Brad Miller

Love, Will Power, and Praxeology

In True nature of the State on September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

There is however no valid objection to a usage that defines human action as the striving for happiness.” Mises Human Action

 Speaking for myself I believe like the French that “The only Happiness on Earth is to Love and Be Loved

Praxeology is the Science of Human Action. I believe it  can illuminate how when the State Limits Liberty, it Limits Love. Ludwig von Mises Opus “Human Action” is the best resource for anyone who wants to better understand the Science of Human Action.

“Human action is purposeful behavior. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego’s meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person’s conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life. Such paraphrases may clarify the definition given and prevent possible misinterpretations. But the definition itself is adequate and does not need complement of commentary.” Mises “HUMAN ACTION

Mises steered clear of any psychological motivation except that all action is meant to remove “uneasiness” for the individual acting.

The ultimate goal of human action is always the satisfaction of the acting man’s desire. There is no standard of greater or lesser satisfaction other than individual judgments of value, different for various people and for the same people at  various times. What makes a man feel uneasy and less uneasy is established by him from the standard of his own will and judgment, from his personal and subjective valuation. Nobody is in a position to decree what should make a fellow-man happier.”

Individuals choose who to love and how to love them. Love is expressed through action.   Each individuals determines who he loves and how he wants to express that love. When the State steals money through taxation and limits choice through regulation they are effectively destroying an individual’s capacity to love.

Henry Hazlitt the great champion of the Free Market who helped bring Mises’ works to America wrote an often overlooked book  “The Way to Will Power” .Written in 1922 he lays out the way to attain what you desire. The book is centered around his concept that there is no Will or Will Power. His take was that what most people call Will-Power is “persistently held desires”.

When we say a man has will-power, we mean that he has a certain desire which persists and predominates for a comparatively long period. It is not being constantly dethroned by a multitude of other desires. Either the other desires are not strong enough, or it is too strong for them (which as we shall see later, is more than a mere verbal distinction); and if perchance this desire is forced to abdicate for a little while, which may sometimes happen with the strongest-willed persons, it quickly throws out the usurping desire and reigns again.”

This echoes Mises’ assertion that “will” is nothing more than choice. .

“We may say that action is the manifestation of a man’s will. For the term will means nothing else than men’s faculty to choose between different states of affairs, to prefer one, to set aside the other, and to behave according to the decision made in aiming at the chosen state and forsaking the other.”

I suspect  a lot of other  individuals besides myself holds the persistent desire to love and be loved above others. Just as there are infinitely varied individuals so are there are  infinite ways in which individuals choose to love and be loved.

When the Collectivists distort the “Free Market of Love” by stealing individuals mental and physical energy, time and money, through State Control, they are hurting everyone’s ability to Love and Be Loved.   They use force to dictate how others should live. The use of force is the opposite of love. And it is this in my opinion that is what  distinguishes a system based upon Collectivism and one founded upon Individualism. The absence of State force leads to a Society in which individuals are free to define how they who they love and how they express that love.

“Acting man is eager to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory one.”  Mises

The less satisfactory state is usually one in which we are “less loved” for a situation where we are “more loved”. This includes the often derided self-love. The more of our time, thoughts, actions and money are ours to dispose of the more we can express love through action towards the people we choose.

If we want to love and be loved more I suggest we take Socrates advice and become familiar with the classics like Mises “Human Action” and Hazlitt’s “The Way to Willpower”.

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.” Socrates

For my Liberty and Love go hand in hand. Without Liberty, Love is constrained.  Without Love, Liberty is purposeless.

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.” Socrates

When the State limits are ability to choose they limit our ability to exchange a less satisfactory state for a more satisfactory state. It prevents us from achieving our “persistent desire” and thus limits our ability to Love and Be Loved, which in turn limits our experience of man’s “only true happiness“.

 And That’s My Take




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