Coffee with the Dr. – 1/6/18

posted in: General, Life, Politics | 1
“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” – Niccolo Machiavelli.

This morning’s coffee session was cut short by my father, apparently he didn’t sleep well, so back to bed for him.  It was a pleasurable 20 minutes; but he needs his rest.

So today’s quote by Niccolo Machiavelli is a meaningful quote.  In today’s political environment, it is easy to draw a comparison between three leaders in politics.  The first is Kim Jong-Un, the second is Donald Trump, and the third that we’ll talk about today is Ronald Reagan.

The North Korean “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-Un has embraced this quote in his leadership style.  Say what you will, he is ruthless to his own people and threatens the leaders and countries that surround his borders.  He has been known to assassinate potential rivals and suppress his people. He has no illusions of being loved, he is the leader of a family ruled dictatorship, he wants to be feared.

Our current president, President Donald Trump wants badly to be loved.  You can tell by his speeches. Because of his need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among social groups, part of Maslov‘s  Esteem Needs (the desire for reputation or respect from others), he makes outlandish promises to his base, and makes claims that are easily disputed.  He lashes out at those who counter his views in the “fake-news” media.  Everything he does; he is “the best” and there is no room for others on his stage.  He uses Twitter to make threats, un-vetted by his staff, directly to leaders of other countries and individual citizens of this great land.  He seems not to embrace the office he holds.  While it is true that we needed an outsider; there is the reality that being the president; he really needs to

Our past president, Ronald Reagan, who believed America was the “Shining city on the hill” for the rest of the world, believed strongly in walking softly but carrying a big stick.  He preferred democracy, and believed in the good will of people.  He embraced the notion of being both, loved and feared.  I was lucky enough to be in our military during his second term as president; the people I served with thought highly of him, and while he, initially, wasn’t the popular president he turned out to be, he lived by his moral compass; which served our country well. He embraced the office of the president, and all that the office represented.

Comments?  Am I completely off the reservation?  Let’s talk.  I look forward to your comments.


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  1. Charles R

    I liked your use of Niccolo Machiavelli’s quote and agree with commentary.
    A bit of insight from my Library:
    Niccolo had written “from his experiences in foreign policy and would later form the basis of many of the principles he express in “The Prince”. Around 1513, he retired to the relative safety of his home in the country outside Florence to rest and consider his future. During this time of self-imposed exile, he wrote “The Prince (II Principle)” which distilled his observations about human behavior, leadership, and foreign policy; thus a treatise on leadership and political power.” ~ CliffsNotes on Machiavelli’s The Prince. Yes, Dr. D., I have have the CliffsNotes and have read sections from “The Prince”, published by Bedford/St.Martin’s. ISBN 0-312-14978-6

    So in reference to his last name, what does it really mean to be Machiavellian? “Revealing the historical context of Machiavelli’s philosophical views, his tumultuous relationship with Florentine politics, his reception by his contemporaries and by 20th- century scholars; a infamous little book” worthy in my mind, and to read again, slowly. Maybe more discussion?

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