“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
– David Brinkley
In terms of technology (as opposed the hash people online are making with it), as James Lileks once wrote, “This really is the future I wanted. Although I expected longer battery life.”
Niccolò Machiavelli taught that politics is an alien universe, unstable and inconsistent – dominated by chance – in which appearance, not reality, defines success. It does not matter who politicians really are. What matters is how people perceive them. Because public opinion is fickle, politics a gamble and the political universe unstable, successful leaders need minds that change with “fortune and changing circumstances”. And because “people are ungrateful, fickle, feigners and dissemblers”, the politician must necessarily also be a “great feigner and dissembler”. Dishonesty – and indeed any other immoral conduct – is justified, for Machiavelli, provided that it leads to dominion over a powerful state. The end justifies the means (“accusandolo il fatto, lo effetto lo scusi”).
When the flawed succeed: Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and the corrosion of morals Times Literary Supplement