Learning from Machiavelli

The very behaviour that advocates of noble-dominated republics cite against the idea of empowering the people politically is exactly the type of conduct that can be avoided when people are so empowered.

John P. McCormick, summarising Machiavelli’s position in the Discourses, in Machiavellian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Late last year I was at a meeting to discuss the reform of the UK media. I argued that public subsidies to the media should be subject to meaningful public oversight and control, along the lines I describe here. An academic and journalist reacted with horror and uttered the immortal line:

But they’ll just want stories about Rihanna!

This is the standard reaction of those who believe in elite control. The people cannot be given power because they won’t exercise it responsibly. As elites our job is to ensure that they never have an opportunity to learn, so we can continue to deprive them of power. 


1 thought on “Learning from Machiavelli”

  1. obviously the journo is being very elitist but what so many of them don’t understand is that the feedback commentators, twitterers, etc are often much better informed/correct than they are.

    Great advantage of interactive media when u can get the whole picture, which we’ve started to do now.

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