Machiavelli still relevant today

To the editor:

Nicolo Machiavelli’s 1532 book “The Prince” continues to be relevant today. The main character, the Prince, believed in political expediency over moral character and used craft and deceit to maintain his authority, power, and control over his policies.

Donald Trump essentially became Machiavellian when he failed to vehemently denounce those most responsible for the bloodshed in Charlottesville. He put political expediency over moral character and has inherently given carte blanche to those who would coarsen the ideals that Americans hold dear. This same thing was happening after the Civil War when armed men stood outside voting places and only allowed to vote those whom they deemed worthy (in that case white people).

In 1866, after the murder of many freed slaves, a law was passed that prohibited the public carry of firearms near poling places and at public and political gatherings. This law was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1886 and is called the Presser vs. Illinois Act. It forbid groups of men to parade with arms in cities and towns unless specifically authorized.

The powers that be in Charlottesville and the state of Virginia were woefully lax in their handling of the situation as it developed. When people show up parading with torches like the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s — wearing body armor and helmets, carrying shields, knives, and semiautomatic weapons — their goal is intimidation and fear and it will not be a good day.

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