As with Plato, Aristotle believed it is better to suffer injustice than to cause it. His education and own formation of ideas on the ethics of justice and its practice, gives reason to why he supported this honorable ideal. The intentions of grace and benevolence in religions around the world, alike with the Tibetans, adhere to and have been inspired by an interpretation for peace from this statement. We can garner that Aristotle believed that it is worse to commit than suffer injustice based on his morals and politics regarding justice that I will deliver in this essay.
However, given Aristotle's support of aristocracy and bias in favor of those privileged in virtue, I will also briefly touch on why his reasons may conflict with interpretations today. In order to establish what is injustice, we must look at Aristotle's definition of justice. Justice is not only what is good for oneself, but "is the only virtue that seems to be another person's good, because it is related to another; for it does what benefits another, either the ruler or the fellow-member of the community.
"1 Clearly, by this, Aristotle believed committing injustice is not good for another, and it can be denoted that to suffer injustice is better. True justice comes only from a virtuous disposition, and true justice is concerned with another's good. Unlike Aristotle's measures of virtue and vice, injustice is a whole of vice, encompassing both extremes. Hence, one committing an act of injustice is not in accordance with Aristotle's definition of being virtuous; the act is not aligned with what is good for the entire community.
I believe Aristotle referred to Universal Justice (the whole of its virtue) in application to his belief. Virtue develops from desire, deliberation, and intention, where justice becomes a moral standard. Morally, and those with virtue would not commit an injustice. But we must also apply Particular justice when regarding the meaning of Aristotle's principle, as Universal Justice determines the action of justice (Particular Justice), and in committing an act of injustice can entail breaking the law.
Aristotle said one can be just and still commit an unjust act. Aristotle said to suffer is involuntary, where as to cause injustice can be involuntary or voluntary, voluntary meaning an intentioned act, having origin within the agent ("Aristotle thought voluntary actions as stronger, to be blamed or praised, and involuntary actions receive pardon or pity"2). The degree of responsibility for an action of injustice is in accordance to the degree of "voluntariness".
"For whether an act is or is not to be called an act of injustice (or of justice) depends upon whether it is voluntary or involuntary; for if it be voluntary the agent is blamed, and at the same time the act becomes an act of injustice: so something unjust may be done, and yet it may not be an act of injustice, i. e. if this condition of voluntariness be absent. "3 For the large part of this argument, let injustice, then, be defined as voluntarily causing injury contrary the virtue of justice, and in application, contrary to law.
Aristotle argued excess is worse than too little when it comes to injustice. Committing injustice is in excess and suffering is a deficiency. Justice is the mean. Injustice involves someone gaining at another's expense, and the decent person takes less than his or her share. "Injustice … is similarly related to the unjust, which is excess and defect, contrary to proportion, of the useful or hurtful.
For which reason injustice is excess and defect, because it is productive of excess and defect-in one's own case excess of what is in its own nature useful and defect of what is hurtful, while in the case of others it is as a whole like what it is in one's own case, but proportion may be violated in either direction. In the unjust act to have too little is to be unjustly treated; to have too much is to act unjustly. "4 This supports his claim that it is worse to commit injustice as something is taken away.
In Aristotle's definitions of distributive and rectificatory justice, the good person will get more than the bad, but if the bad person takes more, the distribution of wealth will be rectified, ensuring that the gains and losses of both parties are equaled out, thus restoring a mean. "That which is just in the way of redress, then, is the mean between loss and gain"5 Aristotle's construct of how to distribute and rectify measures of justice substantiated that he believed it is worse to commit than suffer injustice, given that laws are in place to amend the situation.