Machiavelli V. Bush Essay Example

Niccolo Machiavelli is an Italian who passionately supports the Florentine republic. He believes that a prince should possess qualities such as mercy, loyalty, sincerity, humanity, and religion, as stated in the book “The Prince.” Machiavelli is considered a genius in political strategy and manipulation, earning him the title “The Da Vinci of politics.” His philosophy and ideas ahead of his time have made him a prominent political activist throughout the centuries.

According to Machiavelli, being Machiavellian is advantageous for the people. It is crucial to embrace cruelty moderately. A prince should display both mercy and cruelty as it fosters unity and loyalty among his subjects. Nevertheless, an excess of either will result in ongoing disorder. An authentic prince exhibits intelligence and a comprehension of geography, encompassing mountains, valleys, plains, rivers, and swamps. This understanding aids him in warfare by enabling him to effectively protect his nation.

Machiavelli argues that a prince should not use evil means or rely on others to acquire power, but rather depend on their own abilities. It is crucial for a prince to prioritize gaining the loyalty and adoration of the people. Additionally, a prince must strike a balance between virtue and fortune as they will prosper when these two factors are in harmony (Machiavelli 107). However, President George W. Bush’s eight-year tenure saw the United States confront numerous challenges that contradicted these Machiavellian principles. These challenges encompassed issues such as capital punishment, the 9-11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and escalating gas prices.

Despite President Bush’s competence, he fails to embody the Machiavellian ideals of governance. He has consistently supported the death penalty and backed all 1,000 executions since its reintroduction in 1976 (Bush). However, Machiavelli vehemently opposes this practice, considering it a form of cruelty. Furthermore, the United States suffered a catastrophic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and countless injuries. Additionally, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans on August 29, 2005, causing extensive property damage and claiming numerous lives.

President Bush’s lack of compassion for the victims of both disasters has sparked widespread hatred, exemplified by Kanye West’s infamous statement that “President Bush does not care about black people.” The media often portrays him as an unintelligent and monkey-like individual. Despite his unconventional traits, President Bush shares similarities with Machiavelli’s values. Machiavelli stresses the importance of wielding one’s own army and weapons, a philosophy which Bush adheres to.

According to Machiavelli, it is necessary to destroy opposing states in order to gain control: “The memory of their ancient liberty does not and cannot allow them to rest…most secure way is to destroy them” (Machiavelli 23). In pursuit of their natural resources, Bush destroyed homes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Furthermore, Bush implemented the no child left behind program, showcasing benevolence, a value that Machiavelli emphasizes repeatedly. While Machiavellian principles and democracy may differ, they do share certain similarities. Specifically, Machiavelli rejects citizen political participation and majority rule.

Both laws aim to benefit the people, safeguard their rights, and enable them to choose their own representatives. President Bush’s policies diverge greatly from Machiavelli’s political ideology. Machiavelli rises above the misconceptions surrounding great figures in history, significantly influencing all facets of contemporary politics.

Works Cited

“Bush Voices Death Penalty Support” International News. BBC News. Saturday, 3 Dec 2005. Retrieved on 17 Nov 2008.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince and Other Writings 1513, New York City, Waveland Press, Barnes & Noble, 2003.

Rebhorn, Wayne A. Ed. The Prince and Other Writings 1513, New York City, Waveland Press, Barnes & Noble, 2003.

Robert Mcnamara And THE FOG OF WAR

            THE FOG OF WAR takes a rather unique look at the Vietnam War. It does so by providing insights and recollections from one of the architects of the war, Robert McNamara. McNamara served as the Secretary of Defense during Lyndon Johnson’s administration and helped draw up the overall plans for the war. Many critics point to the dual mishandling of the war on both Johnson and McNamara’s parts as the reason it spiraled out of control.

            THE FOG OF WAR provides a forum in which McNamara provides his insights onto how the war was planned and where it went wrong. The filmmaker, Errol Morris, tries to present the fairest format from which McNamara can pontificate. Some may wonder if this is a bias towards the subject matter which is, of course, McNamara himself. The presentation seems not to be so much of a biased one as much as it is a detached one.

            This can be a rather unique means of showing/presenting the subject matter. Morris prefers to allow McNamara a forum to present his version of history. The viewer is then left to draw his/her own opinion on him.

            In other words, McNamara is allowed to speak for himself and on his one behalf without interference on the part of Morris. That is, Morris does not undermine McNamara’s musing by inserting his own personal opinions via contradictory voice over narration or inserting unflattering film or still images. Again this is not so much a biased presentation as much as it is a detached one that allows McNamara to speak for himself without interference or interjection.

This is not to say that McNamara is presented in a positive light all the time. At certain points in the film, the viewer truly has to wonder whether or not McNamara truly understood how he was being presented in the film. At many times during the feature, McNamara is presented as someone that is barely cognitive of his environment. Often, he is droning off into “space” as he discusses past events in his role as Johnson’s cabinet member. Had Morris wished to create an overall image of McNamara in a biased manner, he assuredly would not have allowed his subject to be presented in such a weak and droning manner.

            However, McNamara’s recollections of prior events are quite lucid, clear, and detail oriented. So, the presentation of McNamara is somewhat disjointed. This gives the viewer a somewhat conflicting depiction of the man which, in an odd way, makes the documentary quite compelling. But, it does not perpetually present McNamara in a completely positive light. It also does not seek to ‘bury’ McNamara although certain sequences are decidedly unflattering. As such, it would be safe to say the documentary is not biased in either direction.

            Ultimately, the presentation of McNamara yields the figure of a man tortured by his failures. McNamara’s legacy is not a positive one as Morris eventually has to turn the subject of the film to the unraveling of the war effort. Clearly, McNamara has to feel some of the blame for it. This does not exactly present him in a positive light although there is some level of sympathy for him offered in the film.

            This is not to say McNamara is presented as a tragic figure. Much of the devastation of the failed war effort is placed on his shoulders. However, a certain air of sympathy permeates the film. It would seem almost as if Morris feels somewhat sorry for this very misunderstood historical figure.

Reference

The Fog of War. Dir. Errol Morris. Perfs. Robert S. McNamara. 2003. DVD. Sony

Pictures. 2004.

 

The Follieri Charade

            “The Follieri Charade”, written by Michael Shnayerson for Vanity Fair magazine, depicts the rise and fall of Italian pseudo-entrepreneur Raffaello Follieri. As with all high-profile cases, there is a great deal of fiction mixed in with the facts. The goal Shnayerson had throughout the article was to separate that fiction from the actual facts of the whole affair.

            Shnayerson begins separating fact from fiction when he discusses the origins of Follieri. Born in Foggia, Southern Italy, it was believed that Follieri had moved from Italy to Manhattan at the age of 23, but in reality, he had already begun traveling back and forth from Italy to Manhattan at the young age of 19. Another piece of fiction that is revealed regards the wealth of Follieri and his family. Follieri bragged that his parents were third-generation real estate developers, but in reality, they were not. However, they were wealthy enough to allow him to afford his own apartment while he briefly attended the University of Rome (Shnayerson, 3).

            The meat of the article involves the business dealings that Follieri engaged in. One of the first was his venture of building a business in New York based on the interest in fashion held by his former girlfriend, Isabella Orsini. The business was to be called Beauty Planet, and was to involving the making and distribution of make-up products. Follieri would claim the business was a huge success, but according to Italian documents, the business never made money. Rather, it folded in 2002, following his bouncing of checks totaling well over $50,000 (Shnayerson, 3-4).

            Following the collapse of this business, Follieri came up with a new idea: using his family connections to the Vatican. The actual plan was to buy up properties from the Catholic Church, rehabilitate them if necessary, and then re-sell them. His connection to the Vatican existed in the person of Andrea Sodano, nephew of Cardinal Angelo Sodano. Initially, the idea that Follieri had seemed filled with possibility (Shnayerson, 4).

            Early on, Follieri was able to get New York lawyer Richard Ortoli to help him put into existence the Follieri Group, as well as invest almost $100,000 into the group. Soon after Ortoli invested, real-estate developer Vincent Ponte invested $300,000 into the Follieri Group. Along with this initial success, Follieri soon was living the lifestyle of a wealthy young businessman, and his crowning touch was to begin a relationship with movie star Anne Hathaway in 2004 (Shnayerson, 4).

            From all accounts of those close to the former couple, their relationship was a stormy one, mainly because of their different temperaments. Despite this, Hathaway was soon dazzled by all that Follieri seemed to be, so much so that she became a board member of one of his businesses, a foundation he founded with the goal of providing help to the poor of Latin-America.

            Not only was she a board member, but she was also enjoying the fruits of the supposed success Follieri was having. He would take her on elaborate trips that he did not actually have the money for. Rather, he relied on his inherent charm and reputation to get what he wanted. Yet, as evidenced throughout the article, Follieri was sued several times by various people for nonpayment of expenses regarding trips and dinners.

            Despite all the obvious evidence of his financial insolvency, Hathaway remained with Follieri for practically four years. Therefore it is very hard to believe that she did not eventually become aware that the man she loved was not who he claimed to be. As pointed out in the article, Follieri inflated all he said and did to make himself look more important and powerful than he actually was.

            Ultimately, the relationship between the two began collapsing around the same time that the last deal Follieri entered into collapsed. A business deal with a Canadian real-estate developer, worth $6 million, completely collapsed when he was unable to buy any church properties within the first eighteen months following the agreement to work with Follieri.  Also, attempts to pay off the debts incurred by Follieri by two other companies that had invested in his business also fell through. This left Follieri no other options, or so it seemed. Just before he was arrested, Follieri had been in Britain looking for a new investor. Again, it fell through at the last minute.

            In the end, Follieri was brought to the ultimate low in June of 2008. A mere six hours after his relationship with Hathaway permanently came to an end via a phone conversation, Follieri was arrested at the apartment of his parents. Once in court, he was charged with the following: five counts of money laundering, 6 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. His bail was set at $21 million, but with no funds to pay this, he soon became a resident of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan (Shnayerson, 2).

            The question that many are asking concerns who gave information to the F.B.I. leading to the arrest of Follieri. The possibilities range from a disgruntled ex-employee to someone in the Hathaway camp trying to protect the actress from the fallout. Regardless of who the culprit is, the outcome is still the same: Follieri no longer has the clout and wealthy lifestyle he had when he first came to America (Shnayerson, 14).

            Thus, the goal of the author in presenting the facts was completely accomplished. The article provides the reader with all the facts of the case, as well as the fiction that accompanies all celebrity articles. There is an element of sensationalism involved, but what came through were the real facts. Follieri was nothing more than a con man. He conned his fellow businessmen, and he conned Hathaway. It remains to be seen what the final chapter of this story will be, for as of now, Follieri remains in jail awaiting trial.

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