If we study history carefully, especially in light of the eonic effect, we can see the confusion that has been created by Machiavelli (not that the world’s criminial politicians needed his help) whose work is taken as a modern advance in the science of politics. Eh? It is a problem sensed by Kant who reacted with an extreme prohibition against lying, challenged by Benjamin Constant.
But the spirit of Kant is the right approach, while Machiavelli is caught up in the degeneracy of politics in its terminal phase. Kant was right to imply that the real fulcrum of action in history must conform to an approach to an ideal. The idea, which spreads like a disease through the whole political class, that ethical nihilism is at the core of political action fails to consider the points at which history truly, and so rarely, advances.
In any case, there is nothing modern in Machiavlli. He is looking backward to a history of politics and crime, not to the future. And he certainly is pre-modern to the degree that he failed to foresee the momentary advances in ethical politics that gave birth to the modern world.
The onset of the modern transition shows us a mysterious starting chord in the synchronous appearance of Luther, and Münzer, next to Machiavelli and our first modern Utopian Thomas More. Let us remind ourselves that if Machiavelli initiates a new science of politics, the hidden note of politically invisible actors, no doubt immoral riff-raff, mongrel descendants of the godly Pharaohs, it is also true that precisely at our divide an ultra-idealistic protest, anti-Machiavel, appears in the Kantian contretemps with Benjamin Constant. Before continuing we should rescue our subject for some ‘idealistic thinking’ with an interpolated ‘sermon’ in the midst of ‘value free science’. Realist politics and the devious schemes of Machiavelli have no status in our system.
An ominous question Has civilization been hijacked by Machiavellian politicians? Note, in our account, how little politics matters in the long run. A few brief incidents of successful bootstrapping beyond dead history in a chronicle of the ‘history of crime’, e.g. the American Revolution, a non-random event structure relative to world history. Our transition in its braiding of macro and micro-evolution shows the strain of morphing toward an ideal, moral ideals at that. There is no implication that the outcome matches that ideal. Fussy old Kant, perched on a crag near the Great Divide, won’t even grant the right to lie by power elites, to the consternation of Benjamin Constant.