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Word Count: 890
One of the great political philosophers of the Renaissance was Nicolo Machiavelli Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Machiavelli was perceived as being devious and unethical Furthermore today the term Machiavellian denotes ruthless opportunism and the use of manipulative tactics The source of this negative connotation is his famous treatise on government The Prince a short political work that attempts to lay out immoral techniques to secure and maintain power In The Prince Machiavelli states that humans are self-interested or self-regarding beings For example he says that men are generally ungrateful fickle deceptive and deceiving avoiders of danger and eager to gain As a long as you serve their interests they are devoted to you Machiavellis theory on human nature is no different from the Sophists who taught their students that there was no defined set of moral standards for human action beyond the principal of self-interest According to Machiavelli mans self-interested and egotistical nature is what makes power politics possible that is the ability to control others by compelling their obedience through violent and manipulative means Throughout The Prince he gives historical examples of rulers who employed immoral techniques in various situations which led to the stability of state In chapter three Machiavelli notes a general principle People should either be caressed or crushed If you do them minor damage they will get revenge but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do If you need to injure someone do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance Joseph Stalin followed Machiavellis advice when he ordered Leon Trotsky to leave the USSR in 1929 and then possibly playing a role in Trotskys assassination in 1940 But is this to be considered a moral act Well most people would consider this to be an immoral act especially those in Christendom Is there a universal set of ethical or moral standards and if
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