I suppose that it is fairly cliche for a freshman college student to want to talk about Machiavelli but we are going to do just that anyway.
In my Humanities course--a generally fun subject but way too easy--the Prof introduced the class to Machiavelli yesterday. I had read The Prince before this so I had some idea of what it was all about but I hadn't read it in about a decade. First thing during class the Prof hands out an in class quiz asking us what the "ruler of the US would need as far as personal characteristics go." We got ten minutes to jot down what we thought.
The first three people to discuss what they had written were complete altruists. They didn't read the question as it was written but inserted a "What would you like a ruler of the US to be like" section into the question. Needless to say they wanted a kind, good, ethical person to run the country.
Anyway, after the first three people I was itching to smash a few hopes and shit on a few dreams so I coughed during a lull in the action and said I had something a bit different. Now, the Prof knows I generally take a more pessimistic/realistic view of things that is decidedly anti-christian and generally of a Fundie (Fundie=any religious type individual or group of any sort whether they identify with an actual religion or just as having a spiritual side) bashing nature but she calls on me anyway.
I state, roughly, the following (cleaned up for presentation): "A ruler of the US must first and foremost fake a Christian religious conviction that is in keeping with the mainstream religious tendencies of the country. He must be ruthless, cruel, malicious, and able and willing to lie at a moments notice. He must keep a few worthless people about him to throw to the wolves whenever the public demands a scapegoat. He must treat other countries with utter disdain and disrespect in order to be viewed as 'strong for the fatherland.' He must attack others at the first sign of weakness and not hesitate in the least."
This is nearly exactly in line with what Machiavelli put forward and the Prof latched onto this immediately to point out what the assignment actually said and asked for. Needless to say many feelings where hurt and world-views smashed.
It is important to understand that the College I attend isn't what you would call "standard" or "typical" of colleges. We have a large, strong Fundie population here who complain when the Prof says that all christian religions are Protestant in nature. True, but they don't like it one bit and they will whine and bitch about it to no end. So, when I tell them that any successful ruler of the US should fake a religious conviction in order to assuage the stupid masses, they take personal offense to it! Shocking.
I had a really great time with it. Crackgerbal, not so much. She is of a more or less Fundie persuasion even though she doesn't go to church or anything. She doesn't like that I'm an atheist but she puts up with it (or I put up with her Fundie tendencies, either way). When others who know her told her about my most recent spout in class they started with "Your boyfriend..." as if to accuse her of letting me have horrid ways and mean opinions. Very funny. Stupid sheep.
This post has been much too long.
That is all