Saturday 11 March 2023

Attempt on General de Gaulle’s life: Lt. Colonel Bastien-Thiry and St. Thomas Aquinas concept of “Tyrannicide”

Associated Press Report article on the execution of Lt. Colonel Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry on March 11th, 1963. Source: The Daily Mail, Monday, March 11th, 1963.

Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us: "It is the tyrant who is seditious and who fosters discord and sedition among the people; for the tyrannical regime is not just and is not ordered to the common good; they are worthy of praise those who deliver the people from a tyrannical power". According to Saint Thomas, the Head of State has the first and principal duty to govern his subjects according to the rules of Law and Justice, with a view to the common good of the community; if, losing sight of the end for which he exercises this power, he uses it for himself and to satisfy his passions and his conceptions, he reigns only over a herd of slaves.

We therefore believe that the eminent clerics who have been consulted, and who have not advised against our action, have only recalled the commandments of God, the principle and the right of self-defence, and the traditional morality taught by the Church in the person of one of its greatest philosophers. There is hardly any room here for theological quibbles. The tyranny of General de Gaulle does not belong to this kind of "gentle" tyranny to which certain Fathers of the Church advise one to resign oneself in a spirit of Christian patience and mortification. It is a violent, bloody, divisive, destructive tyranny that is responsible for the deaths of countless victims.

In our opinion, the moral rules and the constitutional rules come together with regard to our action. Saint Thomas Aquinas did moreover, on this point, only transpose and sublimate on the plane of Christian morality the principles of the City laid down by the Greek philosophers in general and by Aristotle in particular.

- Lt. Colonel Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry justifying his role in organising the attempt on the life of General de Gaulle on St. Thomas Aquinas’ medieval exposition of the concept of “tyrannicide”.

Bastien-Thiry led the attempt by the O.A.S. to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle on a road in the Paris suburb of Petit Clamart. He was executed by firing squad at the Fort D’Ivry barracks on the outskirts of Paris on March 11th 1963.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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