Machiavelli's The Prince. Need some insight before I read it.

As Smiling Bandit pointed out that’s not the complete quote. Machiavelli states that it is best to be feared and loved, but if you must choose (because it difficult to combine the two) pick fear. For Machiavelli, a people’s love and admiration was a fickle thing.

I think I’ll back off my statement on ethics a bit. Machiavelli was describing the exercise and retention of power. What was best for a Prince (peace and prosperity) could, by extension, be good for those under him, but the primacy of the Prince’s interests speaks to a disregard the good of others aside from himself.

Strauss is an extremely controversial figure–people differ about just how far the esoteric thing goes. I would say he went farther than I’m willing to follow (not every work is esoteric), but I agree with him to the extent that I think one should read original sources with open minds. This thread was spawned by duffer’s request for insight before he reads The Prince–Strauss would say that duffer should go read the original for himself (and maybe he should learn the Italian if it’s really important), the secondary sources and opinions of academia be damned.

That said, I think the Wikipedia piece has some of its emphasis wrong–Strauss was all for academic excellence, but I think trying to describe it in a “class” warfare way is incorrect. Also, I know that Strauss has been politicized by the neocon thing (but he’s dead! and all he wanted to do was read Plato!), but the Wikipedia piece is, I think, long on the political and short on Strauss’s ideas. But, as noted, he is a controversial figure and people are going to view him differently.

If you feel it has it wrong, then correct it. It’s wiki after all. :smiley:

Yes, yes, but it’s not completely wrong, and I’m not sure where my asbestos knickers are.