While doing research for this post, I came across the unusual phrase "A lasting peace, through the judicious use of the spear." This phrase perfectly sums up the salient moral message in Solomon Kane, an independent Sword and Sorcery film about a Puritan vigilante sworn to fight evil in 16th Century England.
Far from being another film full of gratuitous violence, Solomon Kane explores a rather profound ethical question: when does adherence to nonviolence trump the moral and personal obligation to protect your life, or the lives of your family, from immanent harm?
Solomon Kane offers an unexpected axiom on the paradox of nonviolent philosophy. Pacifism is undoubtedly a philosophy arising from a selfless desire to not harm others. Pacifists view all violence as a moral failing. But paradoxically, the failure to protect others from immanent rape, murder, etc, when in a position to do so, leads to them being harmed. Under certain circumstances, nonviolence is actually a selfish philosophy, rather than a selfless philosophy.
In a world where evil people rape and murder, forceful opposition to violence is not only pragmatic, it necessary and moral. The most pragmatic and ethical position is nonaggression, rather than nonviolence.