Machiavelli Vs. Lao-Tzu
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In comparing and contrasting the governmental philosophies of the great thinkers Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli, I have found a pleasant mix of both of their ideas would be the best for America today. Lao-Tzus laisse-faire attitude towards the economy, as well as his small scale military is appealing to my liberal side, while Machiavellis attitude towards miserliness which causes low taxes appeals to the right wing. These great thinkers contradict the popular saying “all great thinkers think alike.” They have several ideas, such as taxes, that are the same, while other ideas, like the involvement of government in citizens everyday lives are totally opposite. I shall start with the ideas of Machiavelli, then move on to Lao-Tzus, and finally a comparison and application into American life. Niccolo Machiavelli believes in a strong government. The leader should be strong and feared. I believe he gets this idea from the fear of God; no one is supposed to question God because he is so feared, and in the same sense, no one should question a strong leader. Machiavelli realizes that the leader should be feared, but not hated. A hated leader will probably be killed in a rebellion. One also can not be loved. Any compassion towards your citizens will make them believe you are weak, and they will rebel. He thinks a very strong military is necessary at all times, and that powerful arms should be available and in hand. This idea is similar to that of right wing America and our friends, the National Rifle Association, who believe assault rifles are Americas pastime. The nation should always be prepared for war, and should always be searching for new lands to conquer. This is much like our cold war with the USSR and the new lands to conquer would be anything Communist. These wars should go on without high taxes. High taxes as well cause rebellion. Case in point: the high taxes levied against America by the British, as well as other strong factors, led to the American revolution. He believes a government should be miserly with its own goods. That is not to say you cant steal the goods of conquered countries and be liberal with them. Try not to be too generous, however. A quote I once read says “remember to pillage before you burn.” This reminds me a lot of the ideas of Machiavelli. According to him, one should say one thing just to make the people happy, and do another. He believes one should only keep his word if it is for the benefit of the nation. Six words: “read my lips, no new taxes,” come to mind. George H.W. Bush said these words, but acted differently. Machiavellian? Maybe. Bush shortly after had the largest tax hike in the nations history to try to save us from the worst recession since the Great Depression. I believe this is the sort of thing Machiavelli is talking about. Do whatever you can to keep the people happy, but when it comes down to it, what makes them happy may not be best for the state as a whole. He believes that people are generally bad and greedy, so they will take whatever you give them. Lao-Tzu is not exactly polar opposite of Machiavelli, although he is close. He believes that man in a state of nature is generally good and not greedy. What makes man greedy is overemphasis on material objects, and if you let a man go free in nature, he will be good. Lao-Tzu believes in a state of peace; war is not necessary. Lao-Tzu thinks decent men detest weapons. Weapons are only needed when entirely necessary, in a state of defense. This is sort of a liberal point of view of war. He states “violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon itself,” therefore, any attack upon another country will result in an attack upon yourself. As far as the scale of government, he is rather conservative and would side with the American Republican party, believing a smaller, more unnoticed government is better. When the Master governs, the people Are hardly aware that he exists Next best is

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Lao-Tzus Laisse-Faire Attitude And H.W. Bush. (June 14, 2021). Retrieved from