We Will Prevail: Government vs. Government
We Will Prevail: Government vs. Government
A government is a group of legislatures that enforce laws to maintain order and to ensure safety of their citizens. Order is needed to control and maintain the peacefulness of its citizens. Safety is needed to protect the citizens from harm and threats by providing the military forces. Therefore, laws are created and will be enforced. There are many types of governments that people view as the best government. Machiavelli’s “Qualities of a Prince” and King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” each display their own individual ideas of how a government should be. Machiavelli’s ideals of a government consist of fear, honor, and protection while King’s ideals of a government consist of laws which are created to benefit only the government, continuous conflict of laws, and chaos of the citizens toward the government. Machiavelli’s ideals of a government and King’s ideals of a government differ from each other, but the government that follows the ideals of Machiavelli will be the stronger government because of the mental and physical power they will attain.
If someone were to follow the guidelines of Machiavelli, the government would be feared, honorable, and protective. Fear is needed to keep control and maintain order of the citizens. The government will be feared in a sense that the citizens will give up anything for the government. Machiavelli stated, “it is much safer to be feared than to be loved” because after being feared “they are completely yours, offering you their blood, their property, their lives” (44). Machiavelli’s element of fear in a government displayed that they will have complete control over their citizens and will be able to demand anything from them. The government will be feared by its people, but they will also be honorable to them. Being honorable is needed to keep your citizens content. Machiavelli’s definition of honorable is keeping your word, yet it can be manipulated. He states that those “who have accomplished great deeds are those who have cared little for keeping their promises and who have known to manipulate the minds of men” and also “in the end they have surpassed those who laid their foundations upon honesty” (45-46). Although, the government should not keep their word if it does not benefit them in any way. Machiavelli stated, “A wise ruler, therefore, cannot and should not keep his word” when the issue “would be to his disadvantage” (46). They should have the ability to do this due to the fact that “A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promises” (46). Machiavelli revealed that a government can have complete control whether to keep or break their promises and still keep the citizens happy by the fact that they can use manipulation. Protection is needed in a sense of war to protect the citizens. The government will study past wars to learn from them and be ready for any means necessary. Machiavelli states that “the prince must read histories” and within those histories he must “study the deeds of great men; he must see how they conducted themselves in wars; he must examine the reasons for their victories and for their defeats” (39). By doing this, the government will gain strategies from the victories and defeats of past wars. Imitating past war gods is also another benefactor to triumph in war. Machiavelli says that he must imitate the role of a past war god who had been “praised and honored … and always keep in mind his deeds and actions” (39). This shows that imitating war gods can also benefit your actions on the battlefield. A government being feared can be a strong element by gaining control and order of the citizens, yet it can result in the citizen’s hatred towards the government and create weakness. Honor is also strength in a government due to the fact that it keeps the citizens content, although promises may have to be broken and it is up to the government to sustain it. Protection in a government is a major strength in a sense of safety and keeping the citizens alive. All of the aspects of the government through Machiavelli’s ideals contribute to maintaining stability and power.
If someone were to follow the guidelines of King, the government would create laws which benefit themselves and cause a continuous conflict of laws, which will lead to chaos of the citizens toward the government. The law of segregation is a law which benefits the government by maintaining order between the whites and blacks since the government consists of whites. King states that he has been “gravely disappointed with the white moderate” because they care more about “order” rather than “justice” in terms of segregation (181). This indicates that the government wants to maintain order between the whites and blacks by not allowing them to interfere with each other. The continuous conflict of laws will affect the government in a way that the citizens will disobey the laws all the time if it does not satisfy them and can possibly change the laws. An example of this is the law of segregation. King told his people that it is an unjust law because it is “a code that is out of harmony with the moral law” (179). Therefore, he said that it is “morally right” that he can tell his people to “disobey segregation ordinances” because that law is an unjust law and it is “morally wrong” (179). This proves that any law the government creates will always be disobeyed and broken if the citizens are unsatisfied with it. With the citizens being unsatisfied, it will lead into action of the blacks and create chaos. The chaos it may create is protesting of the citizens towards the government. King states that he got arrested for “parading without a permit” and he said there is nothing wrong with that since “such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest” (180). This shows that unjust laws in the eyes of the citizens will lead to chaos in a sense of protesting towards the government. The government creating laws to benefit themselves is a weak approach because it will cause conflict of laws and result in protests towards the government. Although King’s elements to the government were for a good cause, it will make it a weak government due to the fact that it will cause the government to always give in to their citizens.
Machiavelli’s ideals of a government consist of fear, honor, and protection. This government can be looked upon as strong. The element of fear in a government gives them complete power over its citizens by having them risk anything for their government. Honor in a government will allow them to gain full trust from their citizens by the fact that they can use manipulation to help them in keeping their words and promises at all times. Protection in a government is important because the citizens rely on the government to protect them from harm, threats, and even war. Having a strong military in the government will boost up their strength as a government in terms of war. The enemy will fear the government after fighting them off successfully. All the ideals of a government from Machiavelli will construct a strong government. King’s ideals of a government consist of laws which are created to benefit only the government, continuous conflict of laws, and chaos of the citizens toward the government. This government can be looked upon as weak. The laws created that only benefit the government will decrease the order of its citizens by the fact that those laws do not benefit the citizens in any way. This will cause continuous conflict of laws to the government because the citizens will disobey the laws that do not satisfy them. Protest will come forth out of this and lead to chaos. The citizens will continue to fight the government till they are satisfied with their needs. All the ideals of a government from King will create a weak government.
A government is meant to have power and should be able to maintain peace of its citizens. Machiavelli’s ideal of a government might not be the best government, but it is better and stronger than King’s ideal of a government in a sense of power. Machiavelli’s ideal of a government prevents them from losing power by the fact that the government has elements of fear, honor, and protection. These elements should be acquired because the government will acquire power that will rule over the citizens. The citizens will fear the government. The government will be honorable to its citizens. The government will have strong military forces to protect the citizens. All these elements play an important role in a government in obtaining and maintaining power. Power is what a government should have because without it, the government will crumble.