Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Prince

Ryan, my husband, is currently going back to school to become a history teacher. In one of his classes he has to read The Prince, so I decided to read it with him. It was nice to be able to talk about it with him after we both finished!

One of the fun things about reading this was the references to Francesco Sforza. I had happened to read a National Geographic article about the Sforza family the night before I started The Prince. It's weird how things like that happen. That's one of the things I like most about reading - all of the connections.

Overall, I really liked most of the points Machiavelli makes. I think the book gets a bad rap based on just a few of his points, or some of his points taken out of context. Ryan mentioned that someone in his class described Maciavelli as amoral, not immoral, and that seems accurate.

He talks a lot about the importance of planning: "When trouble is sensed in advance it can easily be remedied; if you wait for it to show itself any medicine will be too late because the disease will have become incurable." How often do we let problems go until they develop into some massive issue? It's usually so much better if we think ahead and address things before they get out of control.

I also thought this was interesting: "you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow." I think this is something people miss about the second amendment - it's there so the people have a way to protect themselves from the government. If the government tries to take over the people, like what happened in Soviet Russia, people who are armed can prevent that, just like how the Americans rebelled against the British. When you take away people's arms, you take away that protective barrier.

He also talks about how you will fail if you use another army to fight your battles. This made me think of the Middle East and all the conflict there that is probably made worse with outside intervention. His example was that Rome fell when they started using the Goths as their army. The Goths eventually turned on them and took over.

This was a quick little read and even with all the historical references that may not be familiar to everyone, I don't think that would take away from the main points. I'm glad I finally read the whole thing instead of just the excerpts I'd read in various classes!

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