OPINIONSrnCorruption and Contemptrnby Samuel Francisrn”Out of his surname they have coined an epithet for a knave, and out of hisrnChristian name a synonym for the Devil.”rn—Thomas Babington MacaulayrnMachiavelli on Modern Leadership:rnWhy MachiavelH’s Iron Rules Arernas Timely and Important Todayrnas Five Centuries Agornhy Michael A. LedeenrnNew York: St. Martin’s Press;rn202 pp., $22.95rnThe New Prince: MachiaveUirnUpdated for the Twenty-First Centuryrnhy Dick MorrisrnLos Angeles: Renaissance Books;rn252 pp., $22.95rnFor those readers who know veryrnmuch about Niccolo MachiaveUi,rnthe uiost striking feature of MichaelrnLedeen’s new book, which tries to exphcaterna number of Machiavehi’s preceptsrnwith contemporar)’ examples drawn fromrnworld politics, business, and sports, is thernillustration reproduced on both thernbook’s dust jacket and its frontispiece.rnThe picture is that of a young, beardedrnman dressed in what appears to be Renaissancerncostume; since nowhere in thernbook is there any explanation of who thisrnman is, the reader might suppose it to bernMachiavelli himself But it is not. Therernare four known representations of thern16th-century political thinker, historian,rnand statesman —two portraits and twornSamuel Francis is a nationally syndicatedrncolumnist and editor of the SamuelrnFrancis Letter, a monthly newsletter.rnbusts — executed during his lifetime orrnmade from death masks, and none showsrnhim with a beard. Nor does the gcndemanrnin the picture resemble Machiavellirnwithout the beard. Who he is and whyrnhis picture is included remains a mystcr}’.rnhi fact, the portrait is suggestive of thernsuperficiality that is the major flaw ofrnboth of these books. Wliile Mr. Ledeenrnis an academic historian and political scientist,rnhis field is contemporary Europeanrnand Middle Eastern politics, notrnRenaissance studies or political theory,rnand his interpretations of Machiavelli arernoften as awkward and ill informed as onernwould expect from a specialized mindrnsuddenly confronted with an unfamiliarrnsubject. As for Mr. Morris, the wellknownrnpolitical consultant and footrnfetishist, it is impossible to take him or hisrnbook seriously, although thankfully hernhas almost nothing to say about Machiavellirnother than to exploit his reputationrnfor craftiness and ruthlcssness to serve hisrnown purposes.rnMr. Morris tells us in the first sentencernof his first chapter that “The fiindamentalrnparadigm that dominates our politics isrnthe siiift fronr representational (Madisonian)rnto direct (Jeffersonian) democracy,”rna sentence that misuses the wordrn”paradigm,” misrepresents the ideas ofrnboth Madison and Jefferson, and is untruernon its face. Two pages later, trying tornjustify his claim, he tells us that “Referenda,rninitiatives, and even recalls of electedrnofficials increasingly dominate policymaking.”rnTell that to the supporters ofrnCalifornia’s Proposition 187, which endedrnpublic benefits for illegal immigrantsrnand was immediately blocked by a federalrnjudge. Or to the Colorado voters whornsupported Amendment 2, an equally successfulrnballot measure banning affirmative-rnaction programs for homosexuals atrnthe state level that a federal court also immediatelyrnstruck down. Aside from tiicrnsheer falsity of Mr. Morris’s claims for therntriumph of “direct democracy,” it quicklyrnbecomes clear he lacks even the foggiestrnconcept of what “Jeffersonian democracy”rnmeans. “Soon,” he solemnly intones,rn”interactive TV-computers will allow nationalrntown meetings with direct ballotingrnby tens of millions of people —thernvery core of the Jeffersonian vision ofrnsmall-town democracy at work.” Mr.rnMorris evidentiy thinks that passive massrnplebiscites conducted through electronicrnmedia are identical to what Jefferson hadrnDECEMBER 1999/25rnrnrn