What is Machiavellianism ?
Machiavellianism is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, ” the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct “. The term derives from the name of Italian politician and author Niccolo Machiavelli ( 1469 -1527 ). He was the Italian Renaissance diplomat, who wrote Il Prince ( The Prince ), among other works. The word has a similar use in modern psychology where it describes one of the dark triad personalities, characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal style associated with cynical beliefs and pragmatic morality. ” Machiavellian ” as a word became very popular in the late 16th century in English, though ” Machiavellianism ” itself is first cited by the Oxford English Dictionary from 1626. It is also a term that some social and personality psychologists use to describe a person’s tendency to be unemotional, and therefore able to detach him or herself from conventional morality and hence to deceive and manipulate others. It is a widely used negative term to characterize unscrupulous politicians of the sort Machiavelli described in The Prince. The book itself gained enormous notoriety and wide readership because the author seemed to be endorsing behavior often deemed as evil and immoral. Because of this, the term ” Machiavellian ” is often associated with deceit, deviousness, ambition, and brutality.