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The Art Of War

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Machiavelli also warned rulers of the transient nature of political support, characterising men as ‘ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers’ who shunned danger and were greedy for profit. Hence they would risk their lives for a ruler when the perceived danger was remote, but when such dangers became much more real they would quickly defect. The solution to this problem was for a ruler to make themselves feared (although not hated), so that there was always a psychological dread of punishment. Execution, if properly justified, was sometimes a necessity in this respect, although only when there was a genuine reason for it.

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Why Machiavelli Still Matters - The New York Times