Machiavelli Never Got Tenure

An unconventional lecture given by an associate professor of strategy at the United States Naval War College, Karl Walling, got him placed on academic leave. A video of the lecture circulated on YouTube. The school explained that Walling’s May lecture on Niccolo Machiavelli’s views on the goddess Fortuna were degrading to women.

The lecture also appears, vaguely, to justify rape. Fortuna, or fortune, was a female figure. Walling was explaining how Machiavelli believed that good rulers took control of their fortunes. As Ariel Doctoroff explains in an article on the Huffington Post:

In the video, Walling then proceeds to use explicit language when explaining Machiavelli’s thought process. He states, “What does a leader do when the bitch won’t put out? I do not mean to be vulgar, but rather to get to the heart of the matter from Machiavelli. If Fortuna will not cooperate, then make her do so. Real men, real leaders do not take no for an answer. Fortuna, said Machiavelli, is a woman, and when it is necessary if one wants to hold her down, to beat her down, moreover, she will like it.”

View the (edited) video of the lecture here:

The school forced Walling to apologize. Except there appears to be a little problem. In fact, the way in which Walling explained Machiavelli’s sentiments was actually a pretty accurate depiction of what Machiavelli wrote, at least according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Walling might press charges.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer