We should persistently seek to advance freedom, democracy and human rights across the world. The reasons why are, above all, practical. Democracies do not by and large make wars upon each other. Regimes which respect human rights at home are more likely to forswear aggression abroad.

—Margaret Thatcher. The Path to Power, 1995.

The best PRECAUTION against future invasion, conquest or nuclear holocaust is to spread civilization to every part of the globe. No one today fears France, Germany or Japan, despite their economic strength and history of aggression. The reason is quite simple; today they have well-entrenched free institutions.

National self-interest is not the only motive for wanting civilization to spread. We do not lend our neighbors a hose only to prevent our house from burning. We also do not want his house to burn. Thus, a free country seeks to spread civilization for its own sake and so that all humanity can enjoy freedom and peace. Thus we want freedom in North Korea not only because its tyrant is threatening the world with nuclear missiles but also because there are millions of North Koreans dying of starvation and subjected to the worst imaginable degradation. As Margaret Thatcher explained: “We have to help these millions of people to enjoy that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which the American Declaration of Independence promises to mankind.” (First Clare Boothe Luce Lecture, Washington D.C., September 23, 1991.)

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