I'm slowly coming to think of myself as a pacifist. The idea has always appealed to me, or at least it has since I became a vegan, but I've always thought that violence was necessary when it is a matter of defense (as most people do). The idea of standing by and watching someone be raped, beaten or killed when employing violence could aid them is still troubling to me but I'm no longer sure that it is ever justifable to use physical force to harm or restrain another human (or sentient, non-human). To be morally consistent, there is no justification in empathizing more with the victim than with the victimizer. I used to argue (at least when I became really interested in ethics, universal ethics, as a philosophy) that this is true but in this case the victim has more of an interest in not being victimized than the victimizer does in being allowed to victimize the victim. This may also be true but the moral actor would still be empathizing *more* with the victim regardless of why (s)he is doing so and this goes against the idea of equal empathy for all, which is morally inconsistent regardless of whose interests outweigh the others. I've always said that empathy and empathy alone is the basis of morality. If this is "true", I think the logical conclusion to this idea is moral subjectivism (because empathy is a subjective experience and acts are only immoral based on the preferences of who they affect and not according to some objective, moral authority), moral absolutism (as opposed to moral relativism, some acts are clearly anti-empathetic regardless of whether or not the individual or the culture he/she comes from regard them as being 'immoral' ) and deontology (if empathy alone is the basis of morality then an act isn't justified because it has desirable long or short term consequences, it's justified because the actor empathizes equally with all parties in any given scenario). My logic is flawed so feel free to criticize this. Although many anarchists advocate self-defense, pacificism and anarchism go hand in hand since anarchists criticize the state for using violence and the threat of violence to enforce it's authority. If I come out of the closet and embrace the anarcho-pacifist/deontological stance, I have to either a) let my cat go outside and eat fertilized grass that will give her a seizure or face dangerous human/non-human animals who will harm her, FIV, moving vehicles etc. or b) admit that I'm a complete hypocrite for using physical force to restrain her from exercising her self-autonomy. Doing so makes me feel guilty enough but I don't think there's any possible (empathy based) justification for this. Sure, it may decrease suffering in the long run and expand her lifespan but it's paternalistic and it's not my place to make decisions on behalf of other sentient beings, even if those decisions would benefit them. Then again, she doesn't realize the dangers that await her outside, her decision miight be different if she was aware of them but I think this is just me trying to justify my hypocrisy .