by Alessandra Arpaia
Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Italian party Fratelli d’Italia, has recently published a book about her life. One Italian journalist has described the book as the “biography of a leader who has been trying for some time to humanise her public image”. Another called it the “perfect influencer biography”, and a book filled with “pre-made sentences that would look great on Instagram”. Many others have criticised the book for its outright lies. Needless to say, it’s sparked widespread controversy.
The last days of Trump have come at last, heralding an inevitably vast amount of journalistic analysis. Trump has been criticised continually through his presidency from many angles by commentators across the media spectrum. Now, as we seek to understand the terrifying exceptionalism of the past four years, classical political thought has once again reared its head. In order to criticise Trump, many invoke writers who have become associated with a collective anxiety – Orwell, Kafka, and, most frustratingly, Machiavelli. Niccolò Machiavelli and his writings have been associated with despotism and evil ever since his works were placed in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Catholic church. But to describe Trump as Machiavellian is a misunderstanding of the controversial but frustratingly correct political theorist who warned against tyrants like him.