Machiavellianism quotes

People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance. It is much safer to be feared than loved because ...love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails. The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear. Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.
Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception. There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy. Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant. He who becomes a Prince through the favor of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed. A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought… but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands. Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires. The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all. It is better to act and repent than not to act and regret.
I hold strongly to this: that it is better to be impetuous than circumspect; because fortune is a woman and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her. For, in truth, there is no sure way of holding other than by destroying. The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuous in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed. Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it. Politics have no relation to morals. No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution. It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver. Before all else, be armed. Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others. A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise. Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better. A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests. Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself. The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love. Tardiness often robs us opportunity, and the dispatch of our forces.