The Anti-Machiavelli.

It’s Machiavelli himself, of course. Alexander Lee explains:

Although we should be wary about dismissing The Prince as entirely insincere, Machiavelli’s arrest warrant helps to explain the work’s apparent incongruity. More a bid to suck up to those who had robbed him of everything than a true divergence from his republican tendencies, The Prince was a cri du coeur born of suffering and despair, but lacking any necessary links with his other works. Seen in this light, Machiavelli himself appears much less the puzzling proponent of cynical monarchism, and more an innocent victim searching for hope. Indeed, in the end, it seems that Machiavelli was far less ‘Machiavellian’ than we might like to think.

Let’s not forget that Rousseau knew and noted this a good few centuries ago:

Machiavelli was a proper man and a good citizen; but, being attached to the court of the Medici, he could not help veiling his love of liberty in the midst of his country’s oppression. The choice of his detestable hero, Caesar Borgia, clearly enough shows his hidden aim; and the contradiction between the teaching of the Prince and that of the Discourses on Livy and the History of Florence shows that this profound political thinker has so far been studied only by superficial or corrupt readers. The Court of Rome sternly prohibited his book. I can well believe it; for it is that Court it most clearly portrays.

[From The Social Contract].


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