“…….. and in the actions of men and especially of princes, from which there is co-appeal the end justifies the means” – Machiavelli
The statement sums up the political philosophy of Machiavelli. He is a realist (in realist vs idealist battle), who is seeking solutions to the ills plaguing the Italian society. The apolitical objective of Machiavelli is to prescribe the way forward to a potential prince. Politics, for him, is management of power. A successful prince is one, who can successfully yield power. A prince must pursue the path which helps him further the national interests. A prince must not be influenced by conceptions of morals and ethics, for he will be judged by the ends he achieved rather than means he took. The realist position is further substantiated in Machiavellis’ prescription of ruling through fear, using religion to influence people etc.
……. and in actions of men and especially of princes, from which there is co-appeal the end justifies the means.”
There has been a perennial debate in political theory if ends are important or means are important (debate Realist vs Idealist). Plato, Aristotle, Gandhi suggest the importance of means. Gandhi is especially critical of Machiavelli for relinquishing ends for means.
However, is important to note that the position taken by Machiavelli is the most prevalent in politics today. A case in point is Kashmir issue of India. Today India took a realistic stand and scrapped article 370 from the constitution. The senior leaders of Kashmir were under house arrest. Mobile, internet and other communication services were blocked in the valley. The aim is to curb terrorism in Kashmir and bring economic development. Only time will tell how much successful Government of India will be in its approach and in achieving its ends.