The following video got me thinking:
Machiavelli believes that being kind and compassionate is good, but one often needs to learn to be harsh and ruthless in order to survive so that good may triumph. The best example would be the Axis Powers during World War 2 - if the Allies had been nice, they'd have been no match for the Axis Powers for their sheer ruthlessness.
On a smaller scale in everyday life, it's the nicer, more helpful people who are constantly taken advantage of.
So this raises a dilemma. Continue being gentle and compassionate with loving kindness, and get eaten. Or react harshly when necessary and risk darkening ourselves. Or, is there a proper middle path?
Yet, Buddhism has survived 2500 years and even flourished at a time where war and cruelty were rampant. So there must be something there, and it bugs the heck out of me.