Here’s another political thought experiment:
Suppose that you faced a forced choice between two forms of tyranny, and that you had to choose at least one (and at most one) form of tyrannical government from the two alternatives: 1) a tyrannical government derived from local peoples and local institutions, or what we may call a local tyranny, or 2) a tyrannical government not derived from local peoples or local institutions, or a foreign tyranny. Which would you prefer? Why?
An example of a local tyranny would be the Thirty Tyrants who ruled Athens after Athens lost the Peloponnesian War to Sparta. The Thirty Tyrants were, I believe, drawn from the Athenian citizenry, but were widely regarded as traitors for their role in ruling Athens in the wake of their defeat by Sparta. Today we could call them collaborators. A famous twentieth century example would be Vidkun Quisling, who presided over Nazi-occupied Norway.
An example of a foreign tyranny would be Roman rule over its conquered provinces. Although Rome assumed this role very reluctantly, and preferred the constituent states of its empire to rule themselves as far as possible, it was frequently forced into exercising directly political control over conquered territories. The most famous example would probably be Pontius Pilate, who was Prefect (or governor) of the Roman Province of Judea, and who offended local sensibilities on many occasions due to his lack of knowledge of local religious customs. Nineteenth and Twentieth century European colonial regimes in Africa and Asia would be more contemporary examples of foreign tyranny.
Implicit within this thought experiment are some surprisingly interesting and subtle philosophical questions. What or who exactly could be considered “local”? Does a native-born class of creole Spanish aristocrats ruling over a mostly indigenous population in Andean South America constitute local rule or foreign rule? If a foreign power is pulling the strings of a local puppet regime, is this local rule or foreign rule? Even today, in the twenty-first century, there is still a considerable sting in being called a “puppet.”
If the president of a given nation-state belongs to a class of wealthy, world-traveling, foreign language-speaking elites with more in common with other elites than with the people of the nation-state in question, is this local rule or foreign rule? A hundred years ago, this latter question might have been formulated in terms of royal families who rule over kingdoms ethnically and culturally distinct from the particular background of the royal family. The essential principle here remains invariant across political regimes, whether royal or democratic or otherwise.
One way to put the question that might have a more immediate intuitive appeal would be to ask: would you rather be ruled by Herod the Great or Pontius Pilate? Both were tyrants; both were thoroughly unpleasant characters; but if you had to choose, which would you take?
Would you prefer, as the lesser of two evils, a local tyranny or a foreign tyranny?