After reading many articles focused on humanism, the one article that stood out for me was Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince [excerpts], 1513 from the Medieval Scrapbook. One of the points that were made in the article was that it is better for princes or those of high stature to be feared than loved. Do I agree with his statement? Not necessarily. I do however understand the reasons behind that belief and agree that it can be more effective in some situations.
If a prince were to befriend certain subjects of his, and these subjects challenged the law, it would put the prince in a difficult situation and likely cause a commotion within the kingdom if the prince were to treat them differently than other subjects. If one subject in a kingdom is treated differently than others, it would undoubtedly be bad for the kingdom and could result in riots and completely change how the community functions.
For a kingdom, this act is probably very sufficient. However, if parents used the technique of being feared instead of loved, a family would likely be very dysfunctional and the children could grow up having a twisted look of the world. If parents constantly were punishing their children, showing no affection or positive reinforcement, or doing their best to have their children fear them, these children would be more likely to fear the world and/or rebel. This would just cause more problems within our communities.
In some situations, being feared is better than being loved. However, in others, it would likely have a negative result. Personally, I do not believe that love is negative. It may sound cliché, but I do believe that if one is given the love and support that they need, they will be ok. I am torn by the argument that being feared is always better than being loved because it depends on the situation. If there is a kingdom or community that has enforced laws and a person of high stature bends the rules for the love of his/her subjects, it can definitely result in chaos. If parents, friends, or teachers used this technique, it would have a great effect on the children and I do not believe that fear is the best method when used with children.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Medieval Sourcebook: Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince [excerpts], 1513.”Fordham History . J. M. Dent and Sons, 1908. Web. 15 Feb 2012. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/prince-excerp.asp>.