Julien Benda - Morality Quotes
3 Sourced Quotes
When Machiavelli advises the Prince to carry out the Machiavellian scheme of action, he invests those actions with no sort of morality or beauty. For him morality remains what it is for everyone else, and does not cease to remain so because he observes (not without melancholy) that it is incompatible with politics. … For him evil, even if it aids politics, still remains evil. The modern realists are the moralists of realism. For them, the act which makes the State strong is invested with a moral character by the fact that it does so, and this whatever the act may be. The evil which serves politics ceases to be evil and becomes good.
Up until our own times men had only received two sorts of teaching in what concerns the relations between politics and morality. One was Plato's and it said: Morality decides politics ; and the other was Machiavelli's, and it said Politics have nothing to do with morality. Today we receive a third. M. Maurras teaches: Politics decide morality.
Formerly, leaders of states practiced realism, but did not honor it… With them morality was violated, but moral notions remained intact. … The modern governor, owing to the fact that he addresses crowds, is compelled to be a moralist, and to present his acts as bound up with a system of morality.