Is Machiavellian learned or innate

: Right before power


Read on one side

The Dutch scholar and politician, poet and theologian was of a modern spirit. His adventurous life (1583–1645) already reflects the intellectual unrest of the 17th century: in the party struggles in his homeland he was sentenced to life imprisonment, was soon afterwards freed by his wife in an adventurous way with the help of a book box, and lived with them for a decade a state pension, but without Richelieu's favor, in Paris, had to flee again, became the Swedish ambassador, and finally died of the consequences of a shipwreck a few years before the Peace of Westphalia in Rostock.

So Grotius, as he called himself Latinized according to humanistic custom, is still in the firm traditions of Christianity, tried hard to overcome the denominational disputes of his century and to reduce religion to a pre-dogmatic, simple piety and morality; but it becomes effective with the thoughts that lead beyond the traditional Christian-medieval views. According to its main meaning, Grotius is the man who re-establishes law by no longer deriving it from God, but from nature. Even if God did not exist, he says (which could be alleged criminally), law would stay one and the same. The principles of law lie in human nature. The commandment, for example, "You shall not kill" does not apply because God commanded it, but because human nature is structured according to it. And since the nature of man is reasonable, law is also in its essence reasonable and, as a result, can be known through reason. The right is eternal and absolute and inviolable. It applies to all people and for all times. It is just as valid as the law established by God - in the medieval sense. And it is also natural: not just a requirement, but innate and innate in man, not a should that is contrary to being, but a should that is embedded in being. Not power, as Machiavelli had claimed, but right is natural to man. The right therefore has self-worth, just as for Machiavelli and his followers the power own-worth: and means the highest purpose.

This expressed one of the most momentous ideas of the modern age and at the same time established modern natural law, which is linked to the ancient Stoic. There are rights and duties that must be taken into account by all people. Grotius names life, freedom, respect for property, fulfillment of contracts, punishment for injustice. These demands and obligations live in the human being, they are, as it were, natural characteristics of him. Man is not a wild animal, a wolf, as Hobbes will later formulate it, but a rational being, not bad but good; his innermost drive is not egoism, but the drive to socialize, the Appetitus societatis: not selfishness and the will to power, but sympathy, altruism, the affection for one's neighbor. The commonalities of all people - above all reason and language, the universal means of communication - speak for this image of man; only error - like pernicious Machiavellianism - can fail to recognize it. In Machiavellianism, not only is a false theory set up, but people are influenced in the most dangerous way: they become wolves if they are told that they are wolves.

Since, according to the view of natural law, good dispositions are equally common to all people, no one can evade the obligations arising therefrom, not even princes and kings. The rulers do not have their power to turn them against each other, not as a means of state reason to wage wars, but solely to maintain the legal order in their sovereign territory. Between them, between the states, there is also a law based on nature, international law, which is based above all on the old Roman sentence: "Pacta sunt servanda", Contracts are to be kept. Grotius rebuked the overgrown, unlawful relations of the states of that time in peace and war with painfully moved disposition. He appealed to the Christian powers to be guided by law and reason. The ancient traditions of the Corpus christianum joined in Grotius with modern cosmopolitan ideals. He recommended that the European princes hold regular meetings to settle their disputes and, if necessary, establish a common power to maintain law and peace: Thoughts, de, more than three centuries ago, the International Court of Arbitration, the League of Nations and prepared the UN Army.

With these ideas Hugo de Groot initiated one of the great thought movements that pervade the modern age. He opposed the Machiavellian politics of the sovereign power state to the ideas based on humanistic and Christian currents that the law was autonomous be and to control all relationships between individuals and peoples. Grotius, the active politician, did not present his thesis as an unworldly utopian. He knew that international law and reasons of state are in a natural competition: that international law directs and restricts the reason of state. wants to suppress, while the reason of state lures against the sting, declares itself to be independent and even seeks to degrade the law to the means of their selfish ends. Grotius was known that it often means Sisyphean work, what international law does in the struggle with state power. And yet he took the Fight to demand peace and justice on earth and to improve the political conditions, if not immediately into paradisiacal ones. He knew that nothing more obliges people to do good than by the true or supposed knowledge that they are inherently good; they - do the good when they think it is natural to do it.

With these thoughts and endeavors, Hugo Grotius, as Dilthey says, has become "one of the purest, noblest and most effective people" of the 17th century, which is so rich in contradictions, but for us a personality who showed many of the ideas of which we were in the Distress of Hope for salvation in the present.