My man Ten is giving me a little space on his space to give my spin on what’s going on in the world today – As Miles Sees It!
So here goes.
On her latest CD – “La Dona” Teena Marie speaks on this Italian dude Machiavelli. Lady T says that “Machiavelli never lied.” Seeing that I ain’t never seen a brother who ain’t told a lie or two – even a little vanilla one, I thought I’d check this cat out.
Well as it turns out this cat Niccolo’ Machiavelli was droppin’ knowledge on politics and politicians around the time that other Italian dude Christopher Columbus was getting lost trying to find the so-called new world! Anyway, around 1513, this cat Nicky Machiavelli wrote this book, “The Prince.”
Nah not THE Purple Prince – “The Prince.”
Okay, okay… so in his book “The Prince,” Nicky Mac talks about what the kings and rulers where doing and what they needed to do so they could keep all that “bling” that they made off the little people.
What Nicky Mac said – totally dismissing any question of morality – was that politics was about cause and effect. You do this … you get that. Just that simple. Nicky Mac would have been a great writer for T-Shirts and bumper stickers cause he could break down complex ideas like politics and reduce them to a few basic laws and rules.
For instance, the way Nicky Mac saw it, the world was made up of two kinds of folk, each with his own goals. There was the elite few – the Princes, these cats were the kings or the wanna be kings waiting in the wings plotting to knock off the king if the king showed he was a punk. All the princes and wannabes were striving for mainly only one thing – POWER, or at least should be striving for power. Any prince who was too lazy, too dumb or too much of a wimp to fight for power would sooner or later be kicked to the curb by a more gangster prince who would snatch the ruling prince’s power.
So anyway, the princes were selected by a never-ending battle for turf in which they had to throw down in order to survive. Kind of like that dude Darwin’s survival of the fittest only Nicky Mac came up with it first.
In his own way, Nicky Mac, was the first cat to lay down the laws of power politics. That is, the more power a prince had, the more likely he was to hang around, provided he used his power to get more power – because if you didn’t come correct in this game it could be fatal. Nicky Mac wrote that this was the real deal about all politics including bad blood among nations as well as the beefs between princes and the wanna be princes in them.
Now that other group that Nicky Mac talks about are the common folk like you and me. Machiavelli calls us the Objects of Power or the Vulgar. Nicky Mac really dissed the common folk, not only does he call us vulgar, but he goes on to say and I quote – “the vulgar are cowardly, fickle and ever to be deceived.” He said that the princes could rule them easily by using force and fraud.
Damn is all this starting to sound familiar? But hold up, check this out it gets deeper.
Nicky Mac goes on to say… “There are only two things that the vulgar seriously care for – their property and their women – and these a prudent prince ought to leave undisturbed. As long as taxes remained moderate and families secure, the vulgar would obey the prince and care little else about what he was doing. As long as the vulgar remained basically content, conspiracies by would be princes posed no serious danger to the ruler, for they would always be betrayed by some conspirator or by some chance informant.”
Machiavelli believed in what he called the “ethics of power” as well as “power politics.” Nicky Mac said that a prince had only one essential virtue and that was to be down for anything in order to get power, keep power and enhance power. The prince only needed to be smart enough and stubborn enough to make this virtue work for him. All other stuff like honesty, generosity, courage, and piety had to take a back seat to the quest for power. Although these other virtues were nice to have and if the prince had them then cool, but they weren’t essential because he could always front like he had them.
Say like a prince didn’t really want to pray in church, he should still make sure folks saw his face in the place. If he wanted to reward someone for something he should do it in front of the paparazzi but if he wanted to come down hard on somebody he needed to do that on the QT or have one of his boys take care of it for him. That way he would appear to be a kinder, gentler prince and the common folk would fall for it.
Just as Nicky Mac said that there was two kinds of folk, he said there was two kinds of morality. Ordinary people – us vulgars – should be taught the “traditional” morality. You know, stuff like honesty, truthfulness, loyalty, peaceful and unselfish behavior and obedience. But for the princes and the government run by the princes “traditional” morality didn’t amount to squat. Princes could rob, kill, lie and cheat, whenever “reasons of state” – or any chance to increase their “bling” – made it seem like the right thing to do at the time.
In Nicky Macs world, princes and their homeboys had only one game – self-preservation; one rule – selfishness and one bottom line – mo’ power, mo’ power, mo’ power! The princes saw themselves as being above the law and above any outside judgement over their decisions. Yet they expected their subjects – the vulgar, to follow the traditional morality that they themselves had no respect for and in fact used trickery and deception to separate these two moralities.
Hey whatcha think ? Did Machiavelli ever lie or is the truth sho’ nuff stranger than fiction? Yo! Its been fun, but I gotta run! I think I’m gonna go trick out somebody’s ride or drop by LeBron’s crib and raid his fridge. Next time we hook up we’ll rap some more about Nicky Mac and his book The Prince. In the meantime, in between time HOLLA BACK! Miles Out!
Tenthltr2u (c) 2006