Total Posts:22|Showing Posts:1-22
Jump to topic:

As a leader, better to be loved or hated?

TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

What do people think?
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/27/2014 1:00:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's better to be loved, because if they like you, that means you are acting according to their best interest, or at least they believe this to be the case.
A leader has a responsibility to his or her subjects, and that power should never be abused.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/27/2014 7:39:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
That depends on which foundation your power rests. A democratic leader must be loved, or at least seen as the lesser of all available evils. An autocratic leader must be feared, and Machiavelli famously explained why:

"Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. For of men it may generally be affirmed, that they are thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain, devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them, and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant, to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property, their lives, and their children for you; but in the hour of need they turn against you. The Prince, therefore, who without otherwise securing himself builds wholly on their professions is undone. For the friendships which we buy with a price, and do not gain by greatness and nobility of character, though they be fairly earned are not made good, but fail us when we have occasion to use them.

Moreover, men are less careful how they offend him who makes himself loved than him who makes himself feared. For love is held by the tie of obligation, which, because men are a sorry breed, is broken on every whisper of private interest; but fear is bound by the apprehension of punishment which never relaxes its grasp."
- The Prince -

This phenomenon is one of the reasons that Machiavelli supported a republican form of government and fought tooth and nail to replace the Italian principalities with one. It's also why the US constitution originally avoided the direct application of democratic power: in order that their leaders would be insulated from public opinion and have the power to act, but still ultimately be accountable to the people, lest they seek to rule through fear.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
imabench
Posts: 21,206
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/27/2014 8:31:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's better to be hated Imo because 1) you can do what you think is best without fearing losing reelection since you ALREADY won't be reelected, and 2) people who are loved eventually white themselves out to keep the love from the public....
Kevin24018 : "He's just so mean it makes me want to ball up my fists and stamp on the ground"

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies

DDO: THE MOVIE = http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

VP of DDO from Dec 14th 2014 to Jan 1st 2015
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/28/2014 11:56:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 1:00:12 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
It's better to be loved, because if they like you, that means you are acting according to their best interest, or at least they believe this to be the case.
A leader has a responsibility to his or her subjects, and that power should never be abused.

I'm sorry but I didn't state the leader's purpose. The assumption is that the leader wants to choose the most expedient method so he can attain control.

Assume the goal is to maintain control. Should it be via love or fear?

Look at North Korea. You can say that Kim Jong Un and his predecessor did an excellent job. They run the country with fear and it's very unlikely that they will lose power in the foreseeable future.

But, then look at contrast to France during the French revolution. King Louis XVI

You can also see the current control that the wealthy elite has over society. The wealthy elite essentially controls through love. The masses have been brainwashed into believing that free markets and capitalism are the bedrock of our society. These institutions allegedly protect us rather than oppress us. Although this love relationship has worked for a long time, it isn't as strong as ruling with fear as we see the occasional protest like Occupy Wall St.

Neither method, love or fear is always right. It depends upon how much power you wield.

So, let's apply this to real world examples. For China's ruling class, if they want to continue their rule, they need to ratchet up the oppressive policies rather than allowing their people additional civil rights. (Of course, morally, I oppose this.) For the US, the ruling elite needs to win over us by love because they aren't in the position to wield a huge amount of power over us.

In a corporate setting, if you know the employee has no other job prospects, you need to show you're the boss. Don't concede to their demands and display strong power. But, if the employee has the possibility to move jobs, you need to win them over with love (salary, job titles, etc.).
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/28/2014 11:58:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 7:39:57 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
That depends on which foundation your power rests. A democratic leader must be loved, or at least seen as the lesser of all available evils. An autocratic leader must be feared, and Machiavelli famously explained why:

"Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. For of men it may generally be affirmed, that they are thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain, devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them, and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant, to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property, their lives, and their children for you; but in the hour of need they turn against you. The Prince, therefore, who without otherwise securing himself builds wholly on their professions is undone. For the friendships which we buy with a price, and do not gain by greatness and nobility of character, though they be fairly earned are not made good, but fail us when we have occasion to use them.

Moreover, men are less careful how they offend him who makes himself loved than him who makes himself feared. For love is held by the tie of obligation, which, because men are a sorry breed, is broken on every whisper of private interest; but fear is bound by the apprehension of punishment which never relaxes its grasp."
- The Prince -

This phenomenon is one of the reasons that Machiavelli supported a republican form of government and fought tooth and nail to replace the Italian principalities with one. It's also why the US constitution originally avoided the direct application of democratic power: in order that their leaders would be insulated from public opinion and have the power to act, but still ultimately be accountable to the people, lest they seek to rule through fear.

A democratic leader by definition needs to use love because a lot of power is given to each citizen. But, with respect to autocratic leaders, it can go both ways. It depends upon the power position of the leader. Unless the leader has a huge advantage, love is the answer.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/28/2014 9:06:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 11:58:40 AM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
At 12/27/2014 7:39:57 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
That depends on which foundation your power rests. A democratic leader must be loved, or at least seen as the lesser of all available evils. An autocratic leader must be feared, and Machiavelli famously explained why:

"Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. For of men it may generally be affirmed, that they are thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain, devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them, and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant, to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property, their lives, and their children for you; but in the hour of need they turn against you. The Prince, therefore, who without otherwise securing himself builds wholly on their professions is undone. For the friendships which we buy with a price, and do not gain by greatness and nobility of character, though they be fairly earned are not made good, but fail us when we have occasion to use them.

Moreover, men are less careful how they offend him who makes himself loved than him who makes himself feared. For love is held by the tie of obligation, which, because men are a sorry breed, is broken on every whisper of private interest; but fear is bound by the apprehension of punishment which never relaxes its grasp."
- The Prince -

This phenomenon is one of the reasons that Machiavelli supported a republican form of government and fought tooth and nail to replace the Italian principalities with one. It's also why the US constitution originally avoided the direct application of democratic power: in order that their leaders would be insulated from public opinion and have the power to act, but still ultimately be accountable to the people, lest they seek to rule through fear.

A democratic leader by definition needs to use love because a lot of power is given to each citizen. But, with respect to autocratic leaders, it can go both ways. It depends upon the power position of the leader. Unless the leader has a huge advantage, love is the answer.

If that were true, monarchy would be a much less bloodstained form of government. Machiavelli doesn't state that it's impossible to rule through love as an autocrat, just that rule through love is fickle, that fear is more reliable, and will eventually be chosen more often because it is a more effective way of control. History supports his theory, and he cites historical example to prove so quite often in his works. If love were the superior means through which an autocracy exercised its power, they would probably kill far fewer people.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/28/2014 9:31:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

What do people think?

I would disagree. We should first presume that all other factors are even. Is a leader a more effective leader when he is loved (or at least positively liked) or hated (usually referred to as "feared").

Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it is a temporary motivator. It cannot establish a long term seat of leadership, though it can be effective for a temporary thing when there is a single goal to achieve.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Bennett91
Posts: 4,205
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/28/2014 9:37:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I don't quite think this scenario follows so easily as you say. People tend not to like being conquered. If both sides were on equal footing the defending side would have no reason to negotiate let alone surrender peacefully because they could stand a chance in battle. As for the smaller defender, negotiation would be best as you say because you have the upper hand in case negotiations go sour. However if the tale of La Numancia is any indication about human nature, it may not be so cut and dry what a weaker opponent might do in desperation.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

Yes this idea may make sense when you're dealing with others, but isn't the OP about being a leader?

What do people think?

I think it's better to be loved. Love inspires loyalty whereas fear may seed distrust and plots against you. As Yoda says "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate" and that hate may ferment a rebellion against you. On the battle field if your men fear the enemy just as much as you they may just run away entirely, but if your men love you, they'll fight to the death. Also in the movie 300 I remember Leonidas saying something about how an army of slaves is no match for free greek men. I think this goes to my point that voluntary service is more powerful than forced service. Despite the pop culture references I think it's something to consider.
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 6:24:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 9:31:04 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

What do people think?

I would disagree. We should first presume that all other factors are even. Is a leader a more effective leader when he is loved (or at least positively liked) or hated (usually referred to as "feared").

Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it is a temporary motivator. It cannot establish a long term seat of leadership, though it can be effective for a temporary thing when there is a single goal to achieve.

Temporary motivator? How about Mao? North Korea's dynasty? Castro? These can be pretty long-term.
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 6:28:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 9:37:03 PM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I don't quite think this scenario follows so easily as you say. People tend not to like being conquered. If both sides were on equal footing the defending side would have no reason to negotiate let alone surrender peacefully because they could stand a chance in battle. As for the smaller defender, negotiation would be best as you say because you have the upper hand in case negotiations go sour. However if the tale of La Numancia is any indication about human nature, it may not be so cut and dry what a weaker opponent might do in desperation.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

Yes this idea may make sense when you're dealing with others, but isn't the OP about being a leader?

What do people think?

I think it's better to be loved. Love inspires loyalty whereas fear may seed distrust and plots against you. As Yoda says "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate" and that hate may ferment a rebellion against you. On the battle field if your men fear the enemy just as much as you they may just run away entirely, but if your men love you, they'll fight to the death. Also in the movie 300 I remember Leonidas saying something about how an army of slaves is no match for free greek men. I think this goes to my point that voluntary service is more powerful than forced service. Despite the pop culture references I think it's something to consider.

Yoda and Leonidas were fictional characters. Not sure if you should believe that anything they said would occur in real life...
Bennett91
Posts: 4,205
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 7:09:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 6:28:30 AM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
At 12/28/2014 9:37:03 PM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I don't quite think this scenario follows so easily as you say. People tend not to like being conquered. If both sides were on equal footing the defending side would have no reason to negotiate let alone surrender peacefully because they could stand a chance in battle. As for the smaller defender, negotiation would be best as you say because you have the upper hand in case negotiations go sour. However if the tale of La Numancia is any indication about human nature, it may not be so cut and dry what a weaker opponent might do in desperation.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

Yes this idea may make sense when you're dealing with others, but isn't the OP about being a leader?

What do people think?

I think it's better to be loved. Love inspires loyalty whereas fear may seed distrust and plots against you. As Yoda says "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate" and that hate may ferment a rebellion against you. On the battle field if your men fear the enemy just as much as you they may just run away entirely, but if your men love you, they'll fight to the death. Also in the movie 300 I remember Leonidas saying something about how an army of slaves is no match for free greek men. I think this goes to my point that voluntary service is more powerful than forced service. Despite the pop culture references I think it's something to consider.

Yoda and Leonidas were fictional characters. Not sure if you should believe that anything they said would occur in real life...

Art still contains wisdom and can reflect aspects of life. I'm a little disappointed that's all you had to say.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 7:56:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 6:24:53 AM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
At 12/28/2014 9:31:04 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

What do people think?

I would disagree. We should first presume that all other factors are even. Is a leader a more effective leader when he is loved (or at least positively liked) or hated (usually referred to as "feared").

Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it is a temporary motivator. It cannot establish a long term seat of leadership, though it can be effective for a temporary thing when there is a single goal to achieve.

Temporary motivator? How about Mao? North Korea's dynasty? Castro? These can be pretty long-term.

How well did that work out for them?
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 8:00:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The most powerful man in the world is still just a man. Who'd want to look out upon a million million men everyday thinking "All I have in this world is my cattle prod".
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 10:56:43 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 7:56:10 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 12/29/2014 6:24:53 AM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:

Temporary motivator? How about Mao? North Korea's dynasty? Castro? These can be pretty long-term.

How well did that work out for them?

Hm...pretty well. There wasn't any threat to their power during their lifetimes.

I just realized that in modern times, if an autocrat wants to maintain power, it's the easiest in history. For example, I could foresee North Korea remaining under a dictatorship indefinitely if the leader and his successors so desired. On the other hand, look at Ghengis Khan who had conquered the most land in history. Despite his brilliance and vast superior military strength, his rule was constantly threatened by logistics - city-states would periodically revolt. But, with roads, instantaneous communication, and advanced military tech, Ghengis Khan would not have those problems today.
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/29/2014 11:38:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

What do people think?

I think there's some disconnect in the analogies you've provided.

In both cases you've presented a situation where an individual has the overwhelming advantage and decides to use threats or force to achieve their goal. The other situation is where both sides are evenly matched, so it's better to not use as much force as before.

That's not really equatable to a situation in which an individual is a leader and is wondering if it's better to be loved or hated, and so the analogies provided aren't applicable to the question. Regardless of whether the leader has power or not, it is better to have influence among the leader's people.

Even leaders with great power have fallen due to disorder from within. This, in fact, was something that the Romans feared the most. They were terrified by the thought of rebellion, disorder, and intrinsic attacks, and rightly so. Most tyrannical governments interestingly fall apart, and it usually occurs with instability within the inner workings of the government or its people.

Consequently, it would appear that it is far better to be popular among one's subjects as opposed to hated. This leads to less likely scenarios of rebellion and social instability, which can often be more dangerous than external threats. How can you battle your enemies if you can't even stand to fight?
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/30/2014 8:58:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 11:38:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 12/27/2014 12:22:00 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:
This is a common question that's asked in middle school when we start learning about philosophies such as Machiavelli. But, after 20 years, I think I've come with my own theory. And, I'm just testing it out.

When the balance of power is strongly in favor of the leader, it's more expedient to go in with force. When the balance of power is even or when the leader is at a disadvantage, it's better to go with love or persuasion.

For example, if you're an invading general in front of a castle, if your army can easily overwhelm the opponents, demand outrageous terms and they will surrender quickly. However, if the sides are more balanced, the general needs to take a more political approach. If you threaten in the latter scenario, it's human nature to fight back when you have a fighting chance.

I think this concept can be extended to our everyday life. When you're arguing with someone, if you have an overwhelming advantage, it's better to bluster and threaten. They will concede to your arguments faster than if you try to convince them. But, if you do this when the two sides of an argument aren't so clear cut, poor manners will lead to a protracted standoff.

What do people think?

I think there's some disconnect in the analogies you've provided.

In both cases you've presented a situation where an individual has the overwhelming advantage and decides to use threats or force to achieve their goal. The other situation is where both sides are evenly matched, so it's better to not use as much force as before.

That's not really equatable to a situation in which an individual is a leader and is wondering if it's better to be loved or hated, and so the analogies provided aren't applicable to the question. Regardless of whether the leader has power or not, it is better to have influence among the leader's people.

Even leaders with great power have fallen due to disorder from within. This, in fact, was something that the Romans feared the most. They were terrified by the thought of rebellion, disorder, and intrinsic attacks, and rightly so. Most tyrannical governments interestingly fall apart, and it usually occurs with instability within the inner workings of the government or its people.

Consequently, it would appear that it is far better to be popular among one's subjects as opposed to hated. This leads to less likely scenarios of rebellion and social instability, which can often be more dangerous than external threats. How can you battle your enemies if you can't even stand to fight?

In my previous comments, I mentioned that in situations like the Roman empire, they do not have overwhelming power due to logistics. However, this can be alleviated somewhat. For example, Ghenghis Khan would take over a city and then advance without leaving any troops. However, occasionally, the city would then take the opportunity to rebel. Then, Khan would go back and literally wipe out the entire city - men, woman, and children. (Strangely, Khan is glorified.) This would establish a reputation that he could not be crossed. So whether to be loved or feared isn't so clear cut. With respect to Khan's goal of conquering the most land, fear was clearly the most expedient. However, long-term, it wasn't as the dynasty fell apart.

However, look at North Korea today. Fear has worked long-term. This is due to technology which circumvents the problems of old. Troops can move quickly and info can be passed instantaneously. (This is a valid argument that guns aren't going to do squat for the people if the army takes control.) The balance of power has become more lopsided...
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/30/2014 5:27:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 8:58:13 AM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:

However, look at North Korea today. Fear has worked long-term. This is due to technology which circumvents the problems of old. Troops can move quickly and info can be passed instantaneously. (This is a valid argument that guns aren't going to do squat for the people if the army takes control.) The balance of power has become more lopsided...

True, but there's no guarantee that this kind of system will last forever. It would be far more effective if the leader was loved by the people; otherwise, the leader must spend much time and energy into maintaining the fearful regime. A well-liked leader, on the other hand, does not have to spend as much energy or resources into being well-liked by the people, since it is easier to maintain a good public image than to make sure there are absolutely no factions that oppose you (rather, have the power to oppose you). If just a single opposing faction arises and grabs some power, the tyrannical rule will eventually fall apart. Conversely, you only have to be popular with the majority or a significant part of a population if you desire to be well-liked.
TryingToBeOpenMinded
Posts: 201
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/30/2014 6:17:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 5:27:36 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 12/30/2014 8:58:13 AM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:

However, look at North Korea today. Fear has worked long-term. This is due to technology which circumvents the problems of old. Troops can move quickly and info can be passed instantaneously. (This is a valid argument that guns aren't going to do squat for the people if the army takes control.) The balance of power has become more lopsided...

True, but there's no guarantee that this kind of system will last forever. It would be far more effective if the leader was loved by the people; otherwise, the leader must spend much time and energy into maintaining the fearful regime. A well-liked leader, on the other hand, does not have to spend as much energy or resources into being well-liked by the people, since it is easier to maintain a good public image than to make sure there are absolutely no factions that oppose you (rather, have the power to oppose you). If just a single opposing faction arises and grabs some power, the tyrannical rule will eventually fall apart. Conversely, you only have to be popular with the majority or a significant part of a population if you desire to be well-liked.

Uh....I think that North Korea, China, Vietnam, Cuba, USSR, Nazi Germany, etc. all ruled by fear and it looks like all these systems could have lasted forever if it wanted to. Saddam Hussein's control was never in question throughout his reign. Fear was the most expedient and strongest tool.

Cite some historical examples that support your theory because I think you're missing the dynamic between fear and love. Love is a lot harder to achieve and takes a lot of time and energy.
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
12/30/2014 10:30:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 6:17:14 PM, TryingToBeOpenMinded wrote:

Uh....I think that North Korea, China, Vietnam, Cuba, USSR, Nazi Germany, etc. all ruled by fear and it looks like all these systems could have lasted forever if it wanted to. Saddam Hussein's control was never in question throughout his reign. Fear was the most expedient and strongest tool.

Cite some historical examples that support your theory because I think you're missing the dynamic between fear and love. Love is a lot harder to achieve and takes a lot of time and energy.

In Nazi Germany, Hitler was actually quite popular on his rise to power. Propaganda and his charismatic behavior led to many Germans "loving" more than "hating" him. As I said, the leader doesn't have to be loved by everyone - he can be loved just by a majority.

Vietnam was divided into the North and South and was rather unstable due to constant interference from other countries and internal conflicts. In South Vietnam, Diem was pretty tyrannical and killed everyone who opposed him. Well, that didn't work out for him and he ended up getting assassinated. I don't think that's exactly a good example of how ruling through fear is successful.

I don't remember too much about the USSR, but I do know that Stalin ruled by fear and under his rule everything pretty much sucked. After some research, his ruling led to famine, many rebellious factions, and hundreds of executions. He admittedly set up a strong industrial economy, but that heavily relied on the fact that war was coming. Didn't really matter though, since during the war the economy was wrecked again. And isn't it true that one of the primary reasons the USSR fell apart was due to the fact that they went broke?

Anyway, the point is that ruling through fear only works if:

1. You've got the technology and resources available. You made that clear with North Korea, which is more successful than other failed governments which rule through fear.

2. You manage to quell the people and instill so much fear into them that you're in complete control and there aren't any significant opposing factions against you. Once those rise up, the people can have something to turn to and fight back with, and a regime of fear will become tumultuous.

Essentially, we have a situation where ruling through fear will lead to instability in social order and will lead to rebellions; however, this can be delayed with proper resources and technology (how long it will delay it, we don't know). Of course, now that humanity has developed that level of technology, we have to realize that other countries are more cognizant of what goes around us, and so will interfere if other countries step out of their bounds. Eventually, if North Korea does something that prompts other governments into serious action, who knows what will happen? If it leads to war, then it demonstrates once again that ruling through fear is not effective.

In modern times, a tyrannical government is too hard to maintain. Constant interference from foreign countries and assemblies combined with social unrest (depending on the country your in) isn't good. A republic or democratic country where the leader(s) have a significant portion of approval of the population is far more effective and less likely to lead to hostile relations with other nations.