In Machiavelli’s The Prince, he makes a few statements regarding the pacification of the masses, and how to keep them contented under the rule of the governing body, or at least how to make them fear enough to keep them silent in their activities.
He advocates for complete subjugation of the people, and once established, to move forward as necessary toward other objectives. With the subjugation of the populace, the support required of the people for the furtherance of the country is assured.
“At this point one may note that men must be either pampered or annihilated. They avenge light offenses; they cannot avenge severe ones; hence, the harm one does to a man must be such as to obviate any fear of revenge.”
He also speaks to authority needing to be given to the military. How the best interests of state are best seen to by the same.
Machiavelli also spoke of why this was necessary, using a type of pseudo-sociology to justify his beliefs. Mainly, he focused on the worst of mankind. Unfortunately, based on much of what we see, he is not entirely wrong as mankind, in large part, is quick to fall back on more…primitive…actions and ideologies.
“A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war, its methods and its discipline, for that is the only art expected of a ruler. And it is of such great value that it not only keeps hereditary princes in power, but often raises men of lowly condition to that rank.”
He cares nothing for the people, just that the people are placated. After all, a quiet populace makes for easier action.
“Here a question arises: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse. The answer is, of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved. . . . Love endures by a bond which men, being scoundrels, may break whenever it serves their advantage to do so; but fear is supported by the dread of pain, which is ever present.”
Now, for those of you who know me, I dislike talking down to anyone, but can you see what I consider to be obvious conclusions? Right, left, it doesn’t matter, in a system like what we see in The Prince, they’re the same thing, with the same goals, working to obtain more power. Sound familiar?
All quotes pulled from The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli.