Justice and Peace
Justice and Peace
Good Things Do Not Always Go Together
That good things go together is one of our inheritances of enlightenment optimism: Democracy and peace, justice and peace, and so on. Sometimes this expectation is right. Sometimes it is wrong. Believing that the coincidence is a natural thing may lead to costly and bloody endeavors and to a neglect of avoiding collective bads.
Harald Müller shows in his working paper Justice and Peace: Good Things do not always go together that just peace, perceived as such by all parties involved, is probably the most stable steady-state of socio-political relations which can be constructed. On the other hand, conflicting justice claims or opposing justice principles employed in justification narratives can feed conflict, undermine systems of governance and even lead to violent clashes.
"Justice" is thus a highly ambivalent factor with regard to its consequences for the potential of collectivities to create normative orders on a non-violent basis, an ambivalent effect resulting from the lack of a universalist understanding of what justice means both in general and applied to particular situations. Therefore, among collectivities, justice-based orders enjoying sufficient legitimacy to prevent violent resistance can only be based on the consent of the representatives of these collectivities. Such consent is either achievable by starting from common ground of overlapping understandings of justice, or from agreeable practical solutions to common problems from which the overlapping understanding of justice – on which such solutions are founded – can be deductively extracted.
Harald Müller, Justice and Peace: Good Things Do Not Always Go Together, PRIF Working Papers, No.06, Frankfurt/M., 2010.
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