What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to being the kind of leader Machiavelli describes?
Most of the advantages of ruling by the methods Machiavelli recommends in The Prince would be understood as advantages from the point of view of the person in power (or wanting power) rather than from the point of view of those ruled, for the intention in this treatise is to separate rules of ethics from the exigencies of ruling. In other words, The Prince emphasizes gaining and maintaining power rather than ruling correctly for the betterment of the people. Therefore, one “advantage” of being the sort of leader recommended by the book is that such a leader is likely to maintain his power for a long time, and that might bring stability to a country. This sort of ruler is always prepared for the possibility that someone will contest his power or that something will go wrong in his kingdom, and will act accordingly to maintain power. However, Machiavelli advises telling rulers what they want to hear rather than what is correct, for this will ensure their personal power. Such lies told by a ruler will also keep the people happy, and in being happy will be more likely to support him in time of travail such as war. The Prince advises divisiveness rather than unity, and since our democracy is built on the ideal of unity (although majority rules), this intended goal of divisiveness to solidify the power contradicts the principles our culture holds dear