The Prince and Totalitarians
Machiavelli’s novel, “The Prince” discusses in detail how a government should be run according to Machiavelli. This novel portrays a harsh and cruel leader who rules with an iron fist rather than a democracy. It displays the opinion that the people need to be controlled by a powerful and feared leader rather than take part in a democracy. He believed in a much harsher more stern system of government than we have today. His theories have not been very ideal or successful in the past as seen in totalitarians Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin. Machiavelli’s theories have been displayed in these rulers. Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin all displayed Machiavelli’s theories in that they based their state on military force and power, they ruled with cruelty and fear rather than love, and they based almost all of their decisions ultimately on the well being of the state which they control. These totalitarian rulers justify their actions through Machiavelli’s reasoning.
One of the main Machiavelli theories that all three of the totalitarian rulers implemented throughout their time as rulers is the use of military power. Machiavelli relies heavily on military in his theories and explains that without military there is no state. Karl Marx very closely follows this belief. The communist league paper states, “Capitalism (according to Marxist theory) can no longer sustain the living standards of the population due to its need to compensate for falling rates of profit by driving down wages, cutting social benefits and pursuing military aggression.” (Marxism and Class, 1). This quote and article explains how Marxism is a dysfunctional system in relation to military power. Karl Marx executed military strength to impose his communist beliefs, specifically his system of social classes upon society. He used it as a tool to impose what he thought was best upon society, which in relation to Machiavelli is justified because...
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Machiavelli, Niccolò. Selected Political Writings. Ed. and trans. David Woonton. Hackett, 1994. ISBN: 087220247X.
"MARXISM AND CLASS: SOME DEFINITIONS." MARXISM AND CLASS: SOME DEFINITIONS. N.p., 30 Nov. 1999. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <http://www.mltranslations.org/Britain/Marxclass.htm>.
"Jewish Virtual Library" Joseph Stalin. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/stalin.html>.
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