The Effects of Machiavellianism in the 21st Century

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Humans are always on the search for the most power and will do whatever it takes to attain it. Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat that preached and ruled with this philosophy. Born in Florence Italy, Machiavelli wrote many pieces on how to acquire power in politics.

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Many politicians are compared and contrasted to Machiavelli. The term Machiavellianism was created to explain the strategy of obtaining power by deceiving, manipulating, and exploiting others. In the 1960s the psychologistsRichard Christie and Florence L. Geis studied Machiavelli’s writings, personality, and tactics to publish the MACH-IV to measure the Machiavelli trait which can be found in all humans. Our current President, Donald Trump has been noted to have characteristics quite similar to the Italian leader Machiavelli, however, humans are complex characters which means President Trump isn’t entirely Machiavellian.

Machiavelli once said, It is better to be feared than loved if you cannot be both. This idea is shown through his ideologies and theories. Machiavelli’s novel the Prince explains how politicians should be noble in their character like a prince, however he mocks this idea by saying how a prince is just a mere fairytale, and that a leader should be able to put aside the ethics of honesty, and kindness to sustain the stability of the state. Machiavelli also believed in empiricism, he thought that action should be carried out from the information we learned from past experiences and historical events, rather than the imagination. He believed that people relied to heavily on chance and that ambition and glory were most important. He also felt that bad things against the social good are justified if the outcome is positive, this ideology gives way to one of the major modern economic ideas; capitalism. In capitalism, the economy is based on private ownership of means of production in order to create the biggest profit, even if jeopardizes social good or natural resources. The easiest way to spot a Machiavelli personality according to Dale Hartley Ph.D. is when they function best in jobs and social situations where the rules and boundaries are ambiguous, they use emotional detachment and a cynical outlook enable them to control their impulses and be careful, patient opportunists, their tactics includecharm, friendliness, self-disclosure, guilt, and (if necessary) pressure, they prefer to use subtle tactics (charm, friendliness, self-disclosure, guilt), when possible, to mask their true intentions and provide a basis for plausible denial if they are detected,however, they can use pressure and threats when necessary, and they tend to be preferred by others in competitive situations (debating, negotiations), but arenotpreferred asfriends, colleagues, or spouses(Meet the Machiavellians). All of these techniques can be used to identify this dark character trait. Our President has seemingly illustrated all of these notable characteristics.

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