Lao-Tzu Vs. Machiavelli What Makes a Bang-up Leader – Simulate

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Lao-Tzu Vs. Machiavelli: What Makes a Expectant Leader?

Updated on November 26, 2018

Jennifer Wilber


Jennifer Wilber workings as an ESL teacher, replacement instructor, and freelancer author. She holds a B.A. in Originative Composition and English.

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Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli had really dissimilar ideas on what qualities micturate a heavy leader.


Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli apiece had their own decided views on how a leader should regularise. Lao-Tzu had a more mellow sight and believed that if masses sustain more freedoms, company would use improve, whereas Machiavelli believed that the leader moldiness birth more controller concluded the mass to forbid pandemonium. Spell they did fit on roughly things, nearly of their ideas were immensely dissimilar.

Lao-Tzu’s Views on War

Lao-Tzu’s views on war and demurrer greatly differed from those of Machiavelli. Lao-Tzu believed that war is unremarkably unneeded and that thither is no pauperism for weapons. He believed that “[w]eapons are the tools of fierceness; all adequate men hate them” and that if a war mustiness be fought, it mustiness be entered “… soberly, with grief and with gravid compassionateness, as if … attention a funeral” (Lao-Tzu 25). Lao-Tzu too thinks that you should not flush assay to protect yourself, stating that thither is “no greater faulty than preparing to hold yourself” (Lao-Tzu 26). He sees no understanding to hold yourself, as “humility substance trustful the Tao, thusly ne’er needing to be defensive” (Lao-Tzu 29). Lao-Tzu feels that war is unneeded and base.

Statue of Lao Tzu in Quanzhou | Beginning

Machiavelli’s Views on War

Machiavelli, on the early handwriting, matte that a leader’s offset business should be war. “A prince … moldiness not birth any over-the-counter aim, nor any early cerebration, nor moldiness he contract anything as his professing but war, and its study; because that is the lone professing which befits one who commands” (Machiavelli 37-8). A near leader moldiness incessantly be armed, according to Machiavelli, least he seem to be debile and thence turn detested. “[B]eing disarmed makes you despised” (Machiavelli 38). A dear leader moldiness infer military matters, for “a prince who does not read military matters … cannot be prestigious by his own soldiers, nor can he trustingness them” (Machiavelli 38). In decree to be a commodity leader, Machiavelli believed that existence fain for war and existence capable to champion yourself was the near crucial affair for a leader to fear himself with.

Niccolò Machiavelli | Beginning

Lao-Tzu’s Views on Ethics

Lao-Tzu likewise had unlike ideas on ethics than did Machiavelli. Lao-Tzu believed that if thither are fewer rules, multitude leave finally be lesson. “Throw outside ethics and judge, and multitude volition do the rightfulness thing” (Lao-Tzu 23). Lao-Tzu is stressful to say that the more the regime tries to personnel the multitude to carry wikipedia a sealed way, the more the multitude bequeath wishing to insurrectionist. “The more prohibitions you let, the less virginal masses bequeath be” (Lao-Tzu 27). If mass are left-hand on their own, they leave birth no grounds to maverick and leave act virtuously.

Lao-Tzu | Rootage

Machiavelli’s Views on Ethics

Machiavelli, yet, believed that mass motivation laws and a awe of penalisation to violence them into existence lesson. In his sight, if thither are no laws, and no repercussions for break the laws, mass cannot be sure to act virtuously. “On the parting of the machinator thither is nix but veneration, jealousy, and the intellection of penalty that terrifies him” (Machiavelli 49). In former run-in, the sole matter guardianship anyone from conspiring against the leader is the fright of penalty. If thither were no laws and no penalisation to fearfulness, the leader would cursorily misplace his superpower.

Niccolo Machiavelli | Reference

Should a Heavy Leader Be Loved or Feared?

Lao-Tzu’s ideas on how to be a large leader were likewise reasonably unlike from those of Machiavelli, though they did contribution approximately ideas. Lao-Tzu believed that the topper leader is one “who is loved. Adjacent is one who is feared. The pip is one who is despised” (Lao-Tzu 22). Machiavelli, on the otc handwriting, believed that the scoop leader is one who is feared, but agrees that the whip leader is one who is detested. A leader moldiness be feared, according to Machiavelli, so as to foreclose topsy-turvydom from arising. “[A] prince mustiness not vex roughly the upbraid of ruthlessness when it is a subject of retention his subjects joined and firm,” Machiavelli declared to prove that a leader mustiness sometimes be savage so that his subjects bequeath reverence him, for if a leader is not feared, the subjects leave bear no rationality to obey him (Machiavelli 43). In demarcation to Lao-Tzu, Machiavelli does not retrieve that it is significant to be loved, nonetheless. “A prince mustiness nonetheless pee-pee himself feared in such a fashion that he volition obviate hate, evening if he does not take lovemaking; since to be feared and not to be detested can fine be combined” (Machiavelli 44). As hanker as a leader is feared and not scorned, it does not topic if he is loved, according to Machiavelli.

Who Was the Sterling Leader?

Piece their ideas regarding how to rule were rattling dissimilar, Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli apiece had approximately valid points. Lao-Tzu’s thought that war is ne’er the resolve sounds apotheosis, though Machiavelli’s estimation that you should e’er be fain for war is requirement. A state should be capable to maintain itself, but ne’er essay to scratch a war. Lao-Tzu likewise had the correct theme in cerebration that citizenry testament be lesson if thither were fewer laws, as multitude lean to cerebrate that laws are meant to be confused, but concurrently, thither mustiness be approximately repercussions if mortal does something awry. Both Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli were castigate in their horizon that a goodness leader is one who is not despised, for citizenry testament not obey soul they hatred. Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli both had around valid, yet contradictory, ideas on how to regulate. A leader would be well-nigh successful if both of these philosophies were to be combined.


Lao-Tzu. “Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching.”

A Reality of Ideas

. By Lee A. Jacobus. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006. 19-33.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. “The Qualities of a Prince.”

A Earth of Ideas

. By Lee A. Jacobus. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006. 35-51.

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© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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