The word liberal had a different meaning in Machiavelli’s day.
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Machiavelli also had a dictum which is appropriate to remember. “You must see people as they truly are rather than as you wish them to be.”
The Prince isn't an "evil work" or an "immoral work", it is a clear, unemotional treatis on human nature.
If a leader does "x" it will be percieved as this by those under his rule.
If a leader does "y" it will be percieved as that by those under his rule.
The above excerpt describes plainly why class warfare works.
It is ironic how the term "liberal" has meandered over the years. What he actually means by the term here - it's a translation, of course - is a ruler noted for largesse. That isn't actually too far from what it has come full circle to mean in American politics.
In the meantime, though, it went from this rather feudal interpretation through the linguistic turbulence of the Renaissance, Machiavelli's time, to the relatively calm waters of the Enlightenment, wherein it was used to describe a body of thought incorporating free markets and political structures based on the will of the constituents rather than the Divine Right of Kings. In Europe it retains that meaning still to a great degree.
In the United States it has gradually moved to an interpretation more reminiscent of the one in Machiavelli's time - a wise, paternalistic State from which flows both wealth and moral and physical suasion. One doesn't have to look very far to see a Medici or a Sforza in the current Democratic party, its current standard-bearer a Lorenzo the Magnificent, and on our part gratitude for a florin or two thrown to the crowd.
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry ‘Content!’ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Protheus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.
The greatest modern disciple of Machiavelli is Saul Alinsky.
Thanks for the ping, LM. Everybody should read “The Prince”.