Apparently inmates in certain Cali prisons can be thrown into
solitary confinement for reading-yes, READING- Machiavelli's
The Prince. A quick review of 1984's plot reminds me about
the complete thought control system employed by a fictional
society in 1984, according to author George Orwell.
Are we heading into such an abyss? Why would anyone punish
a prisoner for reading The Prince? I have a copy, and it is nothing
more than a testament to the brilliant, independent, practical
and logical systems of a particular political gun for hire (AKA,
adviser to kings). Marvelous if amoral Machiavelli posited
several completely different rationales to assist his various
bosses, each of which seems to achieve internal consistency....
--AHEM, to the intellectually weak wardens of such stilted
institutions, it's memo time:
(1) Chances are excellent that no inmate will be able to glean
any useful tips from The Prince to orchestrate a jailbreak or
create a working gang of his peers.
(2) Readers often make better thinkers--don't you want
that in a troubled population?
(3) It's a world-renowned classic--get over yourselves and
stop showing said world your ignorance.
Machiavelli obviously took a generally dim view of human
nature, which heavily colored his philosophy. But he was a
political strategist, not a priest, so in that sense, he might
be considered "a bad influence" by certain wardens and
Regarding reading during incarceration, let's look at
what happened to Malcolm X during his eight years in a
Norfolk, MA prison. It boasted one of the largest prison
libraries in the U.S., and Malcolm took advantage of this
resource, leaving the correctional system a changed and
Have authorities in Cali read 1984, contributing to the state's
moral decline? Please, California, stop attempting mind control.
It ultimately doesn't work anyway, makes life less worth living
for everyone--even the would be "controllers'.