Is That Really Machiavellianism???
As I read through some of the blogs about Machiavellianism in examples such as Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton, I couldn’t help but think whether true Machiavellianism relates to these celebrities, or if the bloggers are just trying to get creative by coming up with witty associations.
I do not mean to criticize these posts, because I think they were very well done, but I cannot help but wonder if you can really believe something like Perez Hilton’s “bullying by writing crude comments” can fall under the category of “nefarious or villainous means”? Does dressing like a “freak” really qualify Lady Gaga as taking advantage of “the ends justify the means” according to Machiavelli? I do not believe these are fair comparisons and here is why:
- Machiavelli’s “The Prince” is a guide for ruling a state, so anything not relating to the field of politics does not seem to fit into Machiavellianism. Yes, of course you can believe and act in principles such as “ends justify the means” and not be a politician (looking for power), but Machiavelli was speaking directly about governing.
- Machiavelli’s “means” are much more cruel than some of us are interpreting. This man is talking about murdering people if the killing is necessary for his state, not something as minimal as blogging about celebrity gossip (obviously he has not really heard about blogging yet in the 1500s, but if it were around, can you actually imagine him saying “The first objective these bloggers have pursued has been to destroy the reputation of the celebrities in order to build up that of their own forces”)?
- Machiavelli’s “ends” are much more substantial than something such as becoming famous. He is talking about trying to successfully rule and discipline a considerable number of people! Becoming a singer is “child’s play” to him, and would not be an “end” that would be bothered with by Machiavelli (even though I am sure that a lot of Lady Gaga fans would vote her for president in the upcoming 2012 election over any of the other possible candidates).
I think the bloggers were trying too hard to find someone obscure, and that these characters do not truly represent Machiavellianism. They were trying to get “cute” with their comparisons and it all just seems a little too exaggerated for me.
I am not going to lie, I really haven’t read too much else written by Machiavelli besides “The Prince” so there is a possibility that he could direct his other teachings towards trying to gain power by gossiping news about Miley Cyrus’s bong hit or by dressing up like a banana to gain attention, but I think those teachings were from his works that were lost in translation.
Wootton, David. Modern Political Thought Readings from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. 2nd. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company Inc, 2008. 9-52. Print.