Lao-Tzu vs Machiavelli

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A Way to Live or A Way to Rule Both are philosophers of their time, but each had completely different perspectives about how a government of the people should be conducted. Lao-Tzu, a civil servant within the Chou Dynasty of the Chinese government in 6th century B.C. and author of the Tao-te Ching, believes the leader of the government should hold high moral standards and no one individual should not have complete control and everything will run its course by not forcing any issue. Nicollo Machiavelli, a servant to the court during Renaissance Italy of the 15th century and author of The Prince, believes a leader of the government should maintain constant control over every aspect in government without holding any moral standards to stay in power. Lao-Tzu, an individualist thinker, believed that true happiness of the people was the key and goal of society. He states, “…I let go of the law, and the people become honest. I let go of economics, and the people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and the people become serene (25, ver. 57). If leaders of government imposed regulations on the people, he believed this would hamper society’s growth and the people would not maintain the highest level of happiness. This demonstrates a good leader should empower the people to become more independent and to instill trust in the people to make the right choice. Machiavelli, a totalitarian thinker, believed that a leader should maintain a dictatorship rule with complete power by any means necessary without regard to the people’s expectations. He states, “Hence it is necessary for a prince who wishes to maintain his position to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it according to necessity” (38, ver. 7). A leader should not feel guilty when it is necessary to deceit the people and to do so to the level necessary to maintain their rule
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