Machiavelli and Hobbes
To be successful, one must have the appearance of virtuousness, but not necessarily be virtuous. At least, this appears to be true according to Niccolo Machiavelli's works. Machiavelli's idea of the virtuous republican citizen may be compared to Hobbes' idea of a person who properly understands the nature and basis of sovereign political power. Hobbes' ideas seem to suggest that most anyone can claim rightful authority as there is a belief in God, and one can under Hobbes, claim legitimate authority rather easily. There are few proofs. Machiavelli, on the other hand, takes a strong position and suggests specific criteria in terms of power. With Machiavelli, there is a sense of righteousness and fairness and while he does not sanction authoritarian rule to save man from himself, it is also true that Machiavelli puts a lot of faith in leaders also. In some respects, one can see that the two theorists agree yet Machiavelli's proposed Political society is more feasible thus superior to that of Hobbes. While both Machiavelli and Hobbes agree that there should be rule by a sovereign, and that this individual will probably make better decisions than individuals, the two disagree on basic assumptions. While Machiavelli believes that the ends justify the means, Hobbes tends to align religion and politics and sees the way in which policies play out as vital for the moral good of society. Machiavelli embraces the idea of a virtuous republican citizen similar to how one might consider a citizen today. To give power and authority to the individual in charge, and trust in what he is doing, is to be virtuous. Hobbes' idea of a subject who properly understands the nature and basis of sovereign political power is more important than the simple, unquestioning support of the leader. It would seem that Machiavelli would see the best qualities of a staunch Republican citizen in the manner described. The individual should be supportive of his or her leader...
Cited: Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1994.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince Penguin 1999.
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