Niccolo di Bernado dei MachiavelLi

Niccolo di Bernado dei MachiavelLi (1469-1527) was the initiator of today’s political science (Virolli 2). Machiavelli was of Italian Origin and worked as a respected diplomat in the Florence Republic. He was a philosopher, artist, and author and his works like the Prince have inspired Western politics over several generations. He was one of the greatest people to emerge during the Renaissance Period and his works modeled and influenced political ideologies like the application of “dirty hands” in politics. This essay discusses Machiavelli’s works and how he influenced Western politics.

During the beginning of the 16th century, The Republic of Florence was under threats of attack from France (Machiavelli 11). This pushed Machiavelli into political space and he analyzed the situation in regards to his experience as a diplomat serving under the Medici. In his works, he supported the necessity of utilization of “dirty hands” in politics. In the book, The Prince, he stated that desperate times like those of attacks required the undertaking of sever measures that would save the citizenry. He reasoned that, Italy, as a nation under constant threat form invasions needed a ruler who will do anything to save it and unite its people.

 In the sphere of politics, the phrase “dirty hands” refers to political leaders who opt for decisions that are totally against the moral code of the nation so that they can effectively serve the interests of the public. The politician who uses dirty hands is only guilty of going against the set laws of the society. On the contrary, an immoral politician does break laws for the gratification of self and is usually guilty of his bad acts. According to Machiavelli, one of the key foundations of politics is sacrifice and compromise in decision-making. An individual who is ready to get into politics has to sacrifice his personal life first; take the public stage and compromise if need be because a decision cannot satisfy the entire public. This is in accordance to the theory of Utilitarianism (Mansfield 71). A leader should always focus on the “Greatest Good” of the majority of the citizens. This is the most significant part of decision-making. Utilitarianism defends the fact that the solution of a problem will always justify the way. The citizens of any nation should understand this principle and know that the means can be moral or immoral depending on the magnitude of the situation.

A politician and an ordinary or private citizen lead a similar life. The leader lives his life in the public while the ordinary citizen lives in privacy. The citizens elect their leaders and want them to follow the laws of the society to the letter. This is the origin of the problem of dirty hands. Like their leaders, ordinary citizens do encounter tempting situations and many times, they give in. Private Citizens will be quick to condemn and judge the leader that has succumbed only once into temptation and this was due to dilemma (Strauss 33). The use of double standards to judge the leaders shows the hypocrisy of the highest order of the citizens who are ready to look at the imperfections of the act or decision rather than indecision. The action or decision that a leader makes is what labels him clean or dirty in the eyes of the “clean” citizens.

Politics is the most challenging issue particularly when it comes to adhering to the laws of the nation. Machiavelli justifies the use of acts that are against the laws of the nation to save some powerful situations (17). For example, politicians do subject suspected terrorist to immoral acts. Some of them are torture, grilling and deceiving so that they can yield information about their ill intentions. These acts are immoral. On the other hand, the information that obtained from the suspect can help in saving the lives of many people. Committing of such immoral acts to a person is against the law but the politician is responsible for protecting the greatest number of the citizens. This act reveals that, in the sphere of politics, immorality has two faces: evil and virtue.

It is usual for every man to satisfy his own interests first and that of other later no matter how immoral that sounds. Businesspersons conduct business because they need money to satisfy their needs. It is wrong to say that they want to fulfill the needs of the people first. Politicians will also rush to satisfy their interest like protecting the lives of citizens. This comes second after they have secured their lives. Using the example of the terrorist, a leader tortures him or her because his life is at risk and then his family and the citizens come last.  If a leader does not want to use such immoral acts, then the lives of citizens are at risk because of one suspect. This shows that the use of dirty hands by a political leader is necessary and inevitable. Many decisions that are for the good of the whole will always have a different effect on a person. Machiavelli stated that leaders have to choose between the evil and the virtue part of morality in some situations (Strauss 10). Leaders have to be cunning and deceitful because a decision cannot gratify the interests of every man in the nation. It is very hard for politics to stick to the principles of law and theology.

Machiavelli left a legacy that necessitates the use of “dirty hands” in politics. He believed that morality should be applied properly in the political life of a leader (Strauss 29). A leader should use efficient judgment that will yield noble outcomes. He reasoned that leaders could engage in murder, war, cheating as long they meet their political objectives. Although Machiavelli supported the Republican, form of government, glory, and success is the most important and leaders should work hard to achieve it (Mansfield 17). It is important to note that the works of Machiavelli have shaped the politics in Western 

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