Better Feared Than Loved Essay

I picked up 32 audiobooks recently including an audio copy of Machiavelli's The Prince.

It's always intrigued me as a book - it's really not so hardcore, given its reputation. It's a fairly straightforward, blunt book on political science, governance, and military science. The mystique and aura around it are primarily from people who haven't read it.

The most famous quote from the book, of course, is "Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

But why?

I missed it the first couple times I read the book. This time I picked up on Machiavelli's point.

He says love is internally based. It's a feeling you largely choose to feel, that you can large turn on and off easily. Love is fickle. It comes, it goes.

Fear is much more predictable and largely externally based. Lovers can fall out easily on a fast downward spiral whim; fear does not wear off if your base character stays the same.

But note the "if you can not be both." The highest way is to be held in love, esteem, and respect during daily life, with something in the back of a person's mind that if they do wrong by you, you'll be a source of hell and misery. That keeps wanton destruction and arbitrary betrayals in check.

I think love is stronger than fear. A commander loved by his soldiers will defeat a commander feared by his soldiers in almost all battles... but the feared commander is less subject to arbitrary chance. So, they both have value. 95% love, 5% fear is probably the best mix. But the 5% needs to be you unleashing the forces of hell with cold precision if you're turned against.


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Machiavelli's Views on Leadership- It Is Better to be Feared as a Leader than Loved

697 Words3 Pages

According to Machiavelli's view of how to be an effective leader, a ruler should be one who is feared but not hated. Machiavelli states that fear is better than love because love is unreliable. All of the reasons that Machiavelli gives relate to how human nature controls men and drives them to commit crimes in order to reach their goals and satisfy themselves.

Before the organization of Italy as a country, it was broken into city-states one of which Machiavelli called home. He was a Florentine and was deeply concerned with how the political governments of Italy worked because the city-states were almost constantly at war with each another. Machiavelli wrote The Prince when the Republic of Florence fell and was replaced by an autocrat…show more content…

A ruler needs to maintain a positive public image and please as many of the population as possible. It is impossible to please everyone whether you are an effective or ineffective ruler, but maintaining the support of the majority of the masses is of paramount concern in being a successful leader.

Machiavelli says that a ruler must be a combination of a fox and a lion. A ruler needs to have the cunning mind of a fox but also needs to have the strength of a lion so that he can destroy anyone who opposes him.

Machiavelli addresses the topic of whether it is safer to be cruel or loved. He states:

Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be

dispensed with (Machiavelli 133-137)

He says that it is safer to be feared because the sole purpose of a ruler is to keep order. Machiavelli is not saying that it is necessarily better to be feared, he is saying that it is safer because the people

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