Morality and Ethics Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
As for failings that wouldn't lead to his losing power, he should avoid them if he can; but if he can't, he needn't worry too much. (15.3)
What is the difference between failings that would make a ruler lose power and those that wouldn't? And does it even matter?
In ancient times writers used fables to teach their leaders this lesson: they tell how Achilles and many other leaders were sent to the centaur Chiron to be fed and brought up under his discipline. This story of having a teacher who was half-man and half-beast obviously meant that a ruler had to be able to draw on both natures. If he had only one, he wouldn't survive. (18.2)
At the time, it would have been pretty controversial for Machiavelli to give us carte blanche to get in touch with our wild side. For that matter, it's still controversial today, except maybe for contestants on reality TV shows.
So, a leader doesn't have to possess all the virtuous qualities I've mentioned, but it's absolutely imperative that he seem to possess them. (18.5)
"Seem," "appear," "display": these are some of Machiavelli's favorite words and they tip us off that all the morals and ethics of these rulers are just façades.