Law professors and lawyers instinctively shy away from considering the problem of law’s violence. Every law is violent. We try not to think about this, but we should. On the first day of law school, I tell my Contracts students never to argue for invoking the power of law except in a cause for which they are willing to kill. They are suitably astonished, and often annoyed. But I point out that even a breach of contract requires a judicial remedy; and if the breacher will not pay damages, the sheriff will sequester his house and goods; and if he resists the forced sale of his property, the sheriff might have to shoot him.
Violence is inherently evil. It produces effects that overpower and disrupt what would naturally occur. If we want to go down the path that law is fundamentally violent, we've adopted a fairly dark view of humanity. Even if violence is sometimes required to avoid worse evils, it's not—it can't be—a solution to evil, itself. And law must afford some type of a solution if we're to take it seriously.
More troubling is that "law is violence" completely inverts the relationship between reason and will that is at the heart of all law. Violence is an act of the will, but law is, according to Aquinas:
An ordinance of reason promulgated by competent authority for the sake of common good.
A "law is violence" approach is anti-intellectual, anti-Western, and certainly anti-Christian since it reduces man's highest good and moral flourishing to the sum of his basest desires for self-preservation. And we can tell just by thinking about it that's just not enough.