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He who has the power is always right; the weaker is always wrong.

Machiavelli Niccolo

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. Women are the most charitable creatures, and the most troublesome. He who shuns women passes up the trouble, but also the benefits. He who puts up with them gains the benefits, but also the trouble. As the saying goes, there's no honey without bees. The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.

Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes

A government which does not trust its citizens to be armed is not itself to be trusted. Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration. A sign of intelligence is an awareness of one's own ignorance. Politics have no relation to morals.

Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. You know better than I that in a Republic talent is always suspect. A man attains an elevated position only when his mediocrity prevents him from being a threat to others. And for this reason a democracy is never governed by the most competent, but rather by those whose insignificance will not jeopardize anyone else's self-esteem.

One of the great secrets of the day is to know how to take possession of popular prejudices and passions, in such a way as to introduce a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding between those who speak the same language and have the same interests. I desire to go to Hell and not to Heaven.


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In the former I shall enjoy the company of popes, kings and princes, while in the latter are only beggars, monks and apostles. Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. How perilous it is to free a people who prefer slavery. It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to arrange, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changes. The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new.

The promise given was a necessity of the past: Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain. Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration. Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil. It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy. He who becomes a Prince through the favour of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed.

In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast. Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel.


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  8. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are. Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.

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    A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought… but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands. Half of these aren't even Machiavelli. Some are Plato, Thucydides etc Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: My view is that it is desirable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved. The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict.

    He must inflict them once and for all. One should never fall in the belief that you can find someone to pick you up. I hold strongly to this: Men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Therefore the best fortress is to be found in the love of the people, for although you may have fortresses they will not save you if you are hated by the people.

    The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.

    Top 10 Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes - BrainyQuote

    Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions. One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived. For, in truth, there is no sure way of holding other than by destroying. One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves.

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    Those who simply act like lions are stupid. But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately. Disputed [ edit ] When Machiavelli came to the end of his life, he had a vision shortly before giving up the ghost.

    He saw a small company of poor scoundrels, all in rags, ill-favoured, famished, and, in short, in as bad plight as possible. He was told that these were the inhabitants of paradise, of whom it is written, Beati pauperes, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.

    Niccolò Machiavelli

    Among them he saw Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Plutarch, Tacitus, and others of similar character; but he was told at the same time that those venerable personages, notwithstanding their appearance, were the damned, and the souls rejected by heaven, for Sapientia huius saeculi, inimica est Dei. After this, he was asked to which of the groups he would choose to belong; he answered that he would much rather be in Hell with those great geniuses, to converse with them about affairs of state, than be condemned to the company of the verminous scoundrels that he had first been shown.

    This account of Machiavelli's "Dream" was not published until a century after his death, in Etienne Binet's Du salut d'Origene In the former place I shall enjoy the company of popes, kings, and princes, while in the latter are only beggars, monks, hermits, and apostles".