Respect and Reputation Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
Then if you do try to defend yourself from flatterers you run the risk of having people despise you. Because the only way to guard against flattery is to have people understand that you don't mind them telling you the truth. But when anyone and everyone can tell you the truth, you lose respect. (23.1)
Remember the story of the emperor with no clothes? No one said anything, because they didn't want to die. Back in the day it was dangerous business to tell the king the truth. Machiavelli is saying that rulers still want most people to feel this way, but that they need to keep around a few people who will make sure they don't head out the door without any clothes on.