Niccolò Machiavelli lived in a time earlier than the web, earlier than radio and tv, earlier than drones and weapons of mass destruction. Thus one naturally questions the relevance of his political theories to the twenty-first century. But in discussions in regards to the dynamics of energy, no title has endured so long as Machiavelli’s. His status as a theorist rests totally on his 1532 treatise Il Principe, or The Prince, by which he pioneered a means of analyzing energy because it was truly wielded, not as folks would have preferred it to be. How, he requested, does a ruler — a prince — attain his place in a state, and much more importantly, how does he keep it?
You may hear Machiavelli’s solutions to those questions defined, and see them illustrated, in the 43-minute video above. It breaks The Prince down into seven elements summarizing as lots of the e book’s details, together with “Don’t be impartial,” “Destroy, don’t would,” and “Be feared.”
These commandments would appear to align with Machiavelli’s well-liked picture as an apologist, even an advocate, for brutal and repressive types of rule. However his enterprise has much less to do with providing recommendation than with describing how actual figures of energy, princes and in any other case, had amassed and retained that energy.
The video comes from Eudaimonia, a Youtube channel that has additionally featured equally animated exegeses of Stoicism and Solar Tzu’s The Art of War. Its creator makes these historical sources of information accessible with not simply his cartoonish illustrations, but additionally his inclusion of illuminating examples from more moderen historical past. Within the case of The Prince, these come from eras just like the Russian Revolution, World Struggle II, and even our personal time of on the spot world communication, attention-hungry media, and a seemingly weak political class. In a lot of the world, we reside in a time a lot much less nasty and brutish than Machiavelli’s. However trying on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of our personal leaders, now we have to confess that the ideas of The Prince might not have gone out of impact.
To delve deeper into the world of Machiavelli, you’ll be able to watch a BBC documentary on the Renaissance political theorist beneath.
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Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embrace the Substack publication Books on Cities, the e book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The City in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.