The Prince By NMachiavelli Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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to the Medicis he gave them a lesson on how to rule. This provocative explanation leads to further interpretations of the text, which then can be considered as the apology of egoistic power and tyranny, or as a proposal for individual success. In addition it can be seen as depicting the ruling class? morale as being beyond Morale and laws. Although The Prince was in its time read this way, Machiavelli does not directly support monarchs? immoral acts; he rather describes the consequences of fear on citizens. He furthermore states many times that the best way for a prince to maintain power is to have his people with him and not against him. On the other hand, Machiavelli?s views on human nature are rather pessimistic and he overtly doubts that citizen can be trusted. Furthermore,

he presents paradoxical views at times, when he alternatively supports honesty and deception. Machiavelli knew that past successful rulers appeared to be virtuous and he advised new princes to follow this strategy, since it was effective in manipulating peoples’ perceptions. Hence, for him, the end justifies the means as he states that ?doing some things that seems virtuous may result in one?s ruin, whereas doing other things that seem vicious may strengthen one?s position and cause one to flourish? (55). If Machiavelli is still read today it is because he deals with the principles of human nature, which are unchanged. Rulers and tyrants, such as Hitler and Mussolini, used this treatise for centuries to conquer, understand the mechanism of power, and avoid being overthrown.

Although most countries today have a democratic system, or no longer need fortress to protect themselves for instance, his remarks are still pertinent. The fact that a ruler is made by and for the people, for example, is still accurate. Machiavelli emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between a prince and his subjects, and does encourage him to be loved rather than feared. Indeed, public good might not be presented as the ultimate goal, but it is in the prince best interest to serve his community in order to get what he wants. Thus, to a certain extent this concept applies to Public Relations since as practitioners we cannot dissociate our work from the public?s best interest. The emphasis on the interdependent relationship is one of the key elements of PR and Machiavelli sees

it as a key to power. Hence, this perspective leads to the question: to what extent are PR?s goals and methods different from those of ancient monarchs? Indeed, considering that some public relation practitioners work in the power sphere as politicians? counselors, for example, and that they create an image to help them acquire power, shows their knowledge about its mechanisms. The fact remains, that the definition of power evolved since The Prince was first published, but if we consider it from the perspective above, we can infer that PR is in itself a form of power, and therefore follows some of Machiavelli?s principles. More precisely, PR practitioners are behind the ones in power. They create and represent the image and the philosophy of a company, for instance. They have the

choice in exerting their power to deceive the public or to be ethical. A PR campaign that built trust for instance, was the ?Tylenol? case as handled by Johnson & Johnson. Their approach to the crisis was directed towards the public?s best interest and as a result the company did not suffer from bad consequences on the long run. On the other hand, the Exxon-Valdez oil-spill case is an example of deceptive PR. Indeed, not much was done for the Alaskan community and the corporation ended up being perceived in a very negative way by the general public. These two crisis communication cases show that people and mechanisms of power have things in common with Machiavelli?s times, but society has become less tolerant of evil strategies. Rulers or corporations still have the means to

deceive, but people are no longer subject to an authority considered divine. Therefore, the ones who govern are exposed to feedback and can hardly avoid the consequences of their acts. A counter example, of course, would be the one of President Clinton as he voluntarily lied in court about his relation with Monica Lewinsky. He put on the face of virtue to deceive his citizens and in so doing manipulated the perception they had of him. In fact, Clinton?s communication specialists probably advised him to use this strategy, which follow the Machiavellian precepts. Although power might not exactly be the same anymore, principles on human natures are constant throughout time.