NEWPORT, R.I. —
The Navy says a recent lecture by a professor at the Naval War College included language that was inappropriate.
Karl Walling’s lecture, given in May, was partly on Machiavelli’s views on leadership and insurgency and counterinsurgency.
At one point, Walling paraphrased some of Machiavelli’s theories on dealing with enemies, using Machiavelli’s famous analogy of Fortuna — Machiavelli’s term for the enemy, which he portrays as female that, according to Machiavelli, must be controlled at all costs or defeat will be certain.
And then, paraphrasing again, Walling used what the Navy called an offensive metaphor to explain Machiavelli’s belief that real leaders will take Fortuna when they want to whether or not the goddess likes it.
“What does a leader do when the b—- won’t put out? I do not mean to be vulgar, but rather to get to the heart of the matter from Machiavelli,” Walling said in the lecture. “If Fortuna will not cooperate, then make her do so. Real men, real leaders do not take no for an answer. Fortuna, said Machiavelli, is a woman, and when it is necessary if one wants to hold her down, to beat her down, moreover, she will like it.”
A review of the transcript of Walling’s lecture shows that while he may have been making a valid point about Machiavelli’s views on leadership, the Navy said he used offensive and inappropriate language to do it.
The Walling speech made it to YouTube, where reaction, for the most part, ranged from mildly critical to outrage.
Later in his speech, Walling debunked Machiavelli’s views on leaders taking what they want when they want it.
“The president of the college determined that portions of the lecture, which included degrading language about women, were inappropriate and entirely unacceptable,” Cmdr. Carla McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the Naval War College, said in a statement.
McCarthy said professor Walling apologized to the students. He was placed on administrative leave, given a letter of caution, and removed from the lecture series for the remainder of the academic year.