The Qualities of a Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
In The Qualities of a Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli discusses the attributes that he believes make for a good leader.Although Machiavelli wrote The Qualities of a Prince centuries ago, some of the qualities he advises a prince to have can be adapted to the leaders of today.Some of these qualities include being generous and being feared by the public.
Machiavelli claims that if “generosity is used in such a manner as to give you a reputation for it will harm you. ” Today, this advice is completely useless.
Pope Francis of the Catholic Church is a prime example of how being generous is, in fact, a good quality of a leader. Recently, the pope has been venturing out of the Vatican at night to help the homeless men and women. Due to his generosity, people have grown fonder of Pope Francis, making him a better leader with loyal followers. Pope Francis breaks bread with the homeless and sits with them to show them that they are loved. These generous acts make him more of a lovable leader, and show the people of the Catholic Church that they are in good hands.
Machiavelli also states that “it is much safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking. ” This advice, on the other hand, is reliable today. A recent leader who is feared by the public is Kim Jong-Il of North Korea. Kim Jong-Il is known for being a totalitarian dictator, giving his people little to no political rights or civil liberties. He has also forced women into marriage, mandated abortions, tortured his people, executed citizens publicly, and used forced labor in prison camps.
The fear of Kim Jong-Il and his incredibly strict and derogatory regulations allowed him to rule over North Korea without being assassinated by his people. Kim Jong-Il proves that being feared can be more effective than being loved by the people. Today, there must be an equal balance between generosity and being feared. Pope Francis and Kim Jong-Il prove that both tactics are effective in leading, but the situations in which they are effective vary. Therefore, Machiavelli was correct in that being feared is a quality of a good leader, but was mistaken in believing that being generous did not make for an effective leader.