Concerning Cruelty: Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than to Be Feared, or the Reverse
Compassion, like generosity, is usually admired. But a prince must be careful that he does not show compassion unwisely. If a prince is too compassionate, and does not adequately punish disloyal subjects, he creates an atmosphere of disorder, since his subjects take the liberty to do what they please—even to the extremes of murder and theft. Crime harms the entire community, whereas executions harm only the individuals who commit crimes. Some measure of cruelty is necessary to maintain order. But a prince should be careful in his exercise of cruelty, tempering it with humanity and prudence.
Machiavelli then asks whether being feared or loved is preferable. Ideally, a prince should be both loved and feared, but this state of affairs is difficult to attain. Forced to make a choice, it is much better to be feared than loved. This is because men, by nature, are “ungrateful, fickle, dissembling, anxious to flee danger, and covetous of gain.” In times of remote danger, they are willing to take risks for their prince, but if the danger is real, they turn against their prince. It is easy to break a bond of love when the situation arises, but the fear of punishment is always effective, regardless of the situation.
When inducing fear, however, a prince must be careful to avoid inducing hatred. He must make sure that any executions are properly justified. Above all, a prince should never confiscate the property of his subjects or take their women, since these actions are most likely to breed hatred. If a prince must confiscate property, he must make sure he has a convincing reason. With one’s army, however, there is no such thing as too much cruelty. Keeping an army disciplined and united requires cruelty, even inhuman cruelty
...In the World of Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli
Even though Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli were both advisors there was still many differences of the two’s views on how a government should be. A leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or a country. It does not matter what state, country, or city someone lives in they are guaranteed to have a leader. Leaders have been around in every era. If considered to be a leader, people wanted to be great and admired for what they had done or were going to do. Both Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli lived in different times and completely different geographical areas, but they lived as advisors. Everybody is their own person and of course they had different views on how a country should be run. Although they had different views, their ultimate goal was to be better leaders. Three main differences between the two’s government views included war, money, and government involvement in the everyday lives of citizens.
Lao-Tzu believes that war is not necessary when following the Tao. From what I read, my understanding of the Tao is the sacrifice of good government and moral behavior. He believed that if you go out and start something someone would want to retaliate and get even. He thought it was best to not harm others because they will not harm either. Lao Tzu said, “Violence, even when intentioned, always rebounds upon itself.” Lao-Tzu did not mention war, so therefore did not prepare for it. All Lao wanted was peace. Machiavelli on...