Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Si modo, Nov 2, 2009.
Is all reality deserving of a moral judgment?
In regards to the governance of 'structured' society, I believe it is necessary. Without it, there is chaos and anarchy.
That is exactly where Machiavelli implies that none is needed, in fact any would inhibit effective governance - what is in the best interests of the nation.
James Madison stated in Federalist Papers #51: "But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."
I agree with James Madison. I believe that a person should be free to do as they will, so long as they do not infringe on another person's life, liberty, or property. And as we all know, there are many citizens in society, who live by a different code. We must have laws. And whether we like it or not, morality is the core of the laws we have.
There is a fine line between structure and nanny state government. Henry Ward Beecher once said, "Liberty is the soul's right to breathe. And when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girded too tight." In my opinion, our founding fathers left us the most balanced structure of government ever known to man.
When is the last time you read "The Prince" Si?
About two years ago. And, Machiavelli makes it clear that there is no room for morality in politics, at least. When we can separate politics from governance, that will be a feat.
I agree that politics is not the same animal as governance. I also disagree with Machiavelli's position. I think he took a radical turn given what he had said and experienced. While his ideology may appear ideal, it is impracticable.
Your post here takes us right back to what Madison said.
I acutally think Machiavelli has moral ends in mind, he wants Italy, in paticular Florence to succeed, to not be at the whims or mercy of foriegn powers, but he believes one can only acheive moral ends through successful application of power which ironically is an a-moral art.
I can't argue with Madison, one of my faves of the founders. However, he mostly addresses domestic governance. I cannot argue with much of that.
Now that we are essentially a smaller world - mass and realtime comm has made us so - foreign affairs are just as important as domestic affairs. How does morality fit into that? Or does it?
Nice to see an intellectual thread on here for a change. Well done Si. I suppose we will be discussing Beccaria's "On Crime and Punishment" next, and the parallels between both works, as they relate to the aforementioned topic?
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