“Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.”
“It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
From the Declaration Of Independence.
Maybe Machiavelli was just really an artist and writer working well within the bounds of traditional moral thinking (Catholic and Aristotelian through the church), but just wanted an audience? to be little shocking?