Thomas Aquinas on despotic governments

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It is easy to see why Thomas Aquinas was an important influence on Samuel Rutherford’s Lex, Rex:

A tyrannical government is not just, because it is directed, not to the common good, but to the private good of the ruler … Consequently there is no sedition in disturbing a government of this kind, unless indeed the tyrant’s rule be disturbed so inordinately, that his subjects suffer greater harm from the consequent disturbance than from the tyrant’s government. Indeed it is the tyrant rather that is guilty of sedition, since he encourages discord and sedition among his subjects, that he may lord over them more securely; for this is tyranny, being conducive to the private good of the ruler, and to the injury of the multitude.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, Q. 42, Art. 2, ad. 3.
 
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