Political Conceptions of Justice:
building institutions and principles of modern community in the Kurdistan Region
A uniquely successful democracy in the Middle East with a successful open foreign policy and Economic Power, the Kurdistan Region has become a paradigm for democracy in the region as well as an international trade center in new virgin territories.
Society often produces unjust outcomes, and democratic justice also requires the securing the basics for all individuals, including an adequate education, decent health care, housing, income support or work that pays, and some democratic say in the workplace. If democracy is to be omnipresent but not omnipotent, then democratic justice would guide us towards the reform of our political processes in ways that would help make Kurdish politics both more democratic and more likely to yield justifiable outcomes. The public financing of electoral campaigns, for example, may be one of many potential ways of improving both the process of public accountability and the substance of political decisions.
Since an Athenian jury sentenced Socrates to death for the crimes of heresy and corrupting young minds, democracy and justice has been a subject of great controversy. The political concept is presented as a freestanding view, not as a comprehensive doctrine or as something derived from a comprehensive doctrine and applied to the basic structure of society. This does not mean that it cannot be justified from within a comprehensive doctrine; indeed, it has no chance of success unless a number of comprehensive doctrines support it. What it means is that there exists a network of concepts in public political culture from which the political conception can be explained and justified. It is expounded apart from any wider background made up of comprehensive doctrines.
Democratic justice in the Kurdistan region requires mechanisms of collective self-governance to be as inclusive as possible, and limited only when necessary. This is a serious limit to democratic justice in our world, which more representative international organizations cannot fully overcome. There may be no better alternative to recommend than that democratic citizens think morally about their commitment to all individuals, not only to their fellow citizens. The life cycle of citizens therefore overlooks the problem of reconciling democratic justice in democratic countries with a foreign policy that affects non-citizens at least as much as it affects citizens.
In the Third World and the Middle East, as well as in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, because power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, public accountability may be the most important feature of democracy. When accountability is absent, so is democracy. But accountability, even when it works reasonably well, does not guarantee justice for two reasons that tell us a lot about why the union of democracy and justice will always have its limitations: Firstly, because even the best democratic procedures will sometimes yield unjust outcomes; secondly, because even good-willed and well-informed people reasonably disagree about whether some outcomes are just. To recommend imposing outcomes from above is not a solution but part of the problem of political tyranny to which democracy is a response. Democracy and justice may be joined only through public accountability, and then only imperfectly.