Machiavelli in America
Machiavelli in America traces the roots of America’s tough take on political power to the Florentine thinker. From the Founders (c. 1770s) through today’s rough-and-tumble political panorama, Machiavelli's rationale has been adopted in domestic politics as well as international relations. He proposed that the “ends justify the means,” and that any manner of fraud, violence or corruption must be utilized in attaining and retaining power.
Are people so mean, small and selfish that they will only act under necessity, as Machiavelli insists, so the successful leader must force the population, through whatever means necessary, to follow his dictates? He taught us that the most powerful form of fraud was the appearance of religiosity, and said that the “prince” must hold no art higher than that of war.
In this disturbing, erudite and highly readable book, America is shown to be a surprising example of Machiavellian politics, utiliz- ing the post-modern methods of information distribution and “legal” fraud and corruption. Just think about Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, George W. Bush, the Supreme Court and the Super PACs, the massive amounts of money that shape our elections and decision-making, and the intermingling of the language of religion and war.
The last section of the book offers a response to this kind of thinking, with a specific, implementable program that will begin to de- volve the power of American democracy back to the people and away from the shrinking numbers of oligarchs who control the po- litical system.
Thomas Block is a patriot pained by our nation’s falling short of the noble aims for which we strive. His last nonfiction work, A Fatal Addiction: War in the Nameof God (Algora2012), examined how the United States, one of the most religious countries in the world, could also be the most violent. A playwright and artist as well, Tom has several nonfiction books, a trilogy of plays, and a series of paintings in the works.