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Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what 'is' for what 'should be' pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good." For this plainspoken pragmatism, Cardinal Pole denounced Niccolò Machiavelli as the devil's apostle.

( David Mitchell )
[ The Bone Clocks ]