“You must realize this: that a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things which give men a reputation for virtue, because in order to maintain his state he is often forced to act in defiance of good faith, of charity, of kindness, of religion. And so he should have a flexible disposition, varying as fortune and circumstances dictate. As I said above, he should not deviate from what is good, if that is possible, but he should know how to do evil, if that is necessary. A prince, then, must be very careful not to say a word which does not seem inspired by the five qualities I mentioned earlier. To those seeing and hearing him, he should appear a man of compassion, a man of good faith, a man of integrity, a kind and religious man. And there is nothing so important as to seem to have this last quality.”
– Text from Chapter 18 of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). Photo by Charles Dharapak, Associated Press, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas, Texas, 10/29/03.