Is Machiavelli or Tacitus more relevant for contemporary politics
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We live in an age in which the work of fifteenth-century Florentine thinker Niccolò Machiavelli is often offered as the key to understanding how politics and politicians operate. For example, Tony Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, published a study of his time with Blair in terms of the political principles of Machiavelli. For Powell, Machiavelli’s ideas hold the key to wielding power in the contemporary world.
There has certainly been an increasing concentration of power at the federal level in Australia, and in most other countries of the world. The key issue is the extent to which this concentration has gone hand in hand with the capacity of leaders to move ‘above the law’ and to act according to their will in the name of necessity.