What would Machiavelli say?

I am not sure about this one, but it seems to me that many political leaders (for example in Europe, in their responses to the current refugee situation) seem to fail in their duty as leaders. In particular, they seem to want to showcase their own personal morality, and then apply it to their national situation.

One of the Great Ideas in the Social Sciences is that:

* What is moral for the individual may not be for the ruler (Machiavelli)

This is connected with the ethical problem for rulers sometimes called The Problem of Dirty Hands.

As I understand it, the basic idea, following on from Machiavelli, is that a ruler or national leader “has to” do things which would be immoral for an individual but are appropriate for the greater good of his people, when he acts in his office.

What is morally desirable for an individual or a church group (taking in a refugee) may not be moral for a ruler when done on behalf of one’s people (taking in a million refugees).

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One response to this post.

  1. This may be relevant, if one considers that what is moral for one person may be immoral or undesirable for the total community:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

    Reply

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