Being somewhat "new" to the Aiki arts, I probably have a (slightly) different perspective....
First, I found an Aikijutsu dojo after over twenty years of various other martial arts (Goju Ryu Karate, Lima Lama Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Q'uin Tao Kung Fu, Military Sabre, teaching unarmed/knife/bayonet/rifle Close Quarters Combat in special operations units) as well as martial "ways" (Judo, etc.)
Second, the reason I have been exceedingly happy with Icho Ryu Aikijutsu is that it keeps firmly in touch with its martial roots while extending my skills so that I don't HAVE to hurt others unnecessarily.
My point? The techniques of Aiki contain devastating (and potentially lethal) elements. The "way" (philosophy) of Aiki disciplines us to avoid unnecessary conflict and to use an appropriate level of violence only to protect others and ourselves.
I am glad that the Aiki arts has room for all of us.