The powerful do not need to trust. From the perspectives of Nietzsche and Machiavelli, those who have power simply use them either for good or for evil. It is only those who lack power that can then deploy their trust in the hope that some crumbs of goodness will fall from the table of the mighty.
If this is correct, where then do the powerless get their bargaining chip from that will, for instance, allow for Laws 1 to 4? Why, for example, with reference to Law 3, would a powerful being want to democtratize its power? Isn't the essence of power to be deployed over the will of others? Law 1 stretches the deployment of that powerful, by false necessity, to harming the other. Even Machiavelli agrees that the Prince can be kind to others. And trust, conceptually, looks to the good side of human nature. With Law 2, the binary of the powerful/powerless itself breaks down once there is a countervailing power to be opposed to a reigning power. I agree with Law 4 only if, following my last sentence, we emphasize the potentiality rather than the nexessity of injustice because we also need to trust power to bring about justice. Law 5 is deep but it makes me reflect about the philosophical basis of democracy itself in representational trust. How does this Law apply to the working of a democratic government, on the one hand; and the argument that, in the final analysis, the vaunted demos may actually not have a clue about what is in their best interest? Law 6 sums up the dark perception of power which underlies the entire piece itself. I doubt that Machiavelli himself has such a dark perception. Remember that Machiavelli, in the final analysis, desired the restoration and firm establishment of republican Florence. And Law 8 takes me right back to my initial worry about how the powerless can ever hope to negotiate with the powerful if the trust for the possibility of deploying power for the good--inherent in democratic theory--is not accepted. "Defang" power? How?
Again, if this is taken to be a "manifesto of the powerless" then we need to begin to (re)think the significant place that trust plays in that delicate relationship. Outside of a revolution, trust is usually the first condition of hope, that conceptual architectonic of expectations that sustains us all.
This is really interesting, and its implications branches everywhere.
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