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This was the most common political type of violence. He banked on this violence largely during his tenure. This is evident from from his assertions “thus you must know that there are two kinds of combat: one with laws, the other with force. The first is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first is often not enough, one must have recourse to the second” (Niccolo & Rufus, The Prince, 13). This is a belief that justified his actions towards violence especially war. He categorically states that his actions can either be war with the law or force.
He then justifies this with lots of clarity that “And if all men were good, this teaching would not be good; but because they are wicked and do not observe faith with you, you also do not have to observe it with them” (Niccolo & Rufus, The Prince, 18). This is quite evident that he is perpetrating his war not to good people but to those he deems are not good. He sets his record straight by not allowing himself to follow those who seemed wicked and lacked by every sense of word the faith to make them good people. It is a clear insight of his mind and his attitude towards war. It is evil that is necessary. He argues that any actions towards war and the war itself are appropriate to give rise to good people. But it is hard to give an explanation towards this.
The most appropriate way to approach his idea is to categorize his considerations especially to various kinds of war. He says that “sometimes they are due to the ambition of princes or of republics which are seeking to set up an empire.... The other way in which war is brought about is when a whole people with all its families leaves a place, driven thence either by famine or by war, and sets out to look for a new home and a new country in which to live” (Niccolo & Rufus, The Prince, 22 ). This also complicates the later discussion on his attitude towards violence. He is concerned with extending his territorial boundaries.
His attitude towards violence is featured especially in acquiring more territories. He justifies that ambition and conquest are free will matters and he poses that “And truly it is a very natural and natural and ordinary thing to desire…” (Niccolo & Rufus, The Prince, 26).However, these kinds of desires facilitates violence. Machiavelli is categorical that such incursions are very implicit in rulers and not just any men. And that this is evil that is necessary to be carried out in situations that are extraneous. This is yet a recipe for war. But he argues that the disposition for men as natural beings is defended by this.
However this is totally disregarded by The Discourses but again appears to be justifying the act of political violence in acquisition of territories. It states “And, should a good prince seek worldly renown, he should most certainly covet possession of a city that has become corrupt, not, with Caesar, to complete its spoliation, but, with Romulus, to reform it” (Niccolo & Rufus, The Prince, 48).
This does not bring any relief to the situation. It rather tries to strike a balance in the situation. Machiavelli’s ideology is that natural ambitions can be expressed through moral objectives. This also according to him will aid the life of a leader in power. It is also in this sense that ambitions that are personal to the public achievements ends. This justifies his reasons to belief in acquisition.
Moral and practical
The two are connected to the system of Machiavelli. Despite the sour connection between the two in relation to necessity, the deep-seated character of immorality witnessed in the violence committed is undeniable. The leader who actually applies it must be justified because evil that is necessary will always remain evil. This insight approves Machiavelli’s approach of leadership using violence in a rather practical sense.
However, the tenure of Cesare Borgia was short lived, prolific and brutal. He was behind conquering of Romagna. Machiavelli desired to wipe out the influence of foreign countries on Italy. His desire was as a result of influence from Borgia “….for I do not know what better teaching I could give to a new prince than the examples of his [Borgia’s] actions” (Niccolo & Rufus, The Prince, 56).
It should be noted that Machiavelli was not a philosopher of good moral standing. He was a practical politician and man. And to wish away his political ethics is foolish. In judging every deed practical and moral should be the yard stick. This is as much as a leader wants to acquire and maintain with justified ends will be given an excuse. This is morality in practical sense