Realism and Self-interest as Political Themes
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Realism and Self-interest as Political Themes book
Although the theses of Machiavelli are different from those of Hobbes, both men contribute to what we might call the cynical strain in political philosophy. This chapter draws attention to some of the many ambiguities and confusions in this strain, and to restate the case for the view that the aim of the ruler is 'interest', but in a way which will free it from its associations with wickedness which have delighted some commentators and distressed others. A distinguished example of the confusing use of the term 'realism' is to be found in the influential essay which forms the Introduction to Max Lerner's edition of The Prince and the Discourses. In particular, the earlier contrast between the moral point of view in politics and realism seems unfortunate in view of the fact that the moral point of view is finally brought back as 'humanist realism'.