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November 9, 2012

"The evil which serves politics ceases to be evil"

When Machiavelli advises the Prince to carry out the Machiavellian scheme of action, he invests those actions with no sort of morality or beauty.

For him morality remains what it is for everyone else, and does not cease to remain so because he observes (not without melancholy) that it is incompatible with politics. … For him evil, even if it aids politics, still remains evil. The modern realists are the moralists of realism. For them, the act which makes the State strong is invested with a moral character by the fact that it does so, and this whatever the act may be. The evil which serves politics ceases to be evil and becomes good. -- Treason of the Intellectuals (1927) Julien Benda

Posted by gerardvanderleun at November 9, 2012 8:44 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

...and a windy way of saying "The end justifies the means."

Posted by: Anonymous at November 10, 2012 9:23 AM

Exactly so. And now, bonus question, "In purely political terms is it true?"

Posted by: vanderleun at November 10, 2012 9:28 AM

Gerard, in political terms, it doesn't need to be true, it merely needs to exist.

That is does.

Posted by: Peccable at November 10, 2012 9:57 AM

It's been working since before the pharoahs...
Stalin never complained.

Ein Volk

Posted by: Anonymous at November 10, 2012 6:04 PM

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