“All Things Obey Money.” This may be true, but if it is, it is because fools obey money. Just because it’s the first thing that comes to mind does not mean it is the best answer.
“A finger is useful for pointing to the moon, but woe to him who mistakes the finger for the moon.” —Zen saying
Money is like an umbrella spread over everything. It can be exchanged for many goods and services, but that is its limit. It can only buy things money can buy. It can’t buy peace or wisdom or neighborliness, etc. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but loses his own self?”
The desire for money is unlimited. There are two kinds of wealth — artificial and natural. Artificial wealth is the money itself. Natural wealth is the real things money can buy. We can only enjoy a finite amount of material goods and therefore, our desire for the things money can buy is limited. But the desire for artificial wealth is unlimited, even though it is only a means to an end of buying natural wealth.
Money is “a means of exchange.” It is a means and not an end, and therefore not the “last end,” or summum bonum.
Everything that Machiavelli says in this book follows from three assumptions:
The metaphysical assumption: Reality does not include ideals, goods, or values. Values are not objectively real. Reality consists only of material facts.
Machiavelli, in essence, is a materialist.
The anthropological assumption: Man by nature is wicked, selfish, competitive and immoral. This follows from his metaphysical materialism. Matter is essentially competitive, and so then is man., so morality contradicts reality.
The epistemological assumption: Only sense observation reveals reality.
Human history is an empirical science. There can be a scientific formula for success in life because there are only two variables:
VIRTU—not moral virtue but strength, power, prowess—the ability to impose one’s will on someone or something else;
FORTUNA—Luck, chance or fate.
The Formula for Success: The maximization of VIRTU and the minimization of FORTUNA or the conquest of fortuna by virtu. In the end, all of Machiavelli’s advice comes down to how to move something from the fortuna category to the virtu category.
Reducing everything to these two categories is implicitly the metaphysics of atheism. Whatever is not under man’s knowledge and control is mere Fortune, or Chance. But there is no place for Chance in a universe designed and created by an all-knowing God.
The Basic Assumptions in Depth
There is a radical separation between the real and the ideal. Machiavelli writes that the classical ideals were like the stars, beautiful but impractical, too high and far away to cast light on our low earthly paths. He says:
“Many have written of imaginary republics that never existed. But I write of things as they are in fact, not of things as we would wish them to be.”
If you want to attain your goals, make them practical. Since you cannot bring the real up to the ideal, lower the ideal to the real. The purpose of The Prince is not to teach ideals, but to simply find out what has succeeded the best in history. Machiavelli observes what has happened to those who have had high and absolute moral principles and comes to the conclusion that they have usually become martyrs. He writes:
“Unarmed prophets have failed, armed prophets have succeeded.”
The Prince is the first example of history written as a value-free science. Machiavelli says the goal of society is success, not virtue. Before Machiavelli, it was assumed that real events and persons were to be judged by ideals. Machiavelli reverses this and says ideals are to be judged by how realistic and practical they are. To know this, he says, one need only be a historian and not a philosopher, moralist or saint. Science then is the standard for ethics and empirical facts are the only justification for moral ideals.
History = Data Ethical Ideals = Theory
Judge the Theory by the Data
The art of the possible and Indigenous Australians
“…a prudent ruler cannot and should not honour his word when it places him at a disadvantage.” – Machiavelli
The two assumptions behind this are that survival is the greatest good and that honest men do not survive. If all men were good, Machiavelli argues, perhaps the ideals would be workable, but “because men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them.” What the above implies is that your morality is dependent on other people’s morality and thus that other people set the standards. Is this controlling Fortuna by Virtu?
The people setting the standards in Australia are the ‘white’ politicians, who we are all told we must look up to. Politicians who place Virtu before all else, Virtu sought not for its own sake, if that is possible, but in pursuit of the greatest of all follies the belief that “all Things Obey Money.” This is nothing more than the mantra of the foolish and unenlightened.
One of the recurrent themes on Blak and Black is the ‘rule of law’ and how ‘white’ politicians subvert it for personal gain. While I intended to move onto other topics, my attention was drawn back to this because of an incident which occurred yesterday in Canberra involving a high profile Aboriginal female bank executive.
The former wife of the former Commissioner for ACT Revenue (both of whom are Indigenous Australians), whose plight I have spoken about before on Blak and Black and who had to move to a NSW town close to Canberra, where she still works, because of the continued harassment she was receiving from the Australian Federal Police, has again been harassed by the Australian Federal Police.
She was told in no uncertain terms yesterday that if I “continued to write about Australian Federal Police corruption and put it on the internet [she] would pay the price”.
Previously the Australian Federal Police had approached her father, who is dying of mesothelioma and told him that if his daughter gave evidence, which would implicate them in a racially and politically motivated campaign against her former husband, “they would go after her and she would go to jail”. This was complained about at the time and nothing was done. This is witness tampering.
This all comes back to the money that was stolen by some ‘white’ ACT politicians and public servants from ACT Treasury, which they are still trying to cover up.
For reference, the stolen monies were mentioned in the attached letter, written by a senior ACT Department of Treasury official.
I guess that Machiavelli is prescribed reading in the ACT Public Service and the Australian Federal Police. For the present, I will leave this issue on the following note: “three cheers for white fella justice and integrity.” I will continue though, to use whatever means are at my disposal to point out the hypocritical nature of white racism and corruption in Australia.
As promised, David Harrison will post his ‘story’ on Blak and Black over the weekend. This will be followed by a post about an incident that occurred at the Mercantile Hotel in Sydney’s Rocks area in 2006 involving me, a discussion about the missing monies from ACT Treasury and two Australian Federal Police officers, which will make for interesting reading.