I’m studying philosophy (“should war criminals should be punished for crimes committed half a century or more ago?” “what we ought or ought not to do” “what brings about the greatest possible amount of happiness in the world?” “ought we fight for our country if it is under threat?” “political obligations: can I just opt out? When did I opt in?“) as part of my custom Peace Studies degree. But sometimes the best material comes not from text books but from unexpected sources.
Machiavelli’s The Prince just describes the fact that there is no state or nation in history that hasn’t been founded on massive violence. Arguably creating the biggest, fattest, ugliest paradox of western political philosophy. He also lets us know that any state at least partially dependant on consent, if it’s going to last, is going to have to learn how to deceive its citizenry.