The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Wednesday’s Maxim

June 15, 2005

Always deny what you don’t want to be known, and always affirm what you want to be believed. For, though there be much – even conclusive – evidence to the contrary, a fervent affirmation or denial will often create at least some doubt in the mind of your listener. (Series C, 37)

I guess early modern Europe wasn’t very different from the present after all…

For other maxims from Guicciardini, see here and here.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.