Friday, November 6, 2015

Machiavelli on the danger of believing exiles

Via In Defense of the Late Ahmad Chalabi:
chapter 31 of Niccolò Machiavelli’s book Discourses on Livy, “How Dangerous It Is to Believe Exiles”: 
"How dangerous a thing it is to believe those who have been driven out of their country. … Such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself. … A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left either with shame or very grave injury."