Saturday, May 17, 2014

Feudalism and Cronyism in Machiavelli’s Italy

Mises Daily: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 by Jo Ann Cavallo

Editor’s Note: This is a selection from “On Political Power and Personal Liberty in The Prince and The Discoursesfrom the spring 2014 issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly.

Although liberty is a recurring concern in Machiavelli’s writings, there is no consensus regarding either the definition of the concept or its relevance for his overall political thought. One direction of Machiavellian interpretation that has gained prominence in recent decades has focused on the concept of“libertas” in relation to a republican mode of government, even though Machiavelli’s use of liberty cannot be simply equated with republicanism. In tracing the various occurrences of the term in Machiavelli’s political works, Marcia Colish has pointed out that in the context of internal affairs“Machiavelli often connects libertà with certain personal rights and community benefits that characterize free states regardless of their constitutions.” She specifies, in fact, that “he clearly identifies freedom with the protection of private rights.”…… Machiavelli imagines, moreover, how a condition of entitlement can be set into place ex nihilo through sheer political and military force:…….political power both creates and feeds off of a system of privilege and parasitism.....To Read More....  

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