Political Practice: Uncertainty, Ethics and Outcomes
An examination of the perils of uncertainty in political practice is not new. In his dissertation on the practice of politics, The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli observed:
… and it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. (Machiavelli, 1952, p9)
The often maligned Machiavelli was a keen observer of political life in Italy and an enthusiastic supporter of a republican government in his native 16th-century Florence. His malevolent reputation resulted primarily from the conflict between his ideas and those of the Pontiffs and the Catholic Church of the time.