Can a society which needs affirmative action to correct historical injustice still be able to uphold rights of its citizens?

  • What do you mean by "affirmative action"?
    – Jo Wehler
    Dec 4 '15 at 11:10
  • What do you mean by "characterized?" Do you want us to only answer within the narrow scope of the assumptions your wording makes, or do you want us to tease away at the meanings of those words using the kind of inquisitive approach that makes philosophy so fascinating?
    – Cort Ammon
    Dec 4 '15 at 16:27
  • I think you are letting us guess what you are asking, and you are doing that intentional. Please express yourself clearer. I'm sure you have some society in mind, so just say which society you mean, what historical injustice you are talking about, and what rights of its citizens you believe are not upheld.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 4 '15 at 22:32

I assume that the society in question has a constitution and a set of laws. These are necessary requisites to determine the rights of citizens.

The first decision has to determine, which criterion is to be choosen to measure historical injustice. There are several alternatives:

  1. The human rights as specified by the UNO

  2. Constitution and law of the former society

  3. Constitution and law of the present society.

In Germany one has focused on criterion 1 to asses the historical injustice of Third Reich and of the firing order of DDR, the former society. In addition, one has used the present constitution and the present laws concerning the rights of the present citizens.

A second set of questions asks to which degree society wants to asses historical injustice without dividing society.

To come back to your original question - and interpreting the intended context:

Yes, a society can condemn doers of historical injustice while upholding the rights of the doers who are now citizens of the new society.

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