Lao-Tzu vs Machiavelli

Topics: Political philosophy, Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Pages: 2 (659 words) Published: July 20, 2013
English Composition I 1301.078
Professor Caraway
July 15, 2013
Literary Paper (Lao-tzu versus Machiavelli political views)
Leaders have always played a crucial role in history. Since the initial existence of human kind, leaders have been fundamental to our civilization. Through these eras there have been many educators, with insight on how to become a great leader. Among those educators was Niccolo Machiavelli, believing in a strong government control by a prince, who acted more in terms of practicality and maintaining power at all cost. On the contrary Lao-Tzu suggested a completely different approach, believing that a ruler will be respected and followed if he does not act powerfully and enforces rules. Perhaps the most evident difference between Machiavelli and Lao-tzu is how a government should work. Lao-tzu states, “When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists.”(3) His political philosophy is more individualistic, a carefree branch of politics. A peaceful system where its master should not have total control, letting everything run its course. “…understand that the universe is forever out of control, and that trying to dominate events goes against the amount of Tao.” (18) On the other hand Machiavelli believes the government should be controlled and powerful, even stating that a prince may have to be cunning and deceitful in order to maintain power.“… a prince must not worry about the reproach of cruelty when it is a matter of keeping his subjects united and loyal;” (12) powerful worlds in hellish times. “… it is much safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.” (14) Machiavelli realizes a leader should be strong and feared, but not hated. A hated leader would likely be killed in a rebellion. One also cannot be loved; too much clemency towards his people will make them believe he is weak. Machiavelli makes an example of this in his book The Qualities of the Price, writing about Scipio, which at...

Cited: Machiavelli, Niccolo. “The Qualities of the Prince.” (A World of Ideas) 9th ed. Lee A Jacobus
Boston: BEDFOR/ST. MARTIN’S, 2013
221 – 33. Print
Lao-tzu. “Thoughts from the Toa-te Ching.” (A World of Ideas) 9th ed. Lee A Jacobus
Boston: BEDFOR/ST. MARTIN’S, 2013
206 – 15. Print
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