Taiwan and Machiavelli

KMT Arrival
When a new such as the KMT came to power, there was inevitable injustice. Landlords had to be kicked off farms for land reform.

From The Prince:

You always have to give offense to those over whom you acquire power when you become a new ruler, both by imposing troops upon them, and by countless other injuries that follow as necessary consequences of the acquisition of power.

Gigibat and White Terror
2-28, killing 10,000+ people, including many of the Japanese-trained intelligentsia over a protest about a cigarette tax, and spying on people during White Terror.

For the rebellion gives him an excuse, and he is able to take firmer measures to secure his position, punishing delinquents, checking up on suspects, and taking precautions where needed.

Preventing Chinese Invasion
The more different Taiwan is from China, the harder it will be to govern it post-invasion (if that were to occur).

But when you acquire territories in a region that has a different language, different customs, and different institutions, then you really have problems, and you need to have great good fortune and great resourcefulness if you are going to hold on to them.

Rulers Attaining a Good Reputation

A ruler should also show himself to be an admirer of skill [virtú] and should honor those who are excellent in any type of work.

Are you implying that Chiang Kai-shek read Machiavelli? I think that earlier on he was more of a fascist. Didn’t he write some fascist book that’s really hard to find now?

Like a lot of people pre-WWII he probably thought the fascists were just better at “getting things done.”

I thought he just liked the free stuff and the Nazis were snappy dressers.

Machiavelli’s ideas are everywhere, even if you don’t read them directly. Chiang was probably exposed to them in military school in Japan.

Glad you brought up the Generalissimo.

A ruler, then, should have no other concern, no other thought, should pay attention to nothing aside from war, military institutions, and the training of his soldiers.

In Japan? Pre-WWII? As part of military training? It seems possible that a Machiavelli was translated into Japanese (or Chinese) by that point, but I can’t see him being widely read.

Are you sure you’re not seeing Machiavelli where Mencius is present? Or some other Chinese philosopher?

1 Like

This is a weird thread.

I’m not positing a direct connection.

Sun Tzu is taught at the Pentagon. I know that for a fact.

My area had a high concentration of military and intelligence personnel.

CIA and (even some FBI) analysts can’t tell you where they work.

Unlike talking about Taiwanese men’s fashion.

1 Like

Yes, yes it is. Let’s ride this wave and see where it leads.

1 Like

So what kind of connection are you positing?

Of course Sun Tze was taught at the Pentagon. The Art of War has been a favorite of military strategists for a long, long time. Does the fact that Author A from Culture A is taught in Culture B imply that Author B from Culture B is taught in Culture A as well?

You lost me on the “military and intelligence personnel.” What country’s military and intelligence personnel are we talking about?

1 Like

United States of America.

Possible indirect connection.

For example, in the example I gave with Tsai, honoring accomplished people is something that all politicians do now. It’s not unique to Taiwan by any means, because Machiavelli’s ideas are so pervasive.

No, but both thinkers are widely regarded.

Do you have any examples of Machiavelli’s ideas being pervasive? Specifically in the context of Chinese/Taiwanese culture? Also, do you have any examples of ideas that are unique to Machiavelli and which were possibly acted upon by politicians in Taiwan or China?

Is Machiavelli widely regarded in Taiwan? Have you talked to many Taiwanese people about Machiavelli?

It seems like often OO reads something new, then he’s all in on it and posts it here. :smiley: he’s like the 19 yr olds that read atlas shrugged for the first time, and become all in on it… except he’s that way about a variety of books and topics. :wink:

1 Like

This is something you can verify with a quick google search.

No. I started this thread so I can remember what I read better. Since this is a Taiwan board, I had to look for a correlation between The Prince and Taiwan.

Do you have anything to say about the points I laid out in the OP?

Actually, you know what? Here’s a quote form Wooton’s Modern Political Thought:

So different are Machiavelli’s two most famous works that, over the next three centuries, both the most cynical politicians and their most idealistic opponents could turn to him for inspiration. Published in 1532, The Prince was placed on the Index in 1559. Apparently universally condemned, it was read everywhere, and the word ‘Machiavellist’ was soon coined to describe immoral politicians (1581 in France; 1589 in England). ‘Reason of state,’ as the new, practical science of politics came to be called, dominated political theorizing for the next century. But when the first modern republic was established in 1649, it was to Machiavelli’s Discourses that James Harrington turned, and in his Oceana he offered a new account of the social preconditions for liberty (one much indebted to Discourses 1.55) and a new account of the political institutions most likely to preserve freedom (one implicitly critical of Discourses 1.4). Algernon Sidney, executed in 1683 for plotting against Charles II, was also a faithful reader of Machiavelli’s Discourses, and his own posthumously published Discourses were to be a text which had the most influence on America’s revolutionaries a century later.

I think you would need to establish a connection to Japan. For instance, was Machiavelli widely read or taught in the Japanese military when CKS was there?
For example, Alfred Thayer Mahan’s views on seapower was very influential on the developing views of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and a quick Google search on “Mahan Japan” turns up hundreds of references.
Likewise, Clausewitz was greatly admired by Lenin, and through him, Mao Tse-tung, who organised a seminar on Clausewitz for the Party leadership while in Yanan.
OTOH, translations of The Prince don’t seem to be particularly influential.

1 Like

If you find something, let me know.