand of Spain. He doesn't practice what he preaches, and that seems to be working out pretty well for him.
So he introduced an independent body, parliament, that could keep the nobles in their place and protect the people without the king's being responsible. There really couldn't be a better or more sensible institution, nor one more conducive to the security of the king and the realm. This prompts the following reflection: that a ruler must get others to carry out policies that will provoke protest, keeping those that inspire gratitude to himself. (19.7)
It wasn't me, it was the one-armed man! Always have a scapegoat, Machiavelli says. Always have someone else to blame.