Im not going to pass up a specific example from

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I'm not going to pass up a specific example from recent history. Alexander VI (1) never did or thought about anything else except deceiving people and always found some reason or other to do it. There was never a man who was better at making assurances, or more eager to offer solemn promises, or who kept them less; yet he always succeeded in his deceptions beyond his wildest dreams, because he played his role in the world so well. Therefore, a prince doesn't need to have all the qualities mentioned earlier, but it is necessary that he appear to have them. I'll even add to this: having good qualities and always practicing them is harmful, while appearing to practice them is useful. It's good to appear to be pious, faithful, humane, honest, and religious, and it's good to be all those things; but as long as one keeps in mind that when the need arises you can and will change into the opposite. It needs to be understood that a prince, and especially a prince recently installed, cannot observe all those qualities which make men good, and it is often necessary in order to preserve the state to act contrary to faity, contrary to mercy, contrary to humaneness, and contrary to religion. And therefore he needs a spririt disposed to follow wherever the winds of fortune and the variability
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of affairs leads him. As I said above, it's necessary that he not depart from right but that he follow evil. A prince must take great care never to let anything come from his mouth that is not full of the above-mentioned five qualities, and he must appear to all who see and hear him to be completely pious, completely faithful, completely honest, completely humane, and completely religious. And nothing is more important than to appear to have that last quality. Men judge more by their eyes than by their hands, because everyone can see but few can feel. Everyone can see how you appear, few can feel what you are, and these few will not dare to oppose the opinion of the multitude when it is defended by the majesty of the state. In actions of all men, especially princes, where there is no recourse to justice, the end is all that counts. A prince should only be concerned with conquering or maintaining a state, for the means will always be judged to be honorable and praiseworthy by each and every person, because the masses always follow appearances and the outcomes of affairs, and the world is nothing other than the masses. The few do not find a place wherever the masses are supported. There is a certain prince of our own time, (2) whom it would not be wise to name, who preaches nothing except peace and faith, and yet is the greatest enemy of both; and if he had observed one or the other, he already would have lost both his reputation and his state many times over. Translated by Richard Hooker
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