Sara Amighetti and Alasia Nuti
A Shared Past Calls for a Shared Redress
Liberal nationalists as David Miller develop an account of historical justice, which commits them to the idea that nations inherit responsibility to redress past wrongs. At the same time, they are committed to support rather restrictive, though still liberal, immigration policies. In this paper we explore the tenability of such a double commitment by illustrating how claims of redress for national past injustices may sometimes be advanced as claims for more lax immigration policies. We develop this idea from considerations about a real-world example: British colonial rule in India. Are Indian nationals in a position to ask for less restrictive immigration policies as a matter of redress for the wrongs of British colonialism? While accepting Miller’s most fundamental assumptions about nations, from which his two commitments about nations’ right to exclude and nations inherited responsibility for past wrongs follow, we discuss their tenability within the account. The paper unfolds as follow: Section 1 outlines the main features of Miller’s thought, while Section 2 illustrates his classification of types of redress for specific forms of past wrongs (2.1) and shows that his criteria cannot address the injustice of colonialism (2.2). Section 3 offers an alternative, which remains in line with Miller’s approach to historical injustice, but invites rethinking other pillars of his liberal nationalism. The analysis then develops around the consequences that accepting such an alternative form of redress would entail for the kinds of immigration policies Miller can support.