There is a daemonic tension (uncollapsable, non-dialectical) between the perspective you identify here and the perspective loosely called ethics: "caring about the common man's plight" is the infinite approach of the universal possibility of our being-human, an appeal to pure form. You speak directly to the content here, and in so far as the forms are composed of contents; but the form as such of the being-universalizing requires the distinction as what is called empathy, the capacity of subjectivity-consciousness to associate others to itself and to project itself as perspective-power into these others in order to derive their self-valuing within one's own self-valuing. The affective possibility of relating, which works in tandem with the intellectual possibility of relating. Mind and emotion are a daemonic tension also, and if you follow them down to their common thesis-point you arrive at... values, and valuing.
The basis formal structure of self-valuing, therefore, is not made up of values, but of valuing.
Machiavelli was actually trying to exhaust the content-space so that a possible space for pure form could appear, a ground of values beyond values-- a valuing-being. Collapse of the self into its contents is what I wrote about in my book as the definition of ideology, that ideology is precisely what Machiavelli was trying to avoid.