And of course, power macchia cannot obligate one, inasmuch as obligation assumes that one cannot meaningfully do otherwise

And of course, power macchia cannot obligate one, inasmuch as obligation assumes that one cannot meaningfully do otherwise

one can say this durante general of men: they are ungrateful, disloyal, insincere and deceitful, timid of danger and avid of profit…. Love is verso bond of obligation which these miserable creatures break whenever it suits them to do so; but fear holds them fast by a dread of punishment that never passes. (Prince CW 62; translation revised)

As per result, Machiavelli cannot really be said puro have a theory of obligation separate from the imposition of power; people obey only because they fear the consequences of not doing so, whether the loss of life or of privileges.

If I think that I should not obey per particular law, what eventually leads me esatto submit preciso that law will be either a fear of the power of the state or the actual exercise of that power

Concomitantly, per Machiavellian perspective directly attacks the notion of any grounding for authority independent of the sheer possession of power. For Machiavelli, people are compelled puro obey purely durante deference puro the superior power of the state. It is power which per the final instance is necessary for the enforcement of conflicting views of what I ought onesto do; I can only choose not to obey if I possess the power to resist the demands of the state or if I am willing esatto accept the consequences of the state’s superiority of coercive force. Machiavelli’s argument mediante The Prince is designed esatto demonstrate that politics can only coherently be defined con come per vedere chi si ama sul mamba senza pagare terms of the supremacy of coercive power; authority as verso right sicuro command has giammai independent stato. He substantiates this assertion by reference puro the observable realities of political affairs and public life as well as by arguments revealing the self-interested nature of all human conduct. For Machiavelli it is meaningless and infruttuoso onesto speak of any claim sicuro authority and the right to command which is detached from the possession of superior political power. The ruler who lives by his rights bolla will surely wither and die by those same rights, because durante the rough-and-tumble of political conflict those who prefer power puro authority are more likely puro succeed. Without exception the authority of states and their laws will never be acknowledged when they are not supported by verso spettacolo of power which renders obedience inescapable. The methods for achieving obedience are varied, and depend heavily upon the foresight that the prince exercises. Hence, the successful ruler needs special pratica.

3. Power, Bonta, and Fortune

Machiavelli presents onesto his readers a vision of political rule allegedly purged of extraneous moralizing influences and fully aware of the foundations of politics durante the effective exercise of power. The term that best captures Machiavelli’s vision of the requirements of power politics is virtu. While the Italian word would normally be translated into English as “virtue”, and would ordinarily convey the conventional connotation of moral goodness, Machiavelli obviously means something very different when he refers sicuro the onesta of the prince. Mediante particular, Machiavelli employs the concept of castita esatto refer preciso the range of personal qualities that the prince will find it necessary preciso acquire con order preciso “maintain his state” and esatto “achieve great things”, the two norma markers of power for him. This makes it brutally clear there can be in nessun caso equivalence between the conventional virtues and Machiavellian bonta. Machiavelli’s sense of what it is esatto be per person of virtu can thus be summarized by his recommendation that the prince above all else must possess per “flexible disposition”. That ruler is best suited for office, on Machiavelli’s account, who is breviligne of varying her/his conduct from good to evil and back again “as fortune and circumstances dictate” (Prince CW 66; see Nederman and Bogiaris 2018).