Plato vs Machiavelli
Of the many disparities between Plato and Machiavelli, the distinction of virtue versus virtu sticks out like a sore thumb. Virtue was the political bases for Plato: All men should behave virtuously at all times. Whereas Machiavelli believed virtu was the basis for political prowess. What was best for the state as a whole was the main concern, and the ends always justified the means.
Plato’s object was the creation of a utopian society--a civilization that abhorred war and centered itself upon moral virtue and honor. He saw war as evil; and evil was merely the failure of justice. He believed that there should be a standing army to defend the republic but that war for the sole purpose of waging battles was highly unjust. His utopian
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For when the Prince has given away most of his wealth, he then will raise taxes and that will cause his people to hate him. So, by being stingy, the Prince is able to keep the taxes low and the people will see him as generous and therefore will remain faithful to him. He believed that it was important for the Prince’s people to respect him, not love him. If they respected him they would fight his wars and pay his taxes. Respect was concomitant with a sense of fear; a beloved Prince was not necessarily a good Prince. A beloved Prince would drag his people into debt among many other things. But a Prince who was respected would rule successfully. Plato and Machiavelli shared a common goal: the success of their states. But their ideals and methods for attaining success were far different indeed. Plato was a peaceful person who sought ways of getting mankind to a state of utopia. He believed in the self defense of his state but abhorred waging war on others. Evil was evil to him no matter how it looked. And all was done for the good of the whole. Plato would have regarded Machiavelli’s Prince as the epitome of evil. The theory that “the ends justify the means,” and “what is right is sometimes wrong,” would be like gibberish to Plato. Machiavelli was seen and is still seen as highly controversial but there is no way Plato could have even comprehended Machiavelli’s