From Mises Wiki, the global repository of classical-liberal thought
Jump to: navigation, search

Love is a human emotion involving intense respect, admiration, liking, care, concern, attachment, desire, and so on for another person, animal, activity, or other thing. The term "love," like the term "friend," has many different meanings to different people and in different contexts, and pain can sometimes result from disappointment related to misunderstandings or misrepresentations concerning one person's expressed love for another. Love has an interesting potential to turn to hate, as one finds that the object of one's affection has become, instead of a source of pleasure and fulfilment, a source of anguish from disappointment, frustrated yearning and other unpleasant feelings.

In the Spanish language, "te quiero” has a wider meaning than “te amo”, amar typically meaning to love in a romantic way (although many people say "te amo" to their children), and querer more often being used for the love one has for one's friends or family as well as lovers. Thus, querer tends to refer to a less intense feeling. It can mean not only "love" but also "want," including a desire to possess. To imply other kinds of want, "te deseo" and the like would be used. "Gusta" implies desire, lust, and sexual or sensual appeal.[citation needed]

C.S. Lewis wrote of four loves, viz. affection (storge, στοργή), friendship (philia, φιλία), romance (eros, ἔρως) and charity (agapē, ἀγάπη). Love can bring about creation and destruction, as when a person who loves chocolate creates a cake and then destroys it.

Views on love

According to Lew Rockwell, all that people love, they owe to capitalism.[1] As Ludwig von Mises notes, "He who disdains the fall in infant mortality and the gradual disappearance of famines and plagues may cast the first stone upon the materialism of the economists."[2] Many loved ones might not be alive were it not for the abundant supply of food, medical care, and so on that capitalism has made available. And to the extent that people desire their loved ones' happiness to be increased through the fulfilment of those loved ones' desires, capitalism has much to be credited with in that realm as well.

According to some people, most notably hippies and adherents to certain religions,[3] it would be desirable for people to love one another more. Since merely having a feeling and taking no action on it would accomplish little (and might even be counterproductive to happiness, since, for instance, feeling bad for the plight of the destitute while doing nothing is arguably worse than feeling apathetic toward them), the point of this love presumably would be to motivate sharing resources more freely and altruistically. The Holy Bible encourages not only loving strangers but those who have proven themselves to be one's enemies.[4][5] As justification for this, the Bible argues that it will cause the enemy's conscience to prompt him to amend his behavior.[6] A possible problem with this is that some people take kindness for weakness and actually lose respect for a person who responds to ill-treatment in such a way. This prompts them to treat him worse than if he had firmly stood up for himself and demanded to be treated with the respect he deserved.

It is unclear whether people and civilization have evolved to their current state in spite of or because of their current level of care, altruism, and so on toward humanity in general, or their lack thereof. At any rate, it is clear that people tend to reserve their deepest love for only a few people, and that their affinity tends to be reserved for people who share traits in common with them, a tendency that was observed and analyzed in David DeSteno's and Piercarlo Valdesolo's book, Out of Character.[7]


  1. Rockwell, Llewellyn H. (20 July 2012). "Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism". 
  2. Mises, Ludwig von. "Meliorism and the Idea of Progress". Human Action. 
  3. {{#bible: Leviticus 19:18}}
  4. {{#bible: Matthew 5:38-48}}
  5. {{#bible: Luke 6:35}}
  6. {{#bible: Proverbs 25:21-22}}
  7. DeSteno, David and Valdesolo, Piercarlo. "Tolerance vs. Bigotry". Out of Character.