A careful study reveals that even thinkers credited with advocating non-violence, including Gandhi, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King, and at least one Buddhist sect, advocate self-defensive force as moral, necessary and courageous. I conclude that the most ethical and balanced position is one of conscious non-initiation of violence, which at the same time does not preclude forceful self-defense if you are attacked.
First, let’s define some terms. There is a lot of confusion revolving around the meaning of words like violence, self-defense, pacifism and non-aggression. It is impossible to talk about these subjects if we are not expressly clear about what they mean.