one can say this mediante general of men: they are ungrateful, disloyal, insincere and deceitful, timid of danger and avid of profit…. Love is per bond of obligation which these miserable creatures break whenever it suits them puro do so; but fear holds them fast by verso dread of punishment that never passes. (Prince CW 62; translation revised)
As verso result, Machiavelli cannot really be said puro have a theory of obligation separate from the imposition of power; people obey only because they fear the consequences of not doing so, whether the loss of life or of privileges.
If I think that I should not obey a particular law, what eventually leads me to submit sicuro that law will be either a fear of the power of the state or the actual exercise of that power
Concomitantly, verso Machiavellian perspective directly attacks the notion of any grounding for authority independent of the sheer possession of power. For Machiavelli, people are compelled onesto obey purely durante deference sicuro the superior power of the state. It is power which mediante the final instance is necessary for the enforcement of conflicting views of what I ought esatto do; I can only choose not to obey if I possess the power sicuro resist the demands of the state or if I am willing sicuro accept the consequences of the state’s superiority of coercive force. Machiavelli’s ciÃ² che Ã¨ latinamericancupid argument sopra The Prince is designed sicuro demonstrate that politics can only coherently be defined sopra terms of the supremacy of coercive power; authority as verso right preciso command has in nessun caso independent status. He substantiates this assertion by reference preciso the observable realities of political affairs and public life as well as by arguments revealing the self-interested nature of all human conduct. For Machiavelli it is meaningless and infruttuoso sicuro speak of any claim esatto authority and the right sicuro command which is detached from the possession of superior political power. The ruler who lives by his rights alone will surely wither and die by those same rights, because in the rough-and-tumble of political conflict those who prefer power puro authority are more likely onesto succeed. Without exception the authority of states and their laws will never be acknowledged when they are not supported by per esibizione of power which renders obedience inescapable. The methods for achieving obedience are varied, and depend heavily upon the foresight that the prince exercises. Hence, the successful ruler needs special addestramento.
3. Power, Castita, and Fortune
Machiavelli presents esatto his readers per vision of political rule allegedly purged of extraneous moralizing influences and fully aware of the foundations of politics durante the effective exercise of power. The term that best captures Machiavelli’s vision of the requirements of power politics is onesta. While the Italian word would normally be translated into English as “virtue”, and would ordinarily convey the conventional connotation of moral goodness, Machiavelli obviously means something very different when he refers preciso the lealta of the prince. In particular, Machiavelli employs the concept of bonta puro refer esatto the range of personal qualities that the prince will find it necessary esatto acquire con order preciso “maintain his state” and onesto “achieve great things”, the two standard markers of power for him. This makes it brutally clear there can be in nessun caso equivalence between the conventional virtues and Machiavellian bonta. Machiavelli’s sense of what it is sicuro be per person of lealta can thus be summarized by his recommendation that the prince above all else must possess verso “flexible disposition”. That ruler is best suited for office, on Machiavelli’s account, who is courtaud of varying her/his conduct from good onesto evil and back again “as fortune and circumstances dictate” (Prince CW 66; see Nederman and Bogiaris 2018).