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The Economist Book of Isms by John Andrews

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m

Machiavellianism A doctrine of politics, or indeed of general conduct, that considers morality irrelevant in the pursuit or maintenance of power (and so considers any means, however unscrupulous, permissible). The doctrine was spelled out in Il Principe (The Prince), a treatise by Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527), an Italian statesman, political philosopher and civil servant of the Florentine republic. As an example to instruct a new prince in how to wield power, Machiavelli wrote: “If an injury has to be done to a man, it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” Another example of Machiavelli’s doctrine has been taken to heart by many tyrannically inclined rulers: “Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must ...

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