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Niccolo Machiavelli was born at a time when the political scene in the European nations was heated up with corruption and impunity among leaders. This character was also seen through the religious institution, and he was nurtured into a philosopher with first-hand experience of the adverse effects of biased leadership. One of his stands was that political leaders should avoid flattery in order to make proper decisions. His sentiment on political leadership was valid, and it should be observed by the political leaders of the modern world. This paper looks at the ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli with a close focus on explaining why his sentiment for political leaders was right.
Flattery gives the people false hope
During Machiavelli’s time, flattery was a definitive characteristic of the political and religious leaders. The leaders would make promises to the people to get into power, and this strategy always seemed to work. For instance, Alexander Borgia used flattery and bribery to win the elections of the Papacy (“Niccolo Machiavelli and “The Prince”” par. 1). The people believed that he would deliver the promises he made during his campaign for the seat, but he ended up using his position in power to build the wealth of his family. Similarly, political leaders who use flattery to get to the positions of power, but they fail to deliver their promises.
Using flattery to get to power blinds the leaders, and they fail to develop a constructive strategy to apply when they get the power. Their political career becomes a series of wrong decisions based on their personal interests. According to Machiavelli, most political leaders who use flattery during their campaign always regret making empty promises that they cannot fulfill. Machiavelli also claimed that the flattering political leaders are always inclined toward making decisions that will help them fulfill the promises, and in most cases, the decisions are wrong.
Pressure to fulfill empty promises
According to Machiavelli, political leaders that use flatteries are inclined toward allowing everyone around them to make demands when the leaders get into power. This means that the political leaders lack the power to take decisions without considering the demands of specific individuals. Machiavelli revealed that the best approach for leaders is to only grant the freedom of speech to their inner circle. Allowing more people to become part of the decision-making process makes it difficult for the leader to make the right decisions. Political leaders who use flattery become very weak in their decision-making power (Allen par. 3).
Advisors are also compelled to use flattery
Leaders who use flattery influence the people in their social circle, especially their advisors, to use flattery when communicating. Political leaders require their advisors to assume merciless honesty with them when addressing different political situations and decisions. When flattery is involved in the communication of important issues, advisors may mislead the leaders, resulting in bad decisions. This indicates that political leaders should strive to always grant their advisors the freedom to address them without flattery (“Chapter 23: Avoid Flatterers & Sycophants” par. 5).
Flattery is widely used by leaders to get into power, and it may help a leader to gain more supporters. It is a strategy that has been used by leaders for a very long time, but its consequences can be dire. For instance, the leaders may only give their followers promises, after which they change their character and fail to deliver. Flattery may also be used by the leader’s political advisors, which can be misleading in decision-making.
Allen, Charles, D 2010, Flattery is betrayal. Web.
Chapter 23: Avoid Flatterers & Sycophants 2015. Web.
Niccolo Machiavelli and “The Prince” 2014. Web.