"Let them hate as long as they fear". 🐺
Machiavelli’s infamous book, The Prince, was meant as a gift to the rising heir from the powerful Medici family. While intended to provide advice to the heir as to how he should best use, retain and expand his newfound power, the treatise also contained controversial leadership theories, of which are still debated today.
He made famous the classical leadership dichotomy, “Whether it be better to be loved than feared? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved."
Machiavelli believed leaders were better off being feared by their subordinates. His belief was that it is far safer to be feared than loved as, given the promise of sufficient payoff, one’s subordinates would consider turning against a leader. However, if a leader is feared, “the dread of punishment never fails”. Machiavelli states that fear is better than love because love is unreliable. All of the reasons that Machiavelli gives relate to how human nature controls men and drives them to commit crimes in order to reach their goals and satisfy themselves. Machiavelli did not advocate unnecessary cruelty or violence towards subjects, and was highly critical of rulers who abused their power. He argued that mistreatment of people would not win loyalty, trust, or obedience, and these were necessary for the ruler to be successful. But, he said, expedient methods– cruelty and violence included– could be justifiable if there were clear and measurable benefits from those acts.Tough love, you might call it. Fear works best because you can’t trust people to always be loyal through affection:
“In general men are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, dissimulating, hungry for profit and quick to evade danger.”
💀So what do you think? Is it better to be loved or feared?
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