The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

he Prince” is one of the most in­flu­en­tial books pub­lished in Western lit­er­a­ture, and peo­ple have been get­ting it wrong for five hun­dred years.

Bri­tish philoso­pher Ber­trand Rus­sell, for ex­am­ple, dis­missed Machi­avelli’s canon­i­cal work as “a hand­book for gang­sters.”

A typ­i­cal mis­con­cep­tion, ac­cord­ing to Gi­u­liano Amato, a for­mer prime min­is­ter of Italy, who this week opened an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Ital­ian Em­bassy en­ti­tled “Nic­colo Machi­avelli: The Prince and its Era, 1513-2013.” In re­al­ity, ac­cord­ing to Mr. Amato, “like him or not, Machi­avelli was the cre­ator of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence” and “The Prince” a sem­i­nal po­lit­i­cal es­say that re­mains rel­e­vant to­day.

Well, in a way. Machi­avelli’s work is a trea­tise on how to achieve ab­so­lute power and re­tain it. That’s why it’s called “The Prince” and not “The Demo­crat­i­cally Elected Leader.” Its main theme (though never ac­tu­ally stated) is that the end — no mat­ter how im­moral — jus­ti­fies the means. Its im­pact lies in the fact that it presents the most im­por­tant ques­tions of pol­i­tics and mo­ral­ity in stark terms.

Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist Isa­iah Ber­lin said Machi­avelli “helped cause men to

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