Machiavelli has a consistent teaching about virtue in The Prince, and it is that virtue isn’t something that is consists of being the utmost good, but instead something that is just so amazing it deserves the acclaim of others. The idea of this virtuous act is based off of two main key concepts, which are justice and power. Although virtuous meaning by good people was all well and good and meant to fix things, it was truly whoever had the power or could manipulate the virtue that had the power. That is the overwhelming mindset that has been controlling the world for at least the last couple thousand years. Justice based on virtue in the way the world is shifting is translated into people inherently wanting to do the right thing, not just because they think they should, but because they know they should. Justice based on virtue is just as powerful, if not more powerful than justice based on power.
Being a good person doesn’t come easily. We have many incentives to be selfish or indifferent or even petty and cruel. Even more so when we don’t have anyone looking over our shoulder. Many have thought that government has put us on the right track if only by looking over our shoulder. The government shouldn’t be overbearing enough that it takes decisions away from you, but it can’t be so indifferent either as to be neutral on questions of virtue.
Machiavelli introduces the question of wondering if the virtue of the common person is the same as the virtue of the statesmen. We can wonder whether the statesmen should be held to the same standards as the ordinary individual. The morality may be contextual, where the context of interstate relations is different than the context of interpersonal relations. As a result different kind of rules and standards ought to apply.
For Machiavelli, the statesmen is constrained both by his domestic and international environment. Each day the statesmen has the option to cooperate or not cooperate with others. Sometimes cooperation is good for everyone, but only more frequently if everyone cooperates. Some people will recognize this as the prisoner’s dilemma. Statesmen often have more incentives not to live up to their agreements whether domestically or...