As to those monsters who, under the title of sovereigns, render themselves the scourges and horror of the human race, they are savage beasts, whom every brave man may justly exterminate from the face of the earth.

—Emerich de Vattel. The Law of Nations, 1758.

Proponents of Realpolitik argue that free countries need to recognize the legitimacy of tyrannies for reasons of expediency. Yet this ignores the fact that legitimacy is the oxygen tyranny needs to survive. Thus, just as politicians should never deal with mob bosses, free nations should never deal with tyrannies. Rather, tyrannies ought to be ostracized and when a their outrages become too much for the Free World to tolerate, they should be invaded and their tyrants brought to a grisly end.

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna declared Napoleon an outlaw and, pursuant to that declaration, the allies invaded France and ended his reign forever. It was a good precedent, one that should have been followed a hundred years later when Hitler marched into Austria. Instead the Nazis were appeased, and 70 million people died in the maelstrom that followed. This included 10 percent of Germany’s population, 13 percent of the Soviet Union’s population, 16 percent of Poland’s population, and over 60 percent of Europe’s Jewish population.

Phalaris, the tyrant of Acragas, was known for his cruelty. He roasted his victims alive inside a bronze bull—the screams coming from inside were said to sound like the roaring of a bull. Fittingly, when he was overthrown, he was himself roasted alive in the bronze bull. It is a precedent worth imitating when dealing with tyrants. Fear and dread is something they well understand. Brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein should never be allowed to sleep secure in the knowledge that the worst fate they face is the gallows. As John Trenchard explained:

New kinds of vengeance, new tortures, and new engines of misery ought to be invented to make their punishments as much exceed common punishments, as their crimes exceed those of the worst sort of common malefactors … . There is no analogy between the crimes of private men and those of public magistrates: The first terminate in the death or sufferings of single persons; the others ruin millions, subvert the policy and economy of nations, and create general want. (Cato’s Letters No. 20, Of public justice, how necessary to the security and well-being of a state, and how destructive the neglect of it to the British nation, Saturday, March 11, 1721.)

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove