Movements & Machiavellians
Machiavelli wrote his classic work, The Prince in 1513. The book was intended to win favor with the ruling Medici family in Florence. That is to say, he was looking for a job. The Prince has subsequently become the guide to the exercise of raw political power. Machiavelli extolled ends over means. The capturing and maintaining of power is the be all and end all of politics. His name is synonymous with ruthlessness, manipulation, and deception. Today, Washington political operatives say they are realists and pragmatists as opposed to starry-eyed idealists. Some critics of Henry Kissinger and Karl Rove described them as epitomizing the worst of the Machiavellian approach. Gandhi emphatically made the point that ends do not justify immoral means. The tension and struggle between movements and Machiavellians are constantly played out, not just in the United States, but around the world.
Tom Hayden has been involved in many of America’s social movements for decades. He was the main author of the 1962 Port Huron Statement, the manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, the campus-based, activist movement. He went from street protests and being indicted by the Nixon Administration to holding office in Sacramento. He served eighteen years in the California State Assembly and State Senate. Among his many books are Voices of the Chicago Eight, Writings for a Democratic Society, and The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama.