Thursday, September 04, 2003


Raven has spent most of the morning deeply immersed in Maquiavelli’s THE PRINCE, from time to time shrieking out “Aha!”, and cackling uproariously at apparently crucial moments in the text.

Fun, is he, Rave?

Raven comes up for air from a particularly prolonged cackle, wiping a tear from one of his beady eyes.

“Reading the gems in this book is more fun than picking raisins out of the raisin bread from Supermaxi.”

Really? Would you mind sharing a few of those jewels of Renaissance wisdom?

“I’m more than happy to oblige. What if I read some of the classic examples of uncommon common sense, and we decide who among our contemporary “princes” we can apply those comments to?”

Fire away, guy.

“Okay. ‘When a prince finds himself effectively bathed in popularity’—I’m translating pretty freely from Spanish here—‘he should not be too afraid of being conspired against. But if instead of affection, he inspires hatred, the attitudes of the people can be terrible. Sensible governments and prudent princes will attend to pleasing the nobles, but they must exhaust all means to keep the people satisfied. This is one of the points that must never be forgotten.’”

Hmmm. If we apply that to the current imperial model—there are no “nobles”, but there are folks who wield an undue influence—the Petrocriminals, for example—a category which includes 90% of the Bush Gang, including “His Highness George W.” To those folks he has handed over the Keys to the Kingdom—ionospherically lucrative “reconstructive” contracts in Iraq, for example.

“Nice phrase—Keys to the Kingdom”. And what about the part of Maquiavelli’s comment that he said never should be forgotten?”

You mean keeping the people satisfied?

“Precisely. What is the Bush government doing to keep the people satisfied?”

Giving huge tax cuts?

“I don’t think you’re getting this. Those enormous tax cuts didn’t go to the people, but to the “nobles”.

Oh yeah. I knew that. How about slashing social, health and educational programs?

“Now there you ARE talking about actions directed towards the people. But I seriously doubt that those actions have resulted in a widespread feeling of satisfaction.”

Maybe not. How about making big bankrupt companies find the money that disappeared from people’s pension funds?

Raven narrows his eyes, sighs deeply.

“I don’t remember that anybody did that. I think George W just patted Kenny Boy on the back for that one. I’m afraid the satisfaction level is low among those people, too.”

I know. What about all those Middle America moms and dads who have been receiving surprise packages from Iraq?

“If you are referring to their sons coming home in body bags, I think their satisfaction level is particularly low. You’re not even catching the basic concept here. You could be one of Maquiavelli’s examples of how NOT to be an effective Prince, I think.”

I thought we were talking about Bush, Rave.

“I guess we were. If Maquiavelli were alive today, he’s be spinning in his grave.”

Raven lets out a buzzard-sized shriek. Tears fill his eyes again.

That was a Bushism, right?

“Right up there with knowing how hard it was to put food on his family. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery.”

Maquiavelli again?

Raven gives me a baleful stare from a Kleenex-cleansed eye.

“Uh—I don’t think so….”


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