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Four Outrages Techies Need To Know About the State of the Union

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the state-wants-a-bbq-sub dept.

Democrats 489

Mr.Intel writes "Last night's State of the Union Address contained ten things (and four outrages) technical professionals need to know about the President's plans, and how his policies might affect you, your employer, and your family well into the future."

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The Prince (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35010894)


By Niccolò Machiavelli


All states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities.

Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been long established; or they are new.

The new are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or they are, as it were, members annexed to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain.

Such dominions thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom; and are acquired either by the arms of the prince himself, or of others, or else by fortune or by ability.


I will leave out all discussion on republics, inasmuch as in another place I have written of them at length, and will address myself only to principalities. In doing so I will keep to the order indicated above, and discuss how such principalities are to be ruled and preserved.

I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding hereditary states, and those long accustomed to the family of their prince, than new ones; for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of his ancestors, and to deal prudently with circumstances as they arise, for a prince of average powers to maintain himself in his state, unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force; and if he should be so deprived of it, whenever anything sinister happens to the usurper, he will regain it.

We have in Italy, for example, the Duke of Ferrara, who could not have withstood the attacks of the Venetians in '84, nor those of Pope Julius in '10, unless he had been long established in his dominions. For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend; hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him; and in the antiquity and duration of his rule the memories and motives that make for change are lost, for one change always leaves the toothing for another.


But the difficulties occur in a new principality. And firstly, if it be not entirely new, but is, as it were, a member of a state which, taken collectively, may be called composite, the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities; for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. This follows also on another natural and common necessity, which always causes a new prince to burden those who have submitted to him with his soldiery and with infinite other hardships which he must put upon his new acquisition.

In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and you are not able to keep those friends who put you there because of your not being able to satisfy them in the way they expected, and you cannot take strong measures against them, feeling bound to them. For, although one may be very strong in armed forces, yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives.

For these reasons Louis the Twelfth, King of France, quickly occupied Milan, and as quickly lost it; and to turn him out the first time it only needed Lodovico's own forces; because those who had opened the gates to him, finding themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit, would not endure the ill-treatment of the new prince. It is very true that, after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time, they are not so lightly lost afterwards, because the prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents, to clear out the suspects, and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. Thus to cause France to lose Milan the first time it was enough for the Duke Lodovico to raise insurrections on the borders; but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world against him, and that his armies should be defeated and driven out of Italy; which followed from the causes above mentioned.

Nevertheless Milan was taken from France both the first and the second time. The general reasons for the first have been discussed; it remains to name those for the second, and to see what resources he had, and what any one in his situation would have had for maintaining himself more securely in his acquisition than did the King of France.

Now I say that those dominions which, when acquired, are added to an ancient state by him who acquires them, are either of the same country and language, or they are not. When they are, it is easier to hold them, especially when they have not been accustomed to self-government; and to hold them securely it is enough to have destroyed the family of the prince who was ruling them; because the two peoples, preserving in other things the old conditions, and not being unlike in customs, will live quietly together, as one has seen in Brittany, Burgundy, Gascony, and Normandy, which have been bound to France for so long a time: and, although there may be some difference in language, nevertheless the customs are alike, and the people will easily be able to get on amongst themselves. He who has annexed them, if he wishes to hold them, has only to bear in mind two considerations: the one, that the family of their former lord is extinguished; the other, that neither their laws nor their taxes are altered, so that in a very short time they will become entirely one body with the old principality.

But when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. This would make his position more secure and durable, as it has made that of the Turk in Greece, who, notwithstanding all the other measures taken by him for holding that state, if he had not settled there, would not have been able to keep it. Because, if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them. Besides this, the country is not pillaged by your officials; the subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince; thus, wishing to be good, they have more cause to love him, and wishing to be otherwise, to fear him. He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution; as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty.

The other and better course is to send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, for it is necessary either to do this or else to keep there a great number of cavalry and infantry. A prince does not spend much on colonies, for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there, and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled. In conclusion, I say that these colonies are not costly, they are more faithful, they injure less, and the injured, as has been said, being poor and scattered, cannot hurt. Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.

But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more, having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state, so that the acquisition turns into a loss, and many more are exasperated, because the whole state is injured; through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship, and all become hostile, and they are enemies who, whilst beaten on their own ground, are yet able to do hurt. For every reason, therefore, such guards are as useless as a colony is useful.

Again, the prince who holds a country differing in the above respects ought to make himself the head and defender of his less powerful neighbours, and to weaken the more powerful amongst them, taking care that no foreigner as powerful as himself shall, by any accident, get a footing there; for it will always happen that such a one will be introduced by those who are discontented, either through excess of ambition or through fear, as one has seen already. The Romans were brought into Greece by the Aetolians; and in every other country where they obtained a footing they were brought in by the inhabitants. And the usual course of affairs is that, as soon as a powerful foreigner enters a country, all the subject states are drawn to him, moved by the hatred which they feel against the ruling power. So that in respect to those subject states he has not to take any trouble to gain them over to himself, for the whole of them quickly rally to the state which he has acquired there. He has only to take care that they do not get hold of too much power and too much authority, and then with his own forces, and with their goodwill, he can easily keep down the more powerful of them, so as to remain entirely master in the country. And he who does not properly manage this business will soon lose what he has acquired, and whilst he does hold it he will have endless difficulties and troubles.

The Romans, in the countries which they annexed, observed closely these measures; they sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with the minor powers, without increasing their strength; they kept down the greater, and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority. Greece appears to me sufficient for an example. The Achaeans and Aetolians were kept friendly by them, the kingdom of Macedonia was humbled, Antiochus was driven out; yet the merits of the Achaeans and Aetolians never secured for them permission to increase their power, nor did the persuasions of Philip ever induce the Romans to be his friends without first humbling him, nor did the influence of Antiochus make them agree that he should retain any lordship over the country. Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. This it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only to be put off to the advantage of others; moreover they wished to fight with Philip and Antiochus in Greece so as not to have to do it in Italy; they could have avoided both, but this they did not wish; nor did that ever please them which is for ever in the mouths of the wise ones of our time:--Let us enjoy the benefits of the time--but rather the benefits of their own valour and prudence, for time drives everything before it, and is able to bring with it good as well as evil, and evil as well as good.

But let us turn to France and inquire whether she has done any of the things mentioned. I will speak of Louis (and not of Charles)(+) as the one whose conduct is the better to be observed, he having held possession of Italy for the longest period; and you will see that he has done the opposite to those things which ought to be done to retain a state composed of divers elements.

King Louis was brought into Italy by the ambition of the Venetians, who desired to obtain half the state of Lombardy by his intervention. I will not blame the course taken by the king, because, wishing to get a foothold in Italy, and having no friends there--seeing rather that every door was shut to him owing to the conduct of Charles--he was forced to accept those friendships which he could get, and he would have succeeded very quickly in his design if in other matters he had not made some mistakes. The king, however, having acquired Lombardy, regained at once the authority which Charles had lost: Genoa yielded; the Florentines became his friends; the Marquess of Mantua, the Duke of Ferrara, the Bentivogli, my lady of Forli, the Lords of Faenza, of Pesaro, of Rimini, of Camerino, of Piombino, the Lucchese, the Pisans, the Sienese--everybody made advances to him to become his friend. Then could the Venetians realize the rashness of the course taken by them, which, in order that they might secure two towns in Lombardy, had made the king master of two-thirds of Italy.

Let any one now consider with what little difficulty the king could have maintained his position in Italy had he observed the rules above laid down, and kept all his friends secure and protected; for although they were numerous they were both weak and timid, some afraid of the Church, some of the Venetians, and thus they would always have been forced to stand in with him, and by their means he could easily have made himself secure against those who remained powerful. But he was no sooner in Milan than he did the contrary by assisting Pope Alexander to occupy the Romagna. It never occurred to him that by this action he was weakening himself, depriving himself of friends and of those who had thrown themselves into his lap, whilst he aggrandized the Church by adding much temporal power to the spiritual, thus giving it greater authority. And having committed this prime error, he was obliged to follow it up, so much so that, to put an end to the ambition of Alexander, and to prevent his becoming the master of Tuscany, he was himself forced to come into Italy.

And as if it were not enough to have aggrandized the Church, and deprived himself of friends, he, wishing to have the kingdom of Naples, divides it with the King of Spain, and where he was the prime arbiter in Italy he takes an associate, so that the ambitious of that country and the malcontents of his own should have somewhere to shelter; and whereas he could have left in the kingdom his own pensioner as king, he drove him out, to put one there who was able to drive him, Louis, out in turn.

The wish to acquire is in truth very natural and common, and men always do so when they can, and for this they will be praised not blamed; but when they cannot do so, yet wish to do so by any means, then there is folly and blame. Therefore, if France could have attacked Naples with her own forces she ought to have done so; if she could not, then she ought not to have divided it. And if the partition which she made with the Venetians in Lombardy was justified by the excuse that by it she got a foothold in Italy, this other partition merited blame, for it had not the excuse of that necessity.

Therefore Louis made these five errors: he destroyed the minor powers, he increased the strength of one of the greater powers in Italy, he brought in a foreign power, he did not settle in the country, he did not send colonies. Which errors, had he lived, were not enough to injure him had he not made a sixth by taking away their dominions from the Venetians; because, had he not aggrandized the Church, nor brought Spain into Italy, it would have been very reasonable and necessary to humble them; but having first taken these steps, he ought never to have consented to their ruin, for they, being powerful, would always have kept off others from designs on Lombardy, to which the Venetians would never have consented except to become masters themselves there; also because the others would not wish to take Lombardy from France in order to give it to the Venetians, and to run counter to both they would not have had the courage.

And if any one should say: "King Louis yielded the Romagna to Alexander and the kingdom to Spain to avoid war," I answer for the reasons given above that a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to your disadvantage. And if another should allege the pledge which the king had given to the Pope that he would assist him in the enterprise, in exchange for the dissolution of his marriage and for the cap to Rouen,(+) to that I reply what I shall write later on concerning the faith of princes, and how it ought to be kept.

Thus King Louis lost Lombardy by not having followed any of the conditions observed by those who have taken possession of countries and wished to retain them. Nor is there any miracle in this, but much that is reasonable and quite natural. And on these matters I spoke at Nantes with Rouen, when Valentino, as Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander, was usually called, occupied the Romagna, and on Cardinal Rouen observing to me that the Italians did not understand war, I replied to him that the French did not understand statecraft, meaning that otherwise they would not have allowed the Church to reach such greatness. And in fact is has been seen that the greatness of the Church and of Spain in Italy has been caused by France, and her ruin may be attributed to them. From this a general rule is drawn which never or rarely fails: that he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because that predominancy has been brought about either by astuteness or else by force, and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power.


Considering the difficulties which men have had to hold to a newly acquired state, some might wonder how, seeing that Alexander the Great became the master of Asia in a few years, and died whilst it was scarcely settled (whence it might appear reasonable that the whole empire would have rebelled), nevertheless his successors maintained themselves, and had to meet no other difficulty than that which arose among themselves from their own ambitions.

I answer that the principalities of which one has record are found to be governed in two different ways; either by a prince, with a body of servants, who assist him to govern the kingdom as ministers by his favour and permission; or by a prince and barons, who hold that dignity by antiquity of blood and not by the grace of the prince. Such barons have states and their own subjects, who recognize them as lords and hold them in natural affection. Those states that are governed by a prince and his servants hold their prince in more consideration, because in all the country there is no one who is recognized as superior to him, and if they yield obedience to another they do it as to a minister and official, and they do not bear him any particular affection.

The examples of these two governments in our time are the Turk and the King of France. The entire monarchy of the Turk is governed by one lord, the others are his servants; and, dividing his kingdom into sanjaks, he sends there different administrators, and shifts and changes them as he chooses. But the King of France is placed in the midst of an ancient body of lords, acknowledged by their own subjects, and beloved by them; they have their own prerogatives, nor can the king take these away except at his peril. Therefore, he who considers both of these states will recognize great difficulties in seizing the state of the Turk, but, once it is conquered, great ease in holding it. The causes of the difficulties in seizing the kingdom of the Turk are that the usurper cannot be called in by the princes of the kingdom, nor can he hope to be assisted in his designs by the revolt of those whom the lord has around him. This arises from the reasons given above; for his ministers, being all slaves and bondmen, can only be corrupted with great difficulty, and one can expect little advantage from them when they have been corrupted, as they cannot carry the people with them, for the reasons assigned. Hence, he who attacks the Turk must bear in mind that he will find him united, and he will have to rely more on his own strength than on the revolt of others; but, if once the Turk has been conquered, and routed in the field in such a way that he cannot replace his armies, there is nothing to fear but the family of this prince, and, this being exterminated, there remains no one to fear, the others having no credit with the people; and as the conqueror did not rely on them before his victory, so he ought not to fear them after it.

The contrary happens in kingdoms governed like that of France, because one can easily enter there by gaining over some baron of the kingdom, for one always finds malcontents and such as desire a change. Such men, for the reasons given, can open the way into the state and render the victory easy; but if you wish to hold it afterwards, you meet with infinite difficulties, both from those who have assisted you and from those you have crushed. Nor is it enough for you to have exterminated the family of the prince, because the lords that remain make themselves the heads of fresh movements against you, and as you are unable either to satisfy or exterminate them, that state is lost whenever time brings the opportunity.

Now if you will consider what was the nature of the government of Darius, you will find it similar to the kingdom of the Turk, and therefore it was only necessary for Alexander, first to overthrow him in the field, and then to take the country from him. After which victory, Darius being killed, the state remained secure to Alexander, for the above reasons. And if his successors had been united they would have enjoyed it securely and at their ease, for there were no tumults raised in the kingdom except those they provoked themselves.

But it is impossible to hold with such tranquillity states constituted like that of France. Hence arose those frequent rebellions against the Romans in Spain, France, and Greece, owing to the many principalities there were in these states, of which, as long as the memory of them endured, the Romans always held an insecure possession; but with the power and long continuance of the empire the memory of them passed away, and the Romans then became secure possessors. And when fighting afterwards amongst themselves, each one was able to attach to himself his own parts of the country, according to the authority he had assumed there; and the family of the former lord being exterminated, none other than the Romans were acknowledged.

When these things are remembered no one will marvel at the ease with which Alexander held the Empire of Asia, or at the difficulties which others have had to keep an acquisition, such as Pyrrhus and many more; this is not occasioned by the little or abundance of ability in the conqueror, but by the want of uniformity in the subject state.


Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you. Because such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest, and does it utmost to support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way.

There are, for example, the Spartans and the Romans. The Spartans held Athens and Thebes, establishing there an oligarchy, nevertheless they lost them. The Romans, in order to hold Capua, Carthage, and Numantia, dismantled them, and did not lose them. They wished to hold Greece as the Spartans held it, making it free and permitting its laws, and did not succeed. So to hold it they were compelled to dismantle many cities in the country, for in truth there is no safe way to retain them otherwise than by ruining them. And he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always the watchword of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget. And whatever you may do or provide against, they never forget that name or their privileges unless they are disunited or dispersed, but at every chance they immediately rally to them, as Pisa after the hundred years she had been held in bondage by the Florentines.

But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince, and his family is exterminated, they, being on the one hand accustomed to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince, cannot agree in making one from amongst themselves, and they do not know how to govern themselves. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms, and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more easily. But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there.


Let no one be surprised if, in speaking of entirely new principalities as I shall do, I adduce the highest examples both of prince and of state; because men, walking almost always in paths beaten by others, and following by imitation their deeds, are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.

I say, therefore, that in entirely new principalities, where there is a new prince, more or less difficulty is found in keeping them, accordingly as there is more or less ability in him who has acquired the state. Now, as the fact of becoming a prince from a private station presupposes either ability or fortune, it is clear that one or other of these things will mitigate in some degree many difficulties. Nevertheless, he who has relied least on fortune is established the strongest. Further, it facilitates matters when the prince, having no other state, is compelled to reside there in person.

But to come to those who, by their own ability and not through fortune, have risen to be princes, I say that Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and such like are the most excellent examples. And although one may not discuss Moses, he having been a mere executor of the will of God, yet he ought to be admired, if only for that favour which made him worthy to speak with God. But in considering Cyrus and others who have acquired or founded kingdoms, all will be found admirable; and if their particular deeds and conduct shall be considered, they will not be found inferior to those of Moses, although he had so great a preceptor. And in examining their actions and lives one cannot see that they owed anything to fortune beyond opportunity, which brought them the material to mould into the form which seemed best to them. Without that opportunity their powers of mind would have been extinguished, and without those powers the opportunity would have come in vain.

It was necessary, therefore, to Moses that he should find the people of Israel in Egypt enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians, in order that they should be disposed to follow him so as to be delivered out of bondage. It was necessary that Romulus should not remain in Alba, and that he should be abandoned at his birth, in order that he should become King of Rome and founder of the fatherland. It was necessary that Cyrus should find the Persians discontented with the government of the Medes, and the Medes soft and effeminate through their long peace. Theseus could not have shown his ability had he not found the Athenians dispersed. These opportunities, therefore, made those men fortunate, and their high ability enabled them to recognize the opportunity whereby their country was ennobled and made famous.

Those who by valorous ways become princes, like these men, acquire a principality with difficulty, but they keep it with ease. The difficulties they have in acquiring it rise in part from the new rules and methods which they are forced to introduce to establish their government and its security. And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them.

It is necessary, therefore, if we desire to discuss this matter thoroughly, to inquire whether these innovators can rely on themselves or have to depend on others: that is to say, whether, to consummate their enterprise, have they to use prayers or can they use force? In the first instance they always succeed badly, and never compass anything; but when they can rely on themselves and use force, then they are rarely endangered. Hence it is that all armed prophets have conquered, and the unarmed ones have been destroyed. Besides the reasons mentioned, the nature of the people is variable, and whilst it is easy to persuade them, it is difficult to fix them in that persuasion. And thus it is necessary to take such measures that, when they believe no longer, it may be possible to make them believe by force.

If Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long--as happened in our time to Fra Girolamo Savonarola, who was ruined with his new order of things immediately the multitude believed in him no longer, and he had no means of keeping steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe. Therefore such as these have great difficulties in consummating their enterprise, for all their dangers are in the ascent, yet with ability they will overcome them; but when these are overcome, and those who envied them their success are exterminated, they will begin to be respected, and they will continue afterwards powerful, secure, honoured, and happy.

To these great examples I wish to add a lesser one; still it bears some resemblance to them, and I wish it to suffice me for all of a like kind: it is Hiero the Syracusan. This man rose from a private station to be Prince of Syracuse, nor did he, either, owe anything to fortune but opportunity; for the Syracusans, being oppressed, chose him for their captain, afterwards he was rewarded by being made their prince. He was of so great ability, even as a private citizen, that one who writes of him says he wanted nothing but a kingdom to be a king. This man abolished the old soldiery, organized the new, gave up old alliances, made new ones; and as he had his own soldiers and allies, on such foundations he was able to build any edifice: thus, whilst he had endured much trouble in acquiring, he had but little in keeping.


Those who solely by good fortune become princes from being private citizens have little trouble in rising, but much in keeping atop; they have not any difficulties on the way up, because they fly, but they have many when they reach the summit. Such are those to whom some state is given either for money or by the favour of him who bestows it; as happened to many in Greece, in the cities of Ionia and of the Hellespont, where princes were made by Darius, in order that they might hold the cities both for his security and his glory; as also were those emperors who, by the corruption of the soldiers, from being citizens came to empire. Such stand simply elevated upon the goodwill and the fortune of him who has elevated them--two most inconstant and unstable things. Neither have they the knowledge requisite for the position; because, unless they are men of great worth and ability, it is not reasonable to expect that they should know how to command, having always lived in a private condition; besides, they cannot hold it because they have not forces which they can keep friendly and faithful.

States that rise unexpectedly, then, like all other things in nature which are born and grow rapidly, cannot leave their foundations and correspondencies fixed in such a way that the first storm will not overthrow them; unless, as is said, those who unexpectedly become princes are men of so much ability that they know they have to be prepared at once to hold that which fortune has thrown into their laps, and that those foundations, which others have laid BEFORE they became princes, they must lay AFTERWARDS.

Concerning these two methods of rising to be a prince by ability or fortune, I wish to adduce two examples within our own recollection, and these are Francesco Sforza and Cesare Borgia. Francesco, by proper means and with great ability, from being a private person rose to be Duke of Milan, and that which he had acquired with a thousand anxieties he kept with little trouble. On the other hand, Cesare Borgia, called by the people Duke Valentino, acquired his state during the ascendancy of his father, and on its decline he lost it, notwithstanding that he had taken every measure and done all that ought to be done by a wise and able man to fix firmly his roots in the states which the arms and fortunes of others had bestowed on him.

Because, as is stated above, he who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building. If, therefore, all the steps taken by the duke be considered, it will be seen that he laid solid foundations for his future power, and I do not consider it superfluous to discuss them, because I do not know what better precepts to give a new prince than the example of his actions; and if his dispositions were of no avail, that was not his fault, but the extraordinary and extreme malignity of fortune.

Alexander the Sixth, in wishing to aggrandize the duke, his son, had many immediate and prospective difficulties. Firstly, he did not see his way to make him master of any state that was not a state of the Church; and if he was willing to rob the Church he knew that the Duke of Milan and the Venetians would not consent, because Faenza and Rimini were already under the protection of the Venetians. Besides this, he saw the arms of Italy, especially those by which he might have been assisted, in hands that would fear the aggrandizement of the Pope, namely, the Orsini and the Colonnesi and their following. It behoved him, therefore, to upset this state of affairs and embroil the powers, so as to make himself securely master of part of their states. This was easy for him to do, because he found the Venetians, moved by other reasons, inclined to bring back the French into Italy; he would not only not oppose this, but he would render it more easy by dissolving the former marriage of King Louis. Therefore the king came into Italy with the assistance of the Venetians and the consent of Alexander. He was no sooner in Milan than the Pope had soldiers from him for the attempt on the Romagna, which yielded to him on the reputation of the king. The duke, therefore, having acquired the Romagna and beaten the Colonnesi, while wishing to hold that and to advance further, was hindered by two things: the one, his forces did not appear loyal to him, the other, the goodwill of France: that is to say, he feared that the forces of the Orsini, which he was using, would not stand to him, that not only might they hinder him from winning more, but might themselves seize what he had won, and that the king might also do the same. Of the Orsini he had a warning when, after taking Faenza and attacking Bologna, he saw them go very unwillingly to that attack. And as to the king, he learned his mind when he himself, after taking the Duchy of Urbino, attacked Tuscany, and the king made him desist from that undertaking; hence the duke decided to depend no more upon the arms and the luck of others.

For the first thing he weakened the Orsini and Colonnesi parties in Rome, by gaining to himself all their adherents who were gentlemen, making them his gentlemen, giving them good pay, and, according to their rank, honouring them with office and command in such a way that in a few months all attachment to the factions was destroyed and turned entirely to the duke. After this he awaited an opportunity to crush the Orsini, having scattered the adherents of the Colonna house. This came to him soon and he used it well; for the Orsini, perceiving at length that the aggrandizement of the duke and the Church was ruin to them, called a meeting of the Magione in Perugia. From this sprung the rebellion at Urbino and the tumults in the Romagna, with endless dangers to the duke, all of which he overcame with the help of the French. Having restored his authority, not to leave it at risk by trusting either to the French or other outside forces, he had recourse to his wiles, and he knew so well how to conceal his mind that, by the mediation of Signor Pagolo--whom the duke did not fail to secure with all kinds of attention, giving him money, apparel, and horses--the Orsini were reconciled, so that their simplicity brought them into his power at Sinigalia. Having exterminated the leaders, and turned their partisans into his friends, the duke laid sufficiently good foundations to his power, having all the Romagna and the Duchy of Urbino; and the people now beginning to appreciate their prosperity, he gained them all over to himself. And as this point is worthy of notice, and to be imitated by others, I am not willing to leave it out.

When the duke occupied the Romagna he found it under the rule of weak masters, who rather plundered their subjects than ruled them, and gave them more cause for disunion than for union, so that the country was full of robbery, quarrels, and every kind of violence; and so, wishing to bring back peace and obedience to authority, he considered it necessary to give it a good governor. Thereupon he promoted Messer Ramiro d'Orco, a swift and cruel man, to whom he gave the fullest power. This man in a short time restored peace and unity with the greatest success. Afterwards the duke considered that it was not advisable to confer such excessive authority, for he had no doubt but that he would become odious, so he set up a court of judgment in the country, under a most excellent president, wherein all cities had their advocates. And because he knew that the past severity had caused some hatred against himself, so, to clear himself in the minds of the people, and gain them entirely to himself, he desired to show that, if any cruelty had been practised, it had not originated with him, but in the natural sternness of the minister. Under this pretence he took Ramiro, and one morning caused him to be executed and left on the piazza at Cesena with the block and a bloody knife at his side. The barbarity of this spectacle caused the people to be at once satisfied and dismayed.

But let us return whence we started. I say that the duke, finding himself now sufficiently powerful and partly secured from immediate dangers by having armed himself in his own way, and having in a great measure crushed those forces in his vicinity that could injure him if he wished to proceed with his conquest, had next to consider France, for he knew that the king, who too late was aware of his mistake, would not support him. And from this time he began to seek new alliances and to temporize with France in the expedition which she was making towards the kingdom of Naples against the Spaniards who were besieging Gaeta. It was his intention to secure himself against them, and this he would have quickly accomplished had Alexander lived.

Such was his line of action as to present affairs. But as to the future he had to fear, in the first place, that a new successor to the Church might not be friendly to him and might seek to take from him that which Alexander had given him, so he decided to act in four ways. Firstly, by exterminating the families of those lords whom he had despoiled, so as to take away that pretext from the Pope. Secondly, by winning to himself all the gentlemen of Rome, so as to be able to curb the Pope with their aid, as has been observed. Thirdly, by converting the college more to himself. Fourthly, by acquiring so much power before the Pope should die that he could by his own measures resist the first shock. Of these four things, at the death of Alexander, he had accomplished three. For he had killed as many of the dispossessed lords as he could lay hands on, and few had escaped; he had won over the Roman gentlemen, and he had the most numerous party in the college. And as to any fresh acquisition, he intended to become master of Tuscany, for he already possessed Perugia and Piombino, and Pisa was under his protection. And as he had no longer to study France (for the French were already driven out of the kingdom of Naples by the Spaniards, and in this way both were compelled to buy his goodwill), he pounced down upon Pisa. After this, Lucca and Siena yielded at once, partly through hatred and partly through fear of the Florentines; and the Florentines would have had no remedy had he continued to prosper, as he was prospering the year that Alexander died, for he had acquired so much power and reputation that he would have stood by himself, and no longer have depended on the luck and the forces of others, but solely on his own power and ability.

But Alexander died five years after he had first drawn the sword. He left the duke with the state of Romagna alone consolidated, with the rest in the air, between two most powerful hostile armies, and sick unto death. Yet there were in the duke such boldness and ability, and he knew so well how men are to be won or lost, and so firm were the foundations which in so short a time he had laid, that if he had not had those armies on his back, or if he had been in good health, he would have overcome all difficulties. And it is seen that his foundations were good, for the Romagna awaited him for more than a month. In Rome, although but half alive, he remained secure; and whilst the Baglioni, the Vitelli, and the Orsini might come to Rome, they could not effect anything against him. If he could not have made Pope him whom he wished, at least the one whom he did not wish would not have been elected. But if he had been in sound health at the death of Alexander, everything would have been different to him. On the day that Julius the Second(+) was elected, he told me that he had thought of everything that might occur at the death of his father, and had provided a remedy for all, except that he had never anticipated that, when the death did happen, he himself would be on the point to die.

When all the actions of the duke are recalled, I do not know how to blame him, but rather it appears to be, as I have said, that I ought to offer him for imitation to all those who, by the fortune or the arms of others, are raised to government. Because he, having a lofty spirit and far-reaching aims, could not have regulated his conduct otherwise, and only the shortness of the life of Alexander and his own sickness frustrated his designs. Therefore, he who considers it necessary to secure himself in his new principality, to win friends, to overcome either by force or fraud, to make himself beloved and feared by the people, to be followed and revered by the soldiers, to exterminate those who have power or reason to hurt him, to change the old order of things for new, to be severe and gracious, magnanimous and liberal, to destroy a disloyal soldiery and to create new, to maintain friendship with kings and princes in such a way that they must help him with zeal and offend with caution, cannot find a more lively example than the actions of this man.

Only can he be blamed for the election of Julius the Second, in whom he made a bad choice, because, as is said, not being able to elect a Pope to his own mind, he could have hindered any other from being elected Pope; and he ought never to have consented to the election of any cardinal whom he had injured or who had cause to fear him if they became pontiffs. For men injure either from fear or hatred. Those whom he had injured, amongst others, were San Pietro ad Vincula, Colonna, San Giorgio, and Ascanio. The rest, in becoming Pope, had to fear him, Rouen and the Spaniards excepted; the latter from their relationship and obligations, the former from his influence, the kingdom of France having relations with him. Therefore, above everything, the duke ought to have created a Spaniard Pope, and, failing him, he ought to have consented to Rouen and not San Pietro ad Vincula. He who believes that new benefits will cause great personages to forget old injuries is deceived. Therefore, the duke erred in his choice, and it was the cause of his ultimate ruin.


Although a prince may rise from a private station in two ways, neither of which can be entirely attributed to fortune or genius, yet it is manifest to me that I must not be silent on them, although one could be more copiously treated when I discuss republics. These methods are when, either by some wicked or nefarious ways, one ascends to the principality, or when by the favour of his fellow-citizens a private person becomes the prince of his country. And speaking of the first method, it will be illustrated by two examples--one ancient, the other modern--and without entering further into the subject, I consider these two examples will suffice those who may be compelled to follow them.

Agathocles, the Sicilian, became King of Syracuse not only from a private but from a low and abject position. This man, the son of a potter, through all the changes in his fortunes always led an infamous life. Nevertheless, he accompanied his infamies with so much ability of mind and body that, having devoted himself to the military profession, he rose through its ranks to be Praetor of Syracuse. Being established in that position, and having deliberately resolved to make himself prince and to seize by violence, without obligation to others, that which had been conceded to him by assent, he came to an understanding for this purpose with Amilcar, the Carthaginian, who, with his army, was fighting in Sicily. One morning he assembled the people and the senate of Syracuse, as if he had to discuss with them things relating to the Republic, and at a given signal the soldiers killed all the senators and the richest of the people; these dead, he seized and held the princedom of that city without any civil commotion. And although he was twice routed by the Carthaginians, and ultimately besieged, yet not only was he able to defend his city, but leaving part of his men for its defence, with the others he attacked Africa, and in a short time raised the siege of Syracuse. The Carthaginians, reduced to extreme necessity, were compelled to come to terms with Agathocles, and, leaving Sicily to him, had to be content with the possession of Africa.

Therefore, he who considers the actions and the genius of this man will see nothing, or little, which can be attributed to fortune, inasmuch as he attained pre-eminence, as is shown above, not by the favour of any one, but step by step in the military profession, which steps were gained with a thousand troubles and perils, and were afterwards boldly held by him with many hazardous dangers. Yet it cannot be called talent to slay fellow-citizens, to deceive friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion; such methods may gain empire, but not glory. Still, if the courage of Agathocles in entering into and extricating himself from dangers be considered, together with his greatness of mind in enduring and overcoming hardships, it cannot be seen why he should be esteemed less than the most notable captain. Nevertheless, his barbarous cruelty and inhumanity with infinite wickedness do not permit him to be celebrated among the most excellent men. What he achieved cannot be attributed either to fortune or genius.

In our times, during the rule of Alexander the Sixth, Oliverotto da Fermo, having been left an orphan many years before, was brought up by his maternal uncle, Giovanni Fogliani, and in the early days of his youth sent to fight under Pagolo Vitelli, that, being trained under his discipline, he might attain some high position in the military profession. After Pagolo died, he fought under his brother Vitellozzo, and in a very short time, being endowed with wit and a vigorous body and mind, he became the first man in his profession. But it appearing a paltry thing to serve under others, he resolved, with the aid of some citizens of Fermo, to whom the slavery of their country was dearer than its liberty, and with the help of the Vitelleschi, to seize Fermo. So he wrote to Giovanni Fogliani that, having been away from home for many years, he wished to visit him and his city, and in some measure to look upon his patrimony; and although he had not laboured to acquire anything except honour, yet, in order that the citizens should see he had not spent his time in vain, he desired to come honourably, so would be accompanied by one hundred horsemen, his friends and retainers; and he entreated Giovanni to arrange that he should be received honourably by the Fermians, all of which would be not only to his honour, but also to that of Giovanni himself, who had brought him up.

Giovanni, therefore, did not fail in any attentions due to his nephew, and he caused him to be honourably received by the Fermians, and he lodged him in his own house, where, having passed some days, and having arranged what was necessary for his wicked designs, Oliverotto gave a solemn banquet to which he invited Giovanni Fogliani and the chiefs of Fermo. When the viands and all the other entertainments that are usual in such banquets were finished, Oliverotto artfully began certain grave discourses, speaking of the greatness of Pope Alexander and his son Cesare, and of their enterprises, to which discourse Giovanni and others answered; but he rose at once, saying that such matters ought to be discussed in a more private place, and he betook himself to a chamber, whither Giovanni and the rest of the citizens went in after him. No sooner were they seated than soldiers issued from secret places and slaughtered Giovanni and the rest. After these murders Oliverotto, mounted on horseback, rode up and down the town and besieged the chief magistrate in the palace, so that in fear the people were forced to obey him, and to form a government, of which he made himself the prince. He killed all the malcontents who were able to injure him, and strengthened himself with new civil and military ordinances, in such a way that, in the year during which he held the principality, not only was he secure in the city of Fermo, but he had become formidable to all his neighbours. And his destruction would have been as difficult as that of Agathocles if he had not allowed himself to be overreached by Cesare Borgia, who took him with the Orsini and Vitelli at Sinigalia, as was stated above. Thus one year after he had committed this parricide, he was strangled, together with Vitellozzo, whom he had made his leader in valour and wickedness.

Some may wonder how it can happen that Agathocles, and his like, after infinite treacheries and cruelties, should live for long secure in his country, and defend himself from external enemies, and never be conspired against by his own citizens; seeing that many others, by means of cruelty, have never been able even in peaceful times to hold the state, still less in the doubtful times of war. I believe that this follows from severities being badly or properly used. Those may be called properly used, if of evil it is possible to speak well, that are applied at one blow and are necessary to one's security, and that are not persisted in afterwards unless they can be turned to the advantage of the subjects. The badly employed are those which, notwithstanding they may be few in the commencement, multiply with time rather than decrease. Those who practise the first system are able, by aid of God or man, to mitigate in some degree their rule, as Agathocles did. It is impossible for those who follow the other to maintain themselves.

Hence it is to be remarked that, in seizing a state, the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict, and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily; and thus by not unsettling men he will be able to reassure them, and win them to himself by benefits. He who does otherwise, either from timidity or evil advice, is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand; neither can he rely on his subjects, nor can they attach themselves to him, owing to their continued and repeated wrongs. For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavour of them may last longer. And above all things, a prince ought to live amongst his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances, whether of good or evil, shall make him change; because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times, you are too late for harsh measures; and mild ones will not help you, for they will be considered as forced from you, and no one will be under any obligation to you for them.


But coming to the other point--where a leading citizen becomes the prince of his country, not by wickedness or any intolerable violence, but by the favour of his fellow citizens--this may be called a civil principality: nor is genius or fortune altogether necessary to attain to it, but rather a happy shrewdness. I say then that such a principality is obtained either by the favour of the people or by the favour of the nobles. Because in all cities these two distinct parties are found, and from this it arises that the people do not wish to be ruled nor oppressed by the nobles, and the nobles wish to rule and oppress the people; and from these two opposite desires there arises in cities one of three results, either a principality, self-government, or anarchy.

A principality is created either by the people or by the nobles, accordingly as one or other of them has the opportunity; for the nobles, seeing they cannot withstand the people, begin to cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and they make him a prince, so that under his shadow they can give vent to their ambitions. The people, finding they cannot resist the nobles, also cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and make him a prince so as to be defended by his authority. He who obtains sovereignty by the assistance of the nobles maintains himself with more difficulty than he who comes to it by the aid of the people, because the former finds himself with many around him who consider themselves his equals, and because of this he can neither rule nor manage them to his liking. But he who reaches sovereignty by popular favour finds himself alone, and has none around him, or few, who are not prepared to obey him.

Besides this, one cannot by fair dealing, and without injury to others, satisfy the nobles, but you can satisfy the people, for their object is more righteous than that of the nobles, the latter wishing to oppress, while the former only desire not to be oppressed. It is to be added also that a prince can never secure himself against a hostile people, because of their being too many, whilst from the nobles he can secure himself, as they are few in number. The worst that a prince may expect from a hostile people is to be abandoned by them; but from hostile nobles he has not only to fear abandonment, but also that they will rise against him; for they, being in these affairs more far-seeing and astute, always come forward in time to save themselves, and to obtain favours from him whom they expect to prevail. Further, the prince is compelled to live always with the same people, but he can do well without the same nobles, being able to make and unmake them daily, and to give or take away authority when it pleases him.

Therefore, to make this point clearer, I say that the nobles ought to be looked at mainly in two ways: that is to say, they either shape their course in such a way as binds them entirely to your fortune, or they do not. Those who so bind themselves, and are not rapacious, ought to be honoured and loved; those who do not bind themselves may be dealt with in two ways; they may fail to do this through pusillanimity and a natural want of courage, in which case you ought to make use of them, especially of those who are of good counsel; and thus, whilst in prosperity you honour them, in adversity you do not have to fear them. But when for their own ambitious ends they shun binding themselves, it is a token that they are giving more thought to themselves than to you, and a prince ought to guard against such, and to fear them as if they were open enemies, because in adversity they always help to ruin him.

Therefore, one who becomes a prince through the favour of the people ought to keep them friendly, and this he can easily do seeing they only ask not to be oppressed by him. But one who, in opposition to the people, becomes a prince by the favour of the nobles, ought, above everything, to seek to win the people over to himself, and this he may easily do if he takes them under his protection. Because men, when they receive good from him of whom they were expecting evil, are bound more closely to their benefactor; thus the people quickly become more devoted to him than if he had been raised to the principality by their favours; and the prince can win their affections in many ways, but as these vary according to the circumstances one cannot give fixed rules, so I omit them; but, I repeat, it is necessary for a prince to have the people friendly, otherwise he has no security in adversity.

Nabis, Prince of the Spartans, sustained the attack of all Greece, and of a victorious Roman army, and against them he defended his country and his government; and for the overcoming of this peril it was only necessary for him to make himself secure against a few, but this would not have been sufficient had the people been hostile. And do not let any one impugn this statement with the trite proverb that "He who builds on the people, builds on the mud," for this is true when a private citizen makes a foundation there, and persuades himself that the people will free him when he is oppressed by his enemies or by the magistrates; wherein he would find himself very often deceived, as happened to the Gracchi in Rome and to Messer Giorgio Scali(+) in Florence. But granted a prince who has established himself as above, who can command, and is a man of courage, undismayed in adversity, who does not fail in other qualifications, and who, by his resolution and energy, keeps the whole people encouraged--such a one will never find himself deceived in them, and it will be shown that he has laid his foundations well.

These principalities are liable to danger when they are passing from the civil to the absolute order of government, for such princes either rule personally or through magistrates. In the latter case their government is weaker and more insecure, because it rests entirely on the goodwill of those citizens who are raised to the magistracy, and who, especially in troubled times, can destroy the government with great ease, either by intrigue or open defiance; and the prince has not the chance amid tumults to exercise absolute authority, because the citizens and subjects, accustomed to receive orders from magistrates, are not of a mind to obey him amid these confusions, and there will always be in doubtful times a scarcity of men whom he can trust. For such a prince cannot rely upon what he observes in quiet times, when citizens have need of the state, because then every one agrees with him; they all promise, and when death is far distant they all wish to die for him; but in troubled times, when the state has need of its citizens, then he finds but few. And so much the more is this experiment dangerous, inasmuch as it can only be tried once. Therefore a wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of the state and of him, and then he will always find them faithful.


It is necessary to consider another point in examining the character of these principalities: that is, whether a prince has such power that, in case of need, he can support himself with his own resources, or whether he has always need of the assistance of others. And to make this quite clear I say that I consider those who are able to support themselves by their own resources who can, either by abundance of men or money, raise a sufficient army to join battle against any one who comes to attack them; and I consider those always to have need of others who cannot show themselves against the enemy in the field, but are forced to defend themselves by sheltering behind walls. The first case has been discussed, but we will speak of it again should it recur. In the second case one can say nothing except to encourage such princes to provision and fortify their towns, and not on any account to defend the country. And whoever shall fortify his town well, and shall have managed the other concerns of his subjects in the way stated above, and to be often repeated, will never be attacked without great caution, for men are always adverse to enterprises where difficulties can be seen, and it will be seen not to be an easy thing to attack one who has his town well fortified, and is not hated by his people.

The cities of Germany are absolutely free, they own but little country around them, and they yield obedien

Re:The Prince (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010972)


Re:The Prince (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011030)


Blah blah blah (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010914)

The same old tired promises we've been hearing since 2007. Where's the beef?

Re:Blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35010946)

...Or, rather, where's the cream filling?

Re:Blah blah blah (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010966)

Creme-filled beef?

Re:Blah blah blah (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011330)

More importantly where is the Crème fraiche!!!

Re:Blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35010986)

...Or, rather, where's the happy ending?

Re:Blah blah blah (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011056)

The same old tired promises we've been hearing since 1790.


OMG! Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011312)

OMG, you mean a politician might not be living up to his promises?!?!! Holy shit!

When will people learn to stop believing politicians from the beginning instead of pretending like it is some sort of surprise that they let you down after you bend over and vote for them?

There is exactly one qualification for becoming an elected politician: a deep, all-consuming lust for power. That's it.

Politicians (of any party or none, it makes absolutely no difference) make promises for exactly one reason: to help them get into and maintain power. The only incentive they ever have to keep a promise is if for some reason their propaganda machine isn't working properly and they feel a need to impress a few voters.

If you want a politician that isn't going to fail you, then the only recourse is open source governance. Your other alternative is to keep voting for politicians and wondering why they keep screwing you over.

Huh? (5, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010962)

I read the article, I don't see anything specific to techies. Actually that whole article headline sounds like an article out of People magazine. What's going on here?

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010988)

We got a president out of People magazine.

Re:Huh? (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011294)

Sarah Palin was only running for VP and she lost.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011384)

He said "People." You're thinking of "Jugs."

Re:Huh? (1)

ornil (33732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011000)

Hear, hear! Complete waste of time.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011014)

I just loved the fact the headline was written as if they were facts, and then it was really just that guy's take on things. Blah not worth the time to click all 3 short pages

Re:Huh? (2)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011074)

The speech is just an abstract. A brief synopsis of where the country has been and where he wants to see it go. To drill down you need to do a large amount of research.

Re:Huh? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011280)

The only decent part is #8 on the third page.

He points out that what Michele Bachmann (yes, that crazy, crazy bitch) made sense or at least one sentence out of her whole response did.

"We need to start making things again in this country."

And then there's some other stuff but mostly that. Promoting broadband access without mention of Net Neutrality, joked about high-speed rail not needing TSA grope-a-thons, and that old bullshit line about energy independence (by 2035, 80% of energy will be clean).

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011388)

TSA pat-downs are less necessary for trains than planes simply because trains can't be redirected into, say, large office buildings or nuclear plants. They're kind of stuck on the rails.

The above is not to say there can't be plenty of trouble a dedicated terrorist can cause with a passenger train (I could probably come up with a couple of dozen "train hijacking" films), but external damage is a bit more limited. High-speed trains, in particular, are going to need dedicated rail lines, so it would be hard to even crash them into freight trains with hazardous chemicals, say.

Re:Huh? (0)

vvortex3 (566904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011284)

What an amateur and failed attempt to affect my opinion.

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011322)

Not to mention that his final "outrage" was a dude's tie. Seriously? It's a fucking tie. It's fucking cosmetic. If someone wears a tie that wouldn't have been your choice, shut the fuck up and dislike their tie in quiet. Considering that the author previously (and correctly) picked on the immaturity of Congress members, the immature action of calling someone's tie an "outrage" is highly ironic.

More like WTF? (1)

TerraByte13 (629370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011426)

Yeah, read it an concluded WTF? I am traumatized by this outrageous title!

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35010990)

Too bad the Slashdot redesign didn't include new story editors.....

Riduculous (1, Interesting)

X_DARK_X (1881648) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010994)

Wow, I didn't even bother to read past the first page. You Mr Gewirtz is an idiot. The era of being able to provide for your family by standing all day pushing a button, getting off at 4pm and drinking all night with buddies is over, Industrial revolution, is over. Your ideology is stupid. I think you are afraid that with out mfg jobs everyone will be a geek like you, and you wont be soo freaking special, you looser.

Re:Riduculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011172)

At least he's special enough to spell "loser".

Re:Riduculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011214)

Maybe he's an advocate of loose things. You know, loose women, loose clothes, making him a "looser."

Re:Riduculous (0)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011206)

looser is an adjective

The other demolished man (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011274)

Looser, said the Loser.

Re:Riduculous (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011474)

You have an awfully low opinion of assembly line workers. I would encourage you to meet one. Then you'd appreciate the physical effort required to meet an extremely strict work schedule, and maintain attention and energy for an entire work day in less than comfortable conditions.

Sure, it's not an intellectually demanding field, and we suffer an intelligence deficit as a result of most jobs not stimulating intellect, but these people worked hard for their meager pay.

The real issue with manufacturing jobs is labor rights -- in other countries. By allowing manufacturing to go overseas we lose control over employers and they are free to create sweatshop conditions. There have been some good signs in that this issue is becoming an item often addressed in trade agreements, but keeping a manufacturing base here in this country is important so that we can continue to be good example of how to employ physical/dexterity labor without abusing workers.

If we just let other countries with low standards completely take over manufacturing, there will be no progress towards more complex automation. Slaves are still cheaper for most tasks than either autonomous or piloted robot labor -- automation itself has not reached the economy of scale needed to truly end the need for "industrial revolution" style jobs. And AI will take longer than scaling up robot production, so there will be a need for piloting, and the world won't starve for lack of a few good "button pushers."

How can we out-innovate? (2, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#35010998)

How can we out innovate when large corporations are selling technology to foreign countries? Think GE selling jet engine designs to China so they can get some short term profit. True, that's stuff that's already been "innovated", but unless you can know and sustain your rate of innovation you should not help the competition.

Re:How can we out-innovate? (4, Insightful)

crumbz (41803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011060)

The logic that we need to compete with workers who are poorly paid, who live and work in an environmental nightmare, is ridiculous.

Re:How can we out-innovate? (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011220)

I agree. How about we try to employ people in emerging, leading edge industries instead of wasting time and effort propping up mature, minimally skilled ones?

Re:How can we out-innovate? (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011394)

Do you think that jet turbines, or manufacturing, as a whole is something "mature, minimally skilled"? It takes a lot of skill to use special welds, operate machinery designed for competitive grain growth for turbine blades, and so on. I don't know why people look at factories with prejudice.

Re:How can we out-innovate? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011400)

And apparently we need to do it by selling out US tech workers and subsidizing dangerous, low-skill manufacturing*.

*hamburger manufacturing

Re:How can we out-innovate? (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011096)

Not mention China making components for wind turbines. Alternative energy will enrich China.

Re:How can we out-innovate? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011366)

How can we out innovate when large corporations are selling technology to foreign countries?

Innovation has little to do with selling what you've already innovated. Being proprietary might increase the learning curve for a while to give you a bit more time but it's like security through obscurity - it's not a sustainable strategy.

The sad thing is that this is the same stuff (i.e., innovation and education) that's been said by each President since the days of RW Regan. We still don't have a coherent nationwide industrial or education policy to back the drive for either. The thing that's never mentioned is that "innovation" is not a sustainable advantage. And it's not clear that "innovation and education" leadership is a sustainable strategy either. To think it is, you have to assume that either (1) people not in your country are, for some reason, more stupid and less creative than your people are; or (2) that your particular country is a special little snowflake that is better than the 200+ other little snowflakes competing against it on the world stage and it has a way of keeping itself being special. I really don't see either of those being true at this point.

Re:How can we out-innovate? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011482)

Asia is going to push ahead sooner or later - it's a pretty simple numbers game. Because you are right, the West doesn't have a monopoly on intelligence and creativity.

It seems to me that we would do well to plan with this in mind, rather than trying to think that somehow we need to stay "number 1". Plans need to be based on reality if they are going to have any chance of succeeding.

I thought it was interesting that you bring up a nationwide education policy. I think an argument could be made that local control is important to successful education. In fact I would argue that our largest problem is that people now look outside and up for standards and solutions. There isn't a high level of involvement where it counts most, with those directly in contact with the students.

Outrage 8? (5, Insightful)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011012)

Outrage 8: I was outraged at Outrage 2 (and some other stuff!)? Is this guy serious? The whole article just seems to be some incoherent and ill-constructed rant. As a Non-US citizen, is there some deep and meaningful message in the drivel that I'm not understanding?

Re:Outrage 8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011192)

Please excuse his incoherent and ill-constructed rant article. He's a product of the US education system.

Re:Outrage 8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011310)

Nope. This is just political drivel in response to political drivel. A complete waste of time.

Re:Outrage 8? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011362)

The whole article just seems to be some incoherent and ill-constructed rant.

So what you're saying is that it's a perfect post on /. ?

Re:Outrage 8? (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011368)

We have a long tradition of incoherent ranting in this country! The deep and meaningful message here is that people here still base their view of the country's future around 1) their wallet and 2) an arbitrary party affiliation that really has nothing to do with actual personal views.

Business as usual.

Re:Outrage 8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011376)

Considering number 10 was complaining about the speakers pink tie... it was definitely an ill-constructed rant.

Re:Outrage 8? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011380)

Yes there is.

It's that most magazines and ":news outlets" hire people that know absolutely nothing about what they speak of, yet are given print space and an air of authority so they sound like they know something.

In reality they don't. This is some dolt that has a Journalism degree and knows absolutely nothing at all about "techie stuff". Most 13 year olds would eat the man alive in a technology discussion.

Re:Outrage 8? (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011392)

As a Non-US citizen, is there some deep and meaningful message in the drivel that I'm not understanding?

As a US citizen, I can answer that for you:

No. He's a self-absorbed moronic douche bag.

Re:Outrage 8? (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011414)

As clearly evinced by that godawful glamour shot photograph pinned above his name.

Re:Outrage 8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011408)

Yes, the deep meaning is that incoherent and ill-constructed rants are what pass for deep and meaningful political discussion over here in the USA, at least these days.

Re:Outrage 8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011450)

Yeah, the author wants non-US citizens to stop making things which are useful and buy shiny things made in America which won't start.

Re:Outrage 8? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011480)

Don't you have a variety of petty hatreds that need to be satisfied? Aren't you greedy to receive (or spend) money you didn't earn? Aren't you socialized to feel the emotions you're "supposed" to feel on demand?

No? Then you'll never understand American politics.

Why do I care? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011016)

Sorry, but why should I care so much about David Gewirtz's take on the state of the union? But thanks for that deep insight on Boehner's choice of color for his tie.

Re:Why do I care? (2)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011092)

Sorry, but why should I care so much about David Gewirtz's take on the state of the union?

Because if you don't care you won't help drive up his page hits and the ad revenue for zdnet?

Link to article (5, Informative)

Jaxim (858185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011036)

I must be blind b/c I couldn't find the link to the article. I googled the post's title and found this article: [] In case someone is equally blind as me, I hope that helps.

Re:Link to article (4, Informative)

prof187 (235849) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011084)

The link is on "ten things" and is to the link you found, but the link color is apparently the same as the text color so there really isn't an indication...

Re:Link to article (1)

Jaxim (858185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011216)

I totally didn't see that. Thanks. There really out be a "Source" link at the bottom of the blurb to highlight where the URL is and to make it consistent among the many slashdot postings.

Re:Link to article (5, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011226)

but the link color is apparently the same as the text color

That's a "feature" of The New Slashdot. []

Re:Link to article (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011094)

Thanks. I thought that maybe something in the new design wasn't working in my browser.

One Outrage I agree on... (5, Insightful)

chispito (1870390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011058)

...was the President's jest that a benefit of high speed rail was the absence of a pat down. If he realizes this bothers people... why not actually address privacy rights and the out-of-control TSA in his SOTU speech instead of bringing it up and throwing it aside?

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011116)

actually, in the last 10 years, security on Amtrack has increased a lot.
the only reason we don't have patdowns yet is because we havn't had an attack. Day after some nutcase kill someone on a high speed train, we will ahve patdowns and all the rest...

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (1, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011152)

Actually, the *entire* rail thing is a fucking joke. It's ridiculously expensive and isn't all that fast. It does have to, you know, make plenty of stops. It's essentially more corporate welfare for specific companies. Americans like to talk about "high speed bullet trains", because it makes them feel all sophisticated and European, but they have no fucking clue what's really supposedly so great about it.

Also, they've already proposed greater attention to bus and rail travel, as far as security. The idea that they would somehow not impose the same violations of your liberty on trains is absurd. (And they already flag you for paying in cash for a train ticket).

The real outrage of the whole fucking thing is the idea that we're going to cut spending by spending lots of money. Fucking ridiculous. Also, no politician will ever have the balls to make the cuts needed. Dont' dare piss off anyone and their precious little programs. here's an idea. Everyone takes a 30% cut across the board. Period. And the bullshit programs get a 100% cut.

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (2)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011256)

I looked into Amtrak for a regular trip I make, which by car is 7 hours.

It would take more than 12 hours for me to go by Amtrak, and a ticket would cost more than the gas my car consumes on the same trip. That's not even including the fact that if I take a train, I won't have a car when I get there and will have to pay more for additional transport.

Long distance rail transit currently offers nothing attractive for most of us.

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (1)

TreyGeek (1391679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011204)

My thought to his "avoid the pat down" by taking the train was that will only work until trains/high-speed rail become a popular method of transportation. Then the government and the TSA will see fit to put themselves between the terrorists and the train terminals, resulting in pat downs for everyone taking the train as well as the plane.

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011342)

The difference is that 3 guys cannot commandeer a train and drive it into the Pentagon or Superbowl

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (2)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011234)

I agree. I think the reason he doesn't reign in TSA might be that most Americans like having the illusion of security to counteract their illusion that flying is dangerous.

Until somebody figures out how to explain risk management sanity in a way that fits on a bumper sticker, I fear voters will readily sacrifice their freedom for the security facade.

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (1)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011278)

I nearly drove the car off the road when I heard him throw that little "joke" out there. "Take the train, no pat downs! Hahaha, whoo boy!"

"Umm, yeah Mr. President, about those pat downs. If the lack thereof is your selling point..."

Re:One Outrage I agree on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011416)

Because that would require him to actually do something. His role is not to act, but to entertain people long enough for democrats to find a real candidate (and regain control of the house).

Not a pink tie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011062)

Boehner’s tie was purple. As in red and blue mixed.

I read nothing that should cause "outrage".

Re:Not a pink tie (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011128)

Your outrage should come from the fact that this is lame ass blog spam.

sigh (3, Insightful)

hb253 (764272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011068)

I am troubled by the wording of the headline. Am I alone in this regard?

Re:sigh (1)

Mr.Intel (165870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011288)

Unfortunately, the submission title char limits prevented me from using the whole thing. Or were you referring to the article's headline? Yeah, it's troubling. Gewirtz is a nutjob and I really didn't think Taco and co. would go for it. Silly me. Besides, the fine folks here on /. can handle it, right? Even nutjobs spur meaningful conversation.

Re:sigh (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011398)

I think he's referring to the fact that there's nothing really techie related in the entire article, despite the headline here.

Meh. (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011070)

The speech was fine I guess. Nothing that made me want to vote for him in 2012.

let's each make our own stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011080)

3d printers and open source hardware designs will make cheap labor irrelevant.

Re:let's each make our own stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011430)

But then what do you do with the irrelevant people? If we're all actually honest about the situation, we have too many people and not enough for them to do.

David Gewirtz? Who? (2)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011100)

Why do we care what David Gewirtz thinks?

His big ideas seem to be "smart" power (or smartness in general) and clean energy. In other words, the same nonsense fluff you've heard 10000 times.

Outrages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011104)

I cannot wake up in the morning with the same amount of outrage this guy seems to have. Seriously, just take a breath and relax

Re:Outrages (1)

Mr.Intel (165870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011316)

Mod parent up. I'm glad my fellow /.ers recognize him as a nutjob.

How about a global view? (1)

Tuan121 (1715852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011112)

We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world

Can't we just try to work with the rest of the world to try to make things better for everyone? I don't care if America is #1 in x y or z if the world as a whole is not advancing.

Re:How about a global view? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011188)

"It's not enough to succeed. Others must fail."
                                              -Gore Vidal

Re:How about a global view? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011268)

Out-Educate... I agree. Our education system from grade 1 to 9th year College graduate is a utter joke compared to other countries. It needs to be overhauled hard and increase the quality AND accessibility. China kicks our ass hard because ANYONE can get a masters degree. In the USA you have to be rich or have good credit to get one.

Why any child graduates high school and not have the ability to do algebra, geometry, has basic computer skills and can speak and write in 2 languages is a disgrace. There is ZERO reason to have a summer break, our kids dont need to work the farm all summer to prepare for winter. YEAR long school is long overdue.

Dubious content, poor UI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011120)

I can't decide if the new /. UI is more distracting or the dubious article selections today. Kind of a lose-lose situation.

Re:Dubious content, poor UI (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011270)

the fact that you don't think it's a loose-loose situation makes it win-win for me.

This isn't news (4, Insightful)

jjohn (2991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011132)

That article is an opinion piece. Just because that crap is on ZDnet doesn't make it news of nerds.

The most important question from TFA... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011134)

Our nation's colors are red, white, and blue. So what's with Boehner's tie?

I agree! It really clashed with his orange face.

Not tech focused. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011148)

I don't agree with his politics and absolutely none of his "outrages" were that outrageous. The speech is long and boring as it is, to include enough info so the author wouldn't be "outraged", it would be a month long speech. I hope he at least has some broken pieces of furniture or hole sin his walls where he can point to as evidence the he's really outraged. Otherwise it sounds like he's mad a s hell and not going to do anything about it except write about how mad as hell he is.

A modest proposal (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011166)

At 27, I'm a "millennial." My generation and Generation X are looking at a bleak future because of what is being done by the Boomers.

I have a simple solution: take away the Boomers' Social Security and Medicare. All of it. Keep the Boomers' parents on it. They paid in and didn't give us this situation. They passed on the baton of leadership to the Boomers around Bush Sr. and the Boomers hit prime time in the Clinton and Bush years.

I say "f#$%" them, as a generation. They want to be able to default $500k mortgages and enjoy generous pensions and Social Security when they won't even let my generation discharge a few 10s of thousands of dollars in student loans **in bankruptcy court**. They want to turn Generation X into beasts of burden to fund their benefits while my generation wallows in disproportionate unemployment?

Screw them. The revenues from taking them off the potential Social Security and Medicare rosters would more than pay off our debt in under a decade.

Re:A modest proposal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011260)

Uh, alright Hitler.

Re:A modest proposal (2)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011338)

You need to read up on how the Social Security program is actually funded, because right now you sound like an uninformed jackass.

Re:A modest proposal (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011504)

Why does he sound like a jackass? I quote funding of Social Security from wikipedia: "In 2009 the Office of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration calculated an unfunded obligation of $15.1 trillion for the Social Security program. The unfunded obligation is the difference between the present value of the cost of Social Security and the present value of the assets in the Trust Fund and the future scheduled tax income of the program.". This mean, if I read it correctly, that the amount that will be paid out, most of which is going to Boomers, far exceeds the assets in the trust fund. In fact, it exceeds it by so much that even future scheduled tax income will not cover it. The assets in the trust fund of course do not completely represent the amount of money that the Boomers paid in, since some of that money was used to pay for those before the Boomers. However, given the magnitude of the unfunded obligation, this suggests to me that the amount that has been paid in by Boomers is not sufficient to cover the amount owed to Boomers.

Even if the amount that has been paid in were sufficient to cover future obligations to that given generation, this would not at all imply that the Boomers were "owed" the money in Social Security. For years, the government has spent more than it has received. It's fine to say "but this money that is being spent (the obligations) is covered by this patch of money that is received (the OASDI taxes)", but money is totally liquid, you can account it how you like. The fact is, not enough was paid, and the younger generation is and will pay for it.

Re:A modest proposal (3, Insightful)

carpefishus (1515573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011448)

As a late boomer I love that idea. Just pay back to me what I put in adjusted for inflation, of course. I could then retire right now. If that doesn't work for you get your lazy ass back to work and pay for my retirement as I paid for your grandpas.

Re:A modest proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011490)

At 27, I'm a "millennial." My generation and Generation X are looking at a bleak future because of what is being done by the Boomers.

No your generation is looking at a bleak future because you don't vote (and then you whine about it and blame everybody but yourself).

First, he tangled with the health care industry (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011194)

and now he’s going after big oil.??

Oh puleeeze! Pull the other one.

So much bullshit... And the zombies nod their heads... *GAG!*

"outrages" (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011196)

Yeah that reminded me why I dont pay attention to anything published by ZD or "tech republic" anymore. 0% content and 20% opinion that is designed to get ad clicks.

Legalize Marijuana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011222)

Is he legalizing marijuana yet? I haven't listened to him since his election speech where I went from "the voice of a new america" to "one of those crazy on-line people".

I know, wacky idea, right? It's not like we could legalize it, tax it at a dollar a gram, and have 7.5 billion dollars in extra tax income. Plus a reduction of costs in fighting the "war on drugs". Plus, if Amsterdam-style coffeeshop laws are implemented, it would revitalize businesses. No, none of that would happen.

Wake me up when we are a real civilization. (Type 1 or above.)

idiot author (1)

hyperion2010 (1587241) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011224)

The author of this is an idiot. He may have said something reasonable in the rest of the article but:

"First, if Americans are traveling in volume via high-speed rail, then those systems will need as much security as air travel."

Anyone who thinks this is a fucking idiot and needs a strong dose of Bruce Schneier.

Using Education as an Economic Scapegoat (3, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011236)

Education has two functions:

(1) Give children sufficient information to make them better (as people and citizens of communities, cities, states, nations, and the world) than the prior generation.

(2) Give children the information required to enter the job market.

Education, and the children and teachers within, are not nor have they ever been tasked with shouldering the burden of the most in-debt and luxury-addicted nation in the world. They way education is being sold today, and now solidified by a president who's desperate to get support from the money-minded, is that we can create a Uber-WorkForce by hyper-educating, hyper-tracking, and hyper-testing our children.

"Invest in the most profitable areas of education now and we'll be rich in the future! MONEY!!!! LUXURY!!!"

This is genuinely impossible. Education cannot be treated as a competition ("Race to the Top", "Pay According to Results") and be expected to stay honest. Without honesty, we can't tell if new ideas are working. Moreover, children will eventually become normal, ordinary people with interests in love, humor, entertainment, politics, history, music, and so on... their K-12 over-education in science, technology, engineering, and math will not change them into a new generation of work-slaves.

Putting the pressure, money, and focus on such a goal will be a complete waste. Focus on making them good *people* first and foremost (education in *real* history, philosophy [including religion], sociology) while also educating them in the various ways they can earn sufficient money to live their happy lives and the rest takes care of itself.

And for the sake of cutting off some argument at the pass, I'm not advocating the cutting of STEM funding-- I'm saying that STEM subjects should not be over-invested... particularly at the cost of the education that is there to create a better society. Maybe one that doesn't allow itself to get into the mess we're in right now.

The goal of education is make good people who can be productive in the job market, not workers who are passable human beings.

real change: less pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011296)

for all of you subcontractors and government workers, in the end, this boils down to less pay for you and more pay for people in emerging technologies.
most non DHS offices live on a very tight budget as is (hence the constant subcontracting), and this move is only going to tighten the belts of the average worker, not those at the top.
government agencies that actually provide a service/product are going to lose funding so that it can be given away for social services; given to people who have no product to provide.
the hiring and salary freeze from 2 months ago already hit our office, as people are declining gov't jobs to stay as contractors. in the end, this is bad for the nation, as the gov't is now not getting the best people. contractors will come and go, and those with the best/most experience are turning down jobs because they can still get a small raise through their contractor.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35011386)

I don't have much time for fiction these days. I've come to the realization over the past month that politicians and news services don't care about truth. If they can't select facts to support their views, they will bend facts. If they can't bend facts, they will make up new ones. I don't know if this is an immutable human problem, or just a symptom of the current sad state of our world.

I would get involved, but I'm an engineer. If you don't give a damn about truth there's nothing I can do for you.

Outrage? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011436)

I RTFA and apart from the fact that it was pretty much a waste of time, I urge Mr. Gewirtz to consult a thesaurus and find some other words to use in place of 'outrage'.

Four meaningless rants to draw attention (5, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011462)

In summary, his four complaints in order were:
  • Manufacturing - and the possibility that much of it might go away for good from the US
  • TSA pat-downs at the airports and Obama not promising to make them go away for good
  • High speed wireless internet initiatives that do not explicitly include net neutrality promises from the POTUS himself
  • An energy policy with benchmarks over 20 years in the future

Now exactly why much of that matters to most "techies" is beyond me. Really most of it doesn't mattter to most techies.

However it does draw eyes to the website. And I noticed there was a Michele Bachmann ad here on slashdot last night, and this seems to go well with her sales pitch as well. Since president lawnchair has already caved to everything that the GOP has asked for to date, they need to find something to get excited about for the future.

I'll make my own political decisions thanks ... (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35011500)

Last night's State of the Union Address contained ten things (and four outrages) technical professionals need to know about the President's plans, and how his policies might affect you, your employer, and your family well into the future.

Thanks for telling me how I should feel about political issues, but go fuck yourself.

So far I've thought Obama has been a tool for most things, but useful for some. The irony of it all is, theres always someone telling me he's a bad guy for it, the only factor that determines which things are bad is the political orientation of the source.

I, nor does anyone else, need zdnet to tell me what to get pissed off about. If you weren't already upset about this things, don't be. You were ignorant before a zdnet manipulated you by carefully feeding you portions of a speech in order to promote their view point, you should stay that way. Get the truth if you can find it, but that often means you have to keep an open mind and carefully consider the source and their political agenda, but we'll all end up a whole lot better off if we start voting for politicians who actually DO what we WANT them to do, rather than telling us they'll do one thing or someone else telling us they'll be the right guy for the job.

If you want to be pissed off about what you think he's doing, fine, listen to the address and make your own decisions, but for the love of god don't go read some manipulative spew from some (especially in this case) opinion article publication presented as if its a public service announcement for the dangers coming at us from the president.

I'm not saying he didn't make some douchebag statements, but you need to make the determination about what makes him a good guy or a douche bag yourself, not because ZDNet told you too. People voting because of what someone else told us to do because of a newspaper, magazine, or TV endorsement because they are lazy and ignorant are part of the problem that put us in the mess to begin with.

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