Power and Violence

I am currently reading Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy and I have come to an interesting chapter in which he describes three modes of expanding, the third of which, pertains to what I want to analyze.

The third mode is to get not partners but direct subjects, as did the Spartans and the Athenians. Of these three modes, the last is entirely useless, as was seen in the two republics written about above, which were not ruined otherwise than by having acquired dominion they could not keep. For taking care of governing cities by violence, especially those accustomed to living freely, is a difficult and laborious thing. If you are not armed and massive with arms, you can neither command nor rule them. To be like that it is necessary to get partners who aid you and make your city massive with people.

This reminds me of something Chomsky has previously mentioned. Chomsky has stated that it is becoming more and more difficult for states to use violence to control their populations because the masses do not tolerate it anymore. According to Machiavelli's opinion, ruling with violence is entirely useless and since Chomsky talks about recent history and Machiavelli ancient, maybe we can conclude that violence has never been a successful tool to control the masses, at least not for a long period of time.

Of course we have to take into consideration the different contexts that both intellectuals were discussing about. Machiavelli was writing about controlling inhabitants of conquered territory while Chomsky was talking about native populations (the former probably being more difficult due to the lack of sufficient arms for large territories). Nevertheless, I think an enlightening connection can be drawn that educates us a bit more about power and violence.