Niccolo Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527) lived in Florence, Italy. Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher, politician, writer and perhaps one among the chief founders of political science. Since Machiavelli was a renaissance man, he acted in the capacity of a diplomat, a political philosopher, a musician, a playwright, a poet and a Florentine Republic civil servant.
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This paper therefore takes to ascertain the extent to which Machiavelli would consider the political ideologies of Thomas Paine, Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler and Franklin D. Roosevelt as feasible or meaningful.
Thomas Paine Machiavelli would find the ideas of Paine’s political postulations in Common Sense agreeable to a larger extent. This is more so because; Paine (2006) perceives the government as a punisher, and this role being a derivative of the inherent wicked nature of man. To this effect, the government would act as the restrainer of human vices. The agreeableness with Machiavelli’s ideals is that this ideology marries well with Machiavelli’s postulations about the leader being able to move fast to quash political foes so as to consolidate power (Machiavelli, 1868).
It is obvious that the means of extirpating the influence of a political enemy would be state’s instruments of coercion (Paine, 2000). Karl Marx In the same vein, Machiavelli would find the Marxist ideologies propounded by Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto agreeable since: through Karl Marx’s teachings on the Class Consciousness and Antagonism, Marx explains on how the political elite, the bourgeoisie, exploits by using the state instruments and state forces, the working class (the proletariat) with the two dominant aims of: consolidating political power and ensuring profit maximization from the proletariats (Marx and Engels, 1955).
This well agrees with Machiavelli’s political ideology of “The ends justifying the means”- a maxim Karl Marx crafts to buttress his argument that a ruler must use all means possible to seize and consolidate power, the killing of foes and friends alike, being inclusive of these means. Adolph Hitler Similarly, some ideas propounded by Hitler in his writings, Mein Kampf would be acceptable before Karl Marx. Hitler (1986) is reported as having posited that since the masses are always trivial and less smart, a leader should be one who is calculating, not having qualms to employ propaganda on the masses to achieve a political feat.
This still underscores Machiavelli’s idea of the ends justifying the means. Similarly, Machiavelli espouses deeply the use of trickery (propaganda) to maintain power. Hitler’s plans to create more room (Lebensraum) for Germans by entering treaties with UK and Russia as an artifice to help in the recapturing of the Germany’s lost tracts of land confirms Machiavelli’s ideas that a leader must be calculating and very cunning.
The cunningness behind this proposed Russia, Germany and UK treaty is that the provision would ward off Germany from the exhaustion of fighting concurrently both in the East and West (Manheim and Hitler, 1969). Franklin D. Roosevelt To a larger extent, Roosevelt’s postulations that are revealed in his inaugural speech that saw his transition from a New York governor to the 32nd US president would be considered as antithetical towards Machiavelli’s. The concept of political morality and stark allusions to values pervade all the spectra of Roosevelt’s speech.
Roosevelt is spurred on by morality while Machiavelli on the other hand, political expedience. The only point Machiavelli would accept Roosevelt’s propositions is the fact that Roosevelt saw the need of broad executive powers being vested on the head of the executive in order to allow the occupant of this office deal with an invading foreign foe (Polenberg, 2000). Machiavelli talks of all the instruments at the disposal of the ruler being used to quash ruthlessly an enemy. Conclusion
Nevertheless, it is important to consider that although comparing one’s political philosophy to another for scholarly proposes may remain as expedient, yet, any political philosophy has the merit to exist in its own right, provided the philosophy in picture captures the true identity of the state. It is by this virtue that al these philosophies which were advanced by Thomas Paine, Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler and Franklin D. Roosevelt were considered as legitimate in the eyes of respective citizens.